Bali, a tropical surprise
Beautiful golf courses, friendly people, impressive scenery and even a dose of culture. If you’re traveling to the other side of the world, (one stop in) Bali a must. More relaxed than this is not the Indonesian island.
Sixteen hours flying is perhaps a bit too much of a good golf for a week, but on the way to Australia or New Zealand, Bali is without doubt the ideal pit-stop. And the longer you stay, the cheaper the trip really is, as the cost of living in this Indonesian island less than half of what we are accustomed in the Netherlands. The only danger is that you do not want to leave. Every evening, delicious food, a relaxed golf magazine reading beside the pool and a golf caddy always smiling behind the buggy, all involve matters that quickly become accustomed.
Of all 18,000 Indonesian islands of Bali to Western tourists is the highest reputation. Not surprising, an island of only 140 by 80 km beautiful beaches, terraced rice fields, volcanoes and thousands of beautiful temples in the offer. Add to this the temperature of about thirty degrees and the name “tropical paradise” is more than deserved. Even the rainy season, which runs from November to March, rarely throws spanner in the works. Most precipitation falls in the mountains – where the green is really impressive – and if the coast once a turn, it remains in a downpour of one hour, after which the sun breaks through convincingly.
The main reason for the popularity of Bali is perhaps the locals. The 3.2 million residents for the majority Hindus – as opposed to the Islamic Indonesia – and have a rare combination of kindness, tolerance and pride. Nothing she goes too far to the tourists to feel at home, but luckily submissive them as strange, so you rarely have problems with that embarrassing “I-feel-me-here-a-much-too-rich-Westerner feeling ‘ . The fact remains that the visitors to the island (and the dollars or euros in their wallet) holy.
Tourism is still not recovered from a pair of bombings in Kuta, the nightlife of Bali. In the first attack in 2002 came two hundred people died. The victims were mainly Australians, who ‘their Lloret de mar has since ignored. A new attack in 2005 made the problem worse. Like everywhere in the world in recent years the security has been further strengthened – and Bali is not more dangerous than London, Paris or Madrid – but still suffers the island’s economy from the consequences of terrorist attacks. That the available jobs and earnings during the tourist dip spread over all workers in this sector, says a lot about the mentality of Balinese. “When the going gets tough, we all have less’ is the social motto.
Bali may be in a difficult time sitting, you will find little real poverty. It may sound harsh but it is also good for the tourist with a bag on his back or a camera on his chest. Both the mountain villages and coastal towns look neat and tourists can relax around. Or: Balinese certainly want your money but do not pull aggressively shop or restaurant inside.
We chose the five-star treatment in the tourist Nusa Dua, on the southern peninsula. The base Villa Bintang, a small low-rise hotel with 54 rooms. Luxurious enough, but a lot more pleasant than the big hotels in the enormous (guarded) tourist enclave a few miles away. This complex is the golf course which our eye is true: the Bali Golf and Country Club. A classic in 1997 by Fortune Magazine was named one of the five best courses in Asia.
Literally to work so, for how relaxed it was in December with a cocktail in the pool to hang that bag drag obviously a reason it 12,152 km. Playing a championship course – in 1994, Alfred Dunhill Masters here instead – is always special, especially if you are on the first tee discovered that the back of a caddy buggy state. “You want the driver, boss?” Without waiting for an answer, press Dewa me the big dog in the hand and makes, after the addition of ‘keep it left’, from the feet. And thanks. An adventure into the fairway bunker and three putts later, the first double bogey on my card, but it should not spoil the fun, because the job is a picture.
The first nine games as a kind of tropical wood course, filled with beautiful trees and shrubs native birds. The holes go into the hills and offers beautiful views of the Indian Ocean. The architects regularly stone walls and along the fairway come back, referring to the terraces of rice fields in the interior. The distance markers are stone carvings in the job. You is not playing better, but it is quite a bit fancier than a wooden pole in the rough. After the turn changes the job. The fairways are wider and the dense vegetation gives way to groups of coconut trees. In the rough and the many lakes, however, there remains ample opportunity to lose balls and balls with local vendors to be happy with a few hundred Indonesian rupiah.
“That’s a pro shot boss’
Meanwhile, my card is necessary with a birdie and Parren reasonably repaired, but will follow a spectacular dessert. The last two holes changes Bali Golf back in shape and play on a coastal road. Hole seventeen plays towards the ocean and often into the wind. The “beach feeling” is reinforced by the current along the entire length bunkers. Here we caught on the track one drawback: the sand was so hard that a lottery is a bunker shot.
After this gritty outing awaits the final hole a potential water ballet. The par-4 / 18 is because three-quarters surrounded by a lake. After several hours in the Balinese heat this water has an irresistible attraction, and my drive is therefore convincing wet. Dewa takes no notice of my disappointment, drops a ball behind the water and gives me a full conviction of iron-8.
Then drop the puzzle pieces together: a relaxed swing, good ball contact, a bounce and the ball is still on eight inches of the cup. “That’s a pro shot, boss,” Dewa grins and gives me the putter. So save them on the tour so their parties! Five minutes later we sit with a pint of Bali Hai on the terrace to watch the next flight vain attempt to tame the track … what an island!