Nirwana Bali Tanah Lot
Indonesia

12th hole, 380 yards; This exacting par four is in its own little valley as it heads straight for the ocean before doglegging to the right. Judgment of the wind becomes crucial as a river fronts the entire green. The short iron approach is played from a sloping lie, never the easiest of shots. Furthermore, the green sets on a rock shelf and is severely pitched from back to front. A ‘safe’ shot long is generally the start of a bogey or worse. The exactness of the approach is in proportion with the length of the hole.

Best not to miss short on the tricky 12th hole.

13th hole, 335 yards; A beauty of a short two shotter played along a cliff top with the ocean on the right. Some days under favorable wind conditions, the green is reachable from the tee. However, the key shot is generally the approach shot. The elongated green is set parallel with the cliff and thus seems narrow. The further inland the golfer drives, the approach shot becomes more angled toward the green. This unsettling feeling is compounded by the fact that the prevailing wind blows across the golfer at a 45-degree angle as well. The wedge shot to the green set on a precipice is one that the golfer never tires of playing.

The direct carry to the green (which is directly behind the furthest bunker on the right) is 290 yards, and may be in reach downwind.

14th hole, 185 yards; The exact opposite of the 7th hole in two respects. First, the ocean is on the golfer’s right this time as he crosses the beach to another cliff top green. More importantly, this hole, unlike the 7th hole, plays significantly easier than it looks. The green is angled from right to left, i.e. it is angled away from the more serious trouble. Therefore, the golfer who bails out to the left is actually faced with a straightforward pitch shot back into the slope. Par can readily be saved. Compare this with the 8th hole at Pebble Beach. (It should be noted that the golfer may well go from a state of euphoria to anguish as the two toughest par holes follow).

The stunning 14th hole.

Management has changed the order of the holes from the architect’s original sequencing. The present 4th was originally the 18th. The two holes have been switched. As usual, the result is less than desirable. The golfer now faces a stream directly in front of a green on each of the last three holes. Furthermore, the last two holes feature 100 yard approach shots. This is an unfortunate ending for a course that offers variety at every other turn.

Many people tire of playing the same course over a period of a week or two. The same cannot be said of Nirwana Bali. The golfer will confront the course in a wide variety of weather and wind conditions over his one or two week stay. Regardless, the design subtleties will be more fully appreciated the longer the golfer gets to know the course. Who knows – by the end of his vacation, he may even play to his handicap!

The author and his caddie (the caddie is on the left).

The End