KLEMGC and I had the pleasure of spending 3 days golfing at AGR from 2nd-5th March 2018 and loved it. There was various nationalities and abilities and over 20 of us trying to tackle the course which some did very well and some not so well.
We booked the golfing directly with the course who kindly put together all the golfing, hotels and transfers geared towards our budget and have to say that everything was organised down to the detail….apart from one hiccup when the later flight was not picked up from the airport by the hotel (nothing to do with AGR)…luckily the airport is only 10-15 minutes from downtown Siem Reap.
On the Friday some of us went to play direct from the airport and we were met by smiling caddies, smiling staff, great weather, easy check-in and it was a great sign for the weekend to come…..albeit extremely hot if you tee off anywhere near midday.
The Friday’s round was more of a practice, to see the course, to get an understanding of the layout, see how we planned for Saturday and Sunday for the main event…..Luckily we did as this round was invaluable to me especially….knowing where to put the ball is paramount at AGR as otherwise second shots, lay up’s can be a little harder…..then looking at your scorecard thinking OOOOH, I’m only 2 over after 6, tee shot, fairway, GIR…..hoping for a record scoring round….BAD IDEA!….triple, triple double, 10 over, thanks for coming….why do I always look at the scorecard when I am hitting the ball so well and scoring ??? The back nine also not good….but nothing to do with the course, it’s all me and my golfing ability, but WOW what a course!
What I tend to do when writing these reviews if you have not read my previous ones is get feedback from all of the golfers and then put together an honest account of everything including my own experiences….so I hope you find this insightful and definitely hope you play the course again.
6666 yards (3309 & 3357)
So, the opening day and zero golfers up late for the coach - thankfully because I allowed them all to sleep in having been told some were planning to enjoy some of the nightlife Siem Reap has to offer.
Leave the hotel for 08.30, at the course by 9am, b’fast, the draw and everyone was ready and raring for the 10am tee off….and as always being shadowed by the caddies…it’s so lovely to see everyone at a golf course smiling and being friendly, Malaysia could learn a lot from the staff here…not all courses but most.
Up for grabs this weekend was eclectic net, gross, Stableford winners, pairs combined Stableford both days, all par 3 nearest the pins, nearest the pin in 2, 3, nearest the line & Longest drive…..Did I win any….NOPE !! but gratefully sponsored by AGR, RL360, Kingsgate International School & Farringdon Group.
On to the 1st tee, a shortish par 4 with water down the left….Did I mention there is water on every, yes every hole??? Thankfully my fade helps on most of them….or so I thought as I dragged the first left in to the drink …..’Surely not again, not today’…..phew, Mulligan, we always have 1 Mullie and that’s on the 1st…
The opening hole is not a daunting one, it’s very wide, not much trouble unless you’re hitting 260 yards+ and you’ll find sand left and right, but then it’s only a wedge or 9 iron from there…Every hole on the course is reasonable flat, only one par 5 that I recall has any incline so the course is nice to drive and also to walk ….
The front nine for me was a little more memorable than the back nine as I can’t recall a couple of the holes on the back nine….The second hole dog-leg right with a drive, wedge, 3rd long par 5 but easily reachable in 3 for longer hitters, BUT with enormous bunkers for the shorter hitters, nice and open and very playable, 4th a tricky par 3, lots of bunkers and the green left to right not back to front so a good shot is required …only two players the whole weekend hit the green in regulation, then a lovely short par 4, par 5 easily reachable in 3 but guarded by bunkers and a 45 degree green front left to back right….
Then one of the most difficult on the course, not because of layout but because it’s a little longer, has a few fairway bunkers and if you don’t get your tee shot away you’ll have a blind 2nd….7, 7, par was my score over the 3 days…at least I learnt J…..8th a longish par 4 with fairway and greenside bunkers then the 9th a longer par 3 with water that comes in to play, greenside bunkers and drop-off’s either side…a very good hole indeed.
Beat The Pro - 12th, our Beat The Pro hole, great par 3 with water in front running right all the way up the hole, bunkers right and slightly uphill, 4 of the boys managed to get inside the pro which I thought was a great effort….
Beat the pro Winners
On to the back nine, great starting hole and unless you get your drive away you aren’t getting on the green in 2, it has very good protection from a number of fairway bunkers, then water crossing and a sloping green that is raised maybe 20 yards from fairway, so a good drive and good longer iron or rescue is required….11th, short-ish par 4, water down the left all the way and water 125 from the green so you have a shorter tee shot and 140 yards for the second, guarded by water, bunkers and coming across the short-side of the green.
Now for the 13th, stroke index 1…’OH, there seems to be a few bunkers….and I can’t see the fairway’, or at least this is what we thought as we stood on the tee box, BUT having played it 3 times, you learn to play the hole and it’s wide enough to miss trouble and long enough to get on in regulation, in fact, I would say all the par 5’s, unless you are booming it 300+ are all regulation holes, it’s very difficult to get on the par 5’s at AGR in 2, they are just long enough and well protected……14th & 15th are the holes I mentioned that I couldn’t remember too much….
Then 16, another great par 5, driver, lay-up, short iron….if you try driver, 3 wood, you’ll be in trouble, in the bunker or have that awful 60-70 yard distance…better to play the hole properly my caddie says…OK BOSS !, 17th a good looking par 3, big green, bunkers and water…short is OK, right is not ! Then the closing hole and to be honest I expected a little more to 18, it’s not the ‘stage hole’ I was expecting and a par 4 that leaves you expecting more….with a course of this stature you should be finishing in front of the Clubhouse or is that just me?? Anyway, it’s a very small matter when it comes to AGR, this place is a MUST to PLAY for any handicap.
What did we remember from our experience at AGR and what would we change …for us
Firstly it has to be the greens, absolutely immaculate, fringes perfect, colour amazing BUT they were running at 8.5, for us as golfers in Malaysia and although we had 2 or 3 rounds respectively these are too slow, almost to a point where you cannot lag a putt, it just stops rolling, I found I was either 6ft past or 6ft short having one of those tricky putts …these greens for the green fee we are paying need to be quicker as I am sure golfers from Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia have all mentioned this. We appreciate that the heat does scorch the grass and we appreciate that they can get quicker for tournaments but we as a group expected much quicker.
Caddies, if anyone playing in Asia has experienced better caddies I’d like to know….ALL the caddies were brilliant, they not only did caddie duties as you’d expect, raking bunkers, carrying clubs etc, but they made you play better and that’s the advantage of having good caddies…they knew exactly where your ball was if you went in the rough, they knew exactly to the yard/metre how far your next shot is and this was perfect…..I cannot stress enough how good these caddies were, brilliant, just brilliant and I would come back again and again knowing that I can trust anything they say, any line for a putt they give and how much they wanted to help your game…BRILLIANT !
How often have you gone away in a group and been left with a huge bill you all have to share…loads right? Well, at AGR, each golfer gets their own card and can charge anything they have to their own bill….such a great idea and for me the first time I have experienced this at golf…saves so much time, everyone goes home happy and their system at AGR was spot on, great idea.
There are a couple of other things mentioned that were both negative and positive, not enough fruit at the drinks stops, a little expensive for drinks, pro shop a little small, clubhouse a little small, changing facilities need a little improvement, too many bunkers BUT this all made for a great experience…..This course and facilities are set up to grow, with travel becoming more frequent into Siem Reap and the number of flights daily only set to increase. This course is fantastic….it’s memorable, enjoyable, a challenge, can beat you up, but did everyone leave the course smiling, YES……apart from one who lost 17 balls in 2 days, but that’s his fault, not the course.
Would we come again, YES…Would I change anything, YES, just the speed of the greens everything else was very insignificant and we had a blast!
Thank you to Alan, his team at AGR, the small details I asked for like a birthday cake, nothing was too much, it was all run like clockwork, hotel was good, transport was great and the course was top notch…and thanks has to go to the caddies, mine especially, Sor/Saw (I don’t know how to spell it), she was the BEST caddy I have ever had anywhere in the world…that’s how good she was and they all have the same training and desire to do their jobs to the best of their ability…
Pics Over the 3 Days Golfing
Well Done Pickers......Hope you enjoy the new handicap !
Some of the overhead hole pics ....Looks awesome right ?
Winners, Singles, Pairs, NP's, Longest Drive, Lowest Gross etc etc, WELL DONE CHAPS !
You will look beautiful Nico !!!
The Gang, Phil M, Dave H, Ian R, Pickers, The Maz, Thav, Non-Slip, Donal, Mike W, Hightower, Graham I, Big D, Botak, Duncan D, Brian B, Gary J, Tony R, Nico P.....Smiffy was in the bathroom and Tony O bottled the final day as he had a headache !!! AHHHH !!!
- Not Too Long
- Well Maintained and a Challenge
- Separate Invoices/Bills
- Slow Greens
- Lots of Water
- Lots of Bunkers
- Small Clubhouse
- Front 99
- Back 98
- Variety of Holes8
- Resistance to Scoring8
- Fairways, Bunkers & Rough9
- Clubhouse & Pro Shop7
- Driving Range & Practice Facilities8