One of the sparkling gems on the crown of Southeast Asia, Bali is known for its tropical beaches and monkey-swinging jungles and is a tried-and-tested favorite for holidays in the sun. Brimming with culture, arts, and stunning scenery, it is no surprise that the isle has seen an enormous tourism boom in recent decades. In that time, golf in Bali has also risen to become something of a mainstay activity alongside the volcano treks and the surf.
Yep, the legendary Isle of the Gods offers an exciting combination of challenging greens and well-maintained fairways, perfectly landscaped into some of Bali’s most incredible locations. Whether it’s thick forests overshadowed by volcanoes or a cliffside view of the Indian Ocean you’re after, Bali’s golf courses promise something a little different to what you might be used to back at home.
This guide aims to pick out just a handful of some of the most eye-wateringly fantastic places to play golf in Bali. We’ve got five-star resort courses that sit in ancient craters between the summits of smoking mountains, clifftop rounds where you can feel the spray of the waves while putting, and more casual family courses that don’t carry hefty green fees on the side. Putter at the ready? Let’s begin…
Bali Handara Golf & Resort
No list of the top places to play golf in Bali could possibly miss out on the uber-famous Handara Golf & Resort. This one’s actually known as much by the Instagram influencers as it is by the hole-in-one chasers. The reason? It’s gateway. Known as the Handara Gate, it’s a grand entranceway that sports Hindu filigrees and mystical sculptures, all set beneath the rises of mist-gathering mountains. Today, it’s not just the way into what’s considered the original golf club on the island, but also a favorite location for holiday snaps.
The wow factor carries on when you go beyond the gates, too. Notice how the course is wedged into a crater between the slopes of Lake Buyan and Lake Beratan, up on the cool highlands of the Buleleng Regency, where verdant forests cascade down from high peaks. The location brings cooler weather than along the Balinese coast but also slight breezes that add an extra challenge to those shots off the tee.
It’s actually pretty hard to overstate the prestige of the Handara resort. It was the brainchild of the so-called father of gold in Indonesia as a whole, Ibnu Sutowo. He began the construction of the site in the early 1970s, enlisting the help of British course designers Peter Thompson and Graham Wolveridge to create a truly special collection of 18 holes an audacious 1,140 meters above sea level.
Handara is ranked Indonesia’s number one golf hotel, but the resort also offers several tailored experiences for guests to enjoy off the course. For example, there’s a fine-dining Japanese restaurant on site and some elegant coffee rooms with views of the fairways. A night’s stay starts at just $40, with great seasonal discounts. A day on the course varies between $50 and $150 per person.
Bali National Golf Club
A superb choice and readily accessible no matter where you’re situated in Bali, the Bali National Golf Club is located in the Maj Hotel in Nusa Dua, just a 20-minute drive from the international Ngurah Rai Aiport in Denpasar. Nusa Dua is very much the heart of luxury beach hotels, shopping malls, restaurants, and museums on the island, so you’re in good hands.
Holes one through to nine navigate creeks, canyons, and lush native vegetation with tropical birds and wildlife to observe while you play. Holes 10 through to 16 follow green fairways amid a mature grove, making for pleasant intermediate play. Then come holes 17 and 18, which run along a pretty lakeside, posing a challenge for any golfer.
On top of the award-winning course, the hotel also offers luxury villas that can sleep up to six guests, many with sweeping views of the fairways and greens. Although one night could set you back $300 a head, you are looking at the height of luxury – think infinity pools and sunbeds tucked into the Balinese coast jungles. Green fees are typically $80 per person with a two-tee start, personal caddy, and shared golf cart included.
New Kuta Golf Course
Poking out of Bali’s southernmost peninsula where it’s perched on a cliff with uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean on three sides, The New Kuta Golf Course is undoubtedly one of the island’s most picturesque. You’ll be playing right atop the wave-bashed rocks by the surf mecca of Balangan Beach. It’s a setting you’re sure to remember, particularly towards the golden hour when the light begins to fade.
The international-standard, 18-hole course is the first of its kind in Indonesia that uses a links-style layout. The course overlooks two famous beaches on Bali’s southern coast and is hemmed in by oodles of beautiful hotels, hidden coves, bohemian shops, and magical temples – this is the Bukit Peninsula, arguably Bali’s most iconic surf and R&R hub.
At the clubhouse, you’ll find a pro-shop, restaurant, and even a spa for you to unwind after an exciting game. New Kuta is also partnered with some neighboring five-star hotels if you’re looking for the complete golfing holiday experience. Prices start at $50 per person for all 18 holes, but there are several packages available with spa treatments and nearby accommodation included from $170 per head.
Bukit Pandawa Golf & Country Club
The epitome of golfing exclusivity, the Bukit Pandawa Resort and Country Club occupies 150 hectares of hidden clifftop in southern Bali. There are 180-degrees of stunning sea views to the south, not to mention a whole run of sand – Pantai Gunung Payung – that’s hardly ever visited by anyone else just below the fairways.
Designed by JMP Golf, the course weaves through dramatic rock outcroppings and terraced rice paddies, with the Indian Ocean as a backdrop. Complete with two beach clubs, an infinity pool, a fine-dining restaurant, and even an arts center, there’s something for everyone at this resort, even after you’ve completed the full compliment of 18 holes.
The clubhouse is the finishing touch, inspired by Bali’s ancient temples and towers with its own spectacular ocean views. You can book a day on the course for just $75 without any add-ons, but a night at the resort will set you back at least $100.
Bali Beach Golf Resort
Bali Beach Golf Course is the smallest golf club on the island. As of 2022, the main nine-hole round is actually closed to the public. However, we list it here because you can still drop in to work on your irons and drives at the on-site range, or practice that all-important putting on the test greens. It’s open well into the evening and has booths enough to host over six golfers at once.
You’ll find it in the sleepy area of Sanur, which is popular with retirees and honeymooners. However, the facility is also eminently close to the buzz of central Denpasar and the airport, not to mention the larger, more prestigious championship 18-holers in Nusa Dua – just in case you needed to blow off the cobwebs before really getting stuck into your golf hols.
The club offers equipment rentals, so no need to travel heavy with your clubs, as well as premium golf lessons for beginners and children. You can even try your hand at some healthy competition with in-house mini-tournaments regularly hosted at the club.
Golf in Bali – our conclusion
As it stands, there are just five courses that can offer golf in Bali. The most prestigious of the lot has to be the Bali Handara Golf & Resort, which we think every serious golfer should try to conquer at least once – its greens and fairways roll out between two big volcanic crater lakes in the lush central highlands of the island. You’ll also find a few deluxe courses attached to hotels in the Bukit area, which are great if you’re hitting the beaches of the south coast and want some golf on the side. Finally, there’s the driving range at the Bali Beach Golf Resort in Sanur for those practicing sessions that go on into the night.
How much does it cost to golf in Bali?
Golfing holidays are in high demand worldwide, and the sport is primarily associated with first-world luxury and quality service. This means golfing isn’t cheap, and despite its southeast Asian location, Bali is no different. The cost of golfing in Bali is at a premium because of exceptional course conditions, luxurious clubhouses, and word-class service. Weekday golfing or a starter lesson cost you as low as IDR 400,000 to IDR 700,000, which is $30 to $50. At the same time, a weekend on the course is likely to be closer to IDR 900,000 to 2,000,000 or $60 to $150.
Will the weather affect my golfing experience in Bali?
As golfers will know, a full 18 holes can take some time to play, and that’s part of the joy of the sport. But when playing in hot weather, this could hinder enjoyment, and your ability to perform. Bali is hot all year round, so it is essential to drink plenty of fluids and towel off the sweat while you’re putting holes. Luckily, Bali’s golf courses are strategically located in the mountains or on cliff sides so you’ll get cooler breezes and ocean winds to make play more pleasant.
Although Bali is almost never cold, it is a tropical island and endures a rainy season from November through to March. This may not mean constant rain, but it does mean heavy downfalls, which can reduce visibility and make for undesirable course conditions. This doesn’t mean you should avoid golfing in the rainy season. In fact, you’re far more likely to find discounted prices as this time of year. But always check the weather ahead of schedule and save your course time for the sunshine.
Are there golfing tournaments in Bali?
There are a number of golf tournaments held throughout the year at Bali, hosted at all of the five main courses. From Bali National’s End of Year Challenge to the Handara Open and the Pecatu Open Golf Tournament at New Kuta. There is also the more coveted Bali Golf Walk, which is held twice annually and is attended by amateur golfers from all over the world. The Covid-19 pandemic has put this global event on pause but it is set to restart in 2022.
How many golf courses are there in Indonesia?
Indonesia is a great place to play golf with its lush green islands and rolling landscape. There are almost 150 golf courses across the archipelago from which to choose, with five large courses located on the popular island of Bali. Bali is the best place to play golf in the country, and arguably one of the best places in Asia with carefully curated greens, scenic locations, well-maintained putting surfaces, and world-class hospitality. The luxury side of golf is in line with Bali’s exclusive feel, and each golf course is complete with country clubs and restaurants that are equally stylish and inviting.