Bintan layout will provide finalists with demanding test

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 September, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 September, 1997, 12:00am

Ericsson Corporate Golf League regulars are used to tough golf courses but an even greater challenge is in store for members of teams who have qualified for the regional final in Indonesia next month.

Having encountered the slick greens of the Hong Kong Golf Club's layouts and the unforgiving rolling terrain of Kau Sai Chau's North and South courses, the top five teams play in a regional final against other winners of the JBA Corporate Golf League.

The event will take place from October 17- 19 at the Bintan Lagoon Golf and Beach Resort which was designed by Jack Nicklaus to accommodate professional tournaments, low handicappers and resort guests.

Situated 45 minutes south of Singapore by high-speed catamaran, Bintan is a vacation island, with activities geared towards the outdoors. It has several 'designer' courses and numerous resort facilities.

In addition to the Nicklaus course, the Bintan Lagoon Golf and Beach Resort includes a 6,900-yard layout designed by Australian Ian Baker-Finch.

This month, the Nicklaus course will host the inaugural US$500,000 Asia-Pacific Masters, an Omega Tour event jointly sanctioned by the Asian PGA and Australasian PGA.

The professionals will play from the back tees (7,050 yards). However, the corporate golfers will hit off from the user-friendly white tees (5,800 yards).

The course features several holes modelled after famous ones Nicklaus has tamed during his long and distinguished career.

The front nine winds through a wooded area sheltered by trees as tall as 30 metres before the back nine opens up to water and spectacular views of the South China Sea.

The 12th, a 137-yard par 3, is the signature hole. It is virtually surrounded by the sea and players must account for the wind to avoid landing on the sandy beach, the rock formations or, worse, the water.

The 16th is modelled after Pebble Beach's famous 8th hole with an accurate tee shot imperative as water borders the entire left side of the 442-yard par five hole. The temptation, however, is to hit as close as possible to the water's edge to make the green in two.

The regional final will played under a 36- hole Stableford best-ball format with the winning team getting a trip to Hawaii to play golf and attend the MasterCard Grand Slam of Golf.

The Grand Slam, to be played on the Poipu Bay Resort course at Kanai, Hawaii, from November 12-13, is a 36-hole event. It will feature the winners of the four Majors.