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As promised, our Hackers Guide to Handara is going to explore hole 1 today. Our 20-part blog series will take you through a journey through Bali’s most historic golf course- Handara Golf & Resort Bali- from the perspective of the average, high-handicap golfer.

The biggest tip I can give any of you is to turn up a bit early for the round so you get a chance to practice before you tee off. The driving range at Handara is really good and hitting some shots beforehand will give your caddie a chance to look at you, and get a feel for your play. The practice greens are superb to get a feel of the greens and the area around is large enough to get a load of chipping done before the round. I always find my first tee shot is better after I have hit a few balls on the practice range.

I mentioned last week that it is good to have the right philosophy when playing on any golf course. As I tee up on hole 1 at Handara I am going to try and keep those five items in mind.

1. Not Every Shot is Going to go where I want it.
2. A Bogey is a Legitimate Goal!
3. Prepare yourself.
4. The Caddies are always right, especially at Handara!
5. Take the easy shot.

Hole 1 At Handara Golf Resort BaliOk, time to hit a ball from the first hole at Handara Golf & Resort Bali, a mighty 458 yards, par 5.

When you stand on the tee box you will see the fairway is straight our in front of you for a 150 yards or so and then take a hard dogleg left. Bunkers appear on the left side and a large expanse of fairway, and then rough on the right. For me, as someone who tends to draw the ball I am going to be aiming just over the right side of the bunker on the left. All going to plan I will cruise over the bunker and land in the middle of the fairway.

If you are a fader or slicer, you will probably want to avoid the driver on this tee. Opting instead for a 3w or 5w is a safer choice as a long drive to the right can overrun the fairway and end up in the trees. Play it safe and put one out into the fairway ahead.

Shot 1: Boom…..oops. My tee shot heads off to the right and into the rough! No sweat, these things happen- regularly.

Ok, so as I come up to my ball that is lying on the right, just off the fairway in the rough. Luckily it’s sitting up on the rough and not buried. I can see right up to the green, but it’s a looong way away. First I have to deal with the creek that is about 130 yards away and running right across the fairway. I need to keep this next shot on the fairway.

Shot 2: The 5 iron out as a safe option and boom…….. over the creek and on the fairway. It’s still going to be a long shot to the green from there.

OK, so now the challenge is whether to go for the green on this third shot, or try to lay up and get on in four. Keep in mind that a bogey is a legitimate goal so if I am on in 4 and can 2-putt then I have been successful at securing my bogey and eliminating the chance of starting my round with a disaster.

Shot 3: A gentle pitching wedge pushes me 120 yards up the fairway. I am a bit left and thus in the light rough but I think I can use my wedge to get in on four.

Shot 4: Yep, on in four! The wedge is a reliable club for most and this one lands about 30 feet from the hole. Now it’s all up to the putter. I am pretty happy that I didn’t attempt my 5 wood to get on in 3.

Handara Golf BaliThe greens at Handara are the most challenging I have experienced in Bali. This is where the caddie comes into play. Listen to their directions, these guys really know the direction you need to be putting and will also help you with the strength of the putt. The greens have big breaks and can be very fast given the area has a lot of slopes. If the caddy says aim two clubs left, he means it. Don’t believe me? Just wait until you read about hole 5.

So that’s hole 1 done and dusted. Time to collect my thoughts as I move onto hole 2. Join us next week as we experience Hole 2 at Handara Resort & Golf Bali. Fooore!