After playing Bali National and some days off in Ubud, the „golf around the world“ trip continued with my second stop, an awesome course in the mountain area of Bali, close to the famous water temple Pura Ulun Danu Bratan which is settled in a beautiful lake. Handara Golf Resort Bali is located in the central highlands of Bali and nestled down inside the crater of an extinct volcano at an altitude of almost 1,400 meters (almost 4,000 feet) above sea level. The climate in this region is a small relief around (14-24◦ C) and just great for outdoor activities like golfing.
I was so excited when we arrived at the famous gate of Handara Golf Resort.
The gate already describes a lot about this mystical place. The course itself was designed in the 70s by five times British Open Champion Peter Thomson along with design associates Michael Wolveridge and Ronald Fream.
We had the great chance to stay one night in the newly renovated Resort.
The whole stuff at Handara was super friendly and helpful. So we were so curious about the course that we just dropped of our luggage and prepared ourselves for the course. After hitting a bucket we headed of to the first tee where we met our caddies two locals from the area around. They provided us with the perfect knowledge about every part of the course. They have been so friendly, I really have to say thank you again.
So back to the course, the first three holes of the front nine of Handara Golf Resort are just amazing. No.1 already got me, I hit a perfect drive on this par 5 dogleg left. According to the fact that you drive it downwards into a little valley means in my case some extra distance and the option to attack the green with my second. I barely made it with one of my best shots on Bali so far and played a solid birdie on the unexpected fast greens. No.2 a short par 3 is a huge birdie opportunity with a tee box similar to an European Botanical Garden.
I scored par on this hole and my golf feelings have been already in higher motion. No.3 is a long par 4, 389m with an elevated tee shot. From here you should try to roast one. Well, the driver worked on this day. So I had just a 7 iron left into the green. I hit the green an played par. I really enjoyed the low temperature for Bali conditions of 19 degrees on that day.
After we played some holes the next highlight was No.9 a par 5 up the hill. Stay on the left side of the fairway to avoid the bunkers on the right. From here you have a great view to the clubhouse which reminds me on a location out of an old James Bond movie.
So I played some good golf on the front nine and was very curious about the back nine. No.10 to No.15. are all nice to play but once you´re in the rough you lose at least one shot. I still have my caddie in mind. His name was Widi and he always just smiled and said „mountain grass“.
What I really liked on the back nine was the finishing stretch of No.16, No.17 and No.18. No. 16 is a tough long par 4 up the hill. I hit my drive right into the “mountain grass” and lost another shot here.
The second one on the fast and unpredictable greens. No.17 again with an elevated tee box. A nice drive combined with a good approach offered me a birdie putt which I could´t convert.
But the best hole on the back nine is No.18. a long par 5 with a tremendous tee shot. From here you can see the awesome clubhouse again. So give your ball everything and smoke another one. I was a little bit to far right but still in the game. I punched it out back on the fairway and hit my hybrid but I missed the green.
Arriving at the green the ball was missing. We searched for a while until the “mountain grass“ showed once again how tricky it is. Just a double on this beautiful hole. Finally Handara Golf Resort showed his complete mystical beauty with an extra ordinary sunset.
In summary if you ever come to Bali you have to play this amazing course which is really different to all the courses I have seen so far. I am very happy to had the chance to play this hidden gem.