The 2017 Maybank Championship will tee-off at Saujana Golf and Country Club from 9-12thFebruary and it will be on the renowned Palm Course that will put the 156 players to the test.

The club celebrated its 30th anniversary last year and has a long list of accolades including playing host to the World Amateur Golf Team Championships in 2002 (Team USA won and several top European players took part including Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, Gregory Bourdy and Bernd Wieberger. 2015 Maybank Champion Marcus Fraser was awarded the Low Medallist at that event. They also hosted The Open International Final Qualifying Asia in 2004, 2005 and 2010; and was home of the Malaysian Open on nine occasions between 1988 and 2009.

One of the most significant recognitions is that the Ron Fream designed course was named as the world’s sixth toughest golf course in 2012 by CNNGo.

So is this true for the professionals as well as the amateurs? We spoke to a few familiar names to get their thoughts on the 18-hole course that stands in between them and their share of the US$3million prize purse at the Maybank Championship…..


Gavin Green, Maybank ASEAN Ambassador

  • What changes do you notice on the Palm Course after the redevelopment

“There are a couple of obvious aesthetic changes to a few holes notably the 1st, 6th, 8th, 9th and 10thand overall the course is now longer which makes it tighter and more difficult.”

  • What do you feel is the toughest thing about the course?

“The tee shots are tough and trying to keep the ball in play. The green look like they are going to be challenging too as many of them are undulating.” 

  • What are the hidden dangers if any?

“The palm trees! Definitely the palm trees, they have a tendency to ‘catch’ golf balls!” 

  • What type of golfer do you think the palm course suits best?

“Someone who is long and straight of the tee will have an advantage on here. Management on the course is very important and accuracy is key.” 

  • What will the key thing be to focus on during MC17 to play the course well?

“Keeping the tee shots in the short grass as much as possible and playing more accurate iron shots. Not forgetting the short game and putting. Everything really!” 

  • Any other course you can compare it to?

“I have to say it’s really unique!” 

  • What has been your best score on the course so far?

“I have only played here a couple of times and my best as six-under. That was a social game though so it was a little different to a major competition.”

Danny Willett, Reigning US Masters Champion

  • You played the course during a visit to Saujana at the end of November, what were your first impressions?

“I was fortunate enough to play with some guests from Saujana and Maybank and it’s looking really good. There have been a few changes to the course since I was last there and I think that by the time February comes around it will be looking even better. It’s exciting.” 

  • What was the most challenging thing about it for you?

“Your positioning needs to be right off the tee and the greens are also tough. It’s a really good test of every part of your game.” 

  • Can you compare it to any other course you’ve played?

“Not really, no. I know there’s a lot of anticipation about the tournament and I know the course is going to be a fantastic venue for a brilliant tournament.” 

  • What will you need to focus on when you play it again in February?

“I’ll have played in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the run-up to the tournament so having had a break with family over the festive period, hopefully my game will be in shape and it can be a good start to the year.”


Lee Westwood, Touring pro for Saujana from 1997-1999. 

  • What do you remember of the course from previous times playing here?

“I remember going back about 10 years ago and it’s certainly got harder over the years, no question. I was proudly associated with Saujana for a long time and it’s always great to go back because there are a lot of people that I’m still close with. That’s where the welcome stops though because the course is very tough! It’s changed a lot over the last 20 or so years. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long but hopefully I can repeat what I did back in 1997.”

  • What do you think are the most challenging elements of the course?

“You couldn’t really pick only one thing. You’ve got to be accurate from the tee, there are plenty of hazards and the greens are tricky.” 

  • What type of player do you think it will suit best?

If you don’t have every aspect of your game on form at Saujana, you won’t compete – it’s as simple as that.” 

  • What will players have to be most aware of when playing in February?

“It is something we have to get used to but the humidity is a real challenge, particularly for the European guys. It makes it a real test both mentally and physically.”

From a top Malaysian professional to a Major Champion and a former touring professional for Saujana, all three have very similar thoughts on the challenge that awaits the top players from the Asian and European Tours this February. If you’re game is not at its best, this course will undoubtedly be one of the toughest you’ve ever played.

It will not be forgiving and it will not make it easy for you. So the winner of the 2017 Maybank Championship will be a deserved one and a player that shows composure and control throughout the four days. We all wait with baited breath to see who that will be….

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