It was two years ago when we made our first trip down to the coastal line of Dara Sakor Seashore Resort in Koh Kong to test out their first golf course, the Ocean Course. As the second course was just recently finished, we made another trip there during early April to see what the new Hill View Course has to offer.
Construction of the area started back in 2011 with their first course and grand hotel finished in 2015. Now fast forward in time, construction of the second course along with a new hotel have finished while the previous hotel is currently being turned into a casino. On the sea side, the resort features a beautiful white sandy beach and a sea food restaurant on the pier that offers great value for money.
The new hotel is located right beside the ‘old’ one, featuring a large size swimming pool and terrace facing hole #10 of the Ocean Course. Rooms are spacious and come fully equipped with all the amenities you would need for your stay. The television in the room does not have cable connection but instead utilize a digital TV box. Nevertheless, the beach, the pool and the golf courses are enough of a treat already and would have you spend most of your time outside.
While the Ocean Course starts in front of the hotel, the new course is situated a few minutes’ drive away by car along the road reaching to the main hotel entrance. Upon arrival, what greeted us were a small clubhouse and beautiful large grass range that have yet to be finished at the time.
The new course named Hill View Course, as stated on the score card, does live up to its expectations and sets itself apart from others by its distinctive design and setting. The undulating landscape spoiled us with picturesque view of the surrounding nature while the steady breeze of the ocean and the rain forest help to relieve some of the tropical heat. This was very crucial as the weather was notoriously hot while we were there.
The course itself is a challenging one. Being best friends with your driver is crucial as there is not much space to play from outside the fairways. Every block, pull and slice will most likely result in declaring your ball lost. The greens are the least of your worries while getting there is a battle to stay away from the numerous large white sandy bunkers spread across the course.
The course starts off with a downhill par 4 of 382 yards from the back tees with beautiful scenery. The green is bordered by bunkers and a water hazard, but nothing too crazy at this point. As you progress further and further, you’ll find yourself asking whether or not you have enough balls with you to finish the whole 18, even though you already brought plenty.
On the 4th hole, you’ll find a tricky 175 yards par 3 over a large body of water. At first glance it looks simple enough; however, you’re not allowed much room for errors as too short and you’ll be swimming with the fish while too hard and you’ll end up in the sand trap.
Hole number 6 has, as we can find at Phokeethra Country Club and Garden City, a tree tactically placed on the fairway which reduces your chance of a safe landing and significantly increases the probability of losing another ball.
No water hazard can be found on the back nine, but more narrow fairways and even more bunkers come in to play. We began the last half of our round with a downhill par 5, which in our opinion, is definitely the highlight of the course. You tee off from the peak of the hills with breathtaking bird’s eye view of the forest surrounding the area and the vast Koh Kong Sea. However, don’t let the scenery distract you too much as you might end up in the deep greenside bunkers.
The 17th hole is a par 4 with two fairways split right in the middle. Pick your poison and drive right to a wider area laced with sand traps everywhere or drive left to a more narrow space with limited visibility of the pin. Either way, be careful of the woods on both sides and in the middle of the fairway.
Finish off your round on the par 5 hole number 18 with a dogleg right. Even though fairway might be a bit more open, you’ll be required to stay focus until the end. With the green not visible from the tee and sand traps are as big of a factor as ever, positioning is key to avoid costing unnecessary strokes to add to your score card.
All in all, the Hill View Course was a very fun course to play, albeit a very challenging one and might be a very frustrating experience for beginners. Course condition was remarkable considering it was just recently finished and is yet to be opened to the public. If you have not visited Dara Sakor Seashore Resort yet, you are definitely missing out on an amazing experience.