Weekend vacations are the perfect respite to the hustle of our urban city life.
After months of hard work, it’s a rest well deserved! In fact, many of us Singaporeans have already zipped over to Batam/Bali for an idyllic getaway or huddled with close friends/family in a local hotel/chalet for that weekend getaway.
But what if you’re already bored of these typical getaways? What if you want a weekend vacation that doesn’t revolve around the usual seaside accommodation or standard hotel amenities?
The good news is, we’ve found just the place! Qi Yun and myself (Shawn) were invited to a fabulous weekend stay at Ponderosa Golf and Country Club. We love the place so much we’re thinking of going back again! Why do we love PGCC so? Let us count the ways.
- Fresh clean air 15minutes drive from Johor Bahru checkpoint.
At only 15minutes away from the Johor Bahru checkpoint, it’s a quick and convenient getaway to a whole new world. Nestled far away from the noise of Johor Bahru city, Ponderosa Golf and Country Club is a haven for anyone who wishes to enjoy the quiet scenery of green fields and blue skies.
You can either drive your car from Singapore or take a taxi from Johor Bahru. Alternatively, you may also give PGCC a call and request for a driver to pick you up. Their driver, Sani, is a friendly and patient guy who doesn’t mind going the extra mile (literally) for you. Sani made a detour for us when we requested him to bring us to a shop to purchase the local SIM cards. He made a good start to a great holiday!
- Big vintage rooms with festive décor
With only 16 rooms for guests in the entire Ponderosa Golf and Country Club, you can be assured of good personalised customer service. The receptionist called me by name since Day 1, which makes me feel good as a guest.
The Deluxe Room where we stayed at had a vintage feel with a festive décor, which Qi Yun absolutely adores! A bowl of chocolates and sweets were prepared for us and placed nicely on the coffee table, which I absolutely adore! We liked that the room was extremely spacious, and that we had a clear view of the swimming pools. Check out our video tour of Ponderosa Golf and Country Club here to get a better feel of the Deluxe Room!
And in case you are wondering, there is Wi-Fi at Ponderosa Golf and Country Club 🙂
- A place for rejuvenating R&R
Ponderosa Golf and Country Club has some of the more unique facilities and activities which you won’t find at your typical holiday resorts.
Let’s begin with the golf course. Ponderosa Golf and Country golf course measures 6,467 and 6,005 metres from the black and blue tees respectively and is designed to give golfers an interesting challenge in strategic thinking and skill. This golf course is a favourite amongst many Malaysians and Singaporeans. You can find out more about the golf course here. (http://www.ponderosagolf.com/web/golf_course.php)
Ponderosa Golf and Country Club also features a driving range, for those who prefer to hone their skills there. The driving range will be upgraded to a double story driving range with 40 bays in the near future.
For absolute novices who have never swung a golf club in your life (like Qi Yun and myself), feel free to try your hand at this sport under the guidance of the resident golf pro, Mr Valli. This energetic man has been playing golf for over 50 years, and has over 30 years of professional experience. As a coach, both of us will give him 2 thumbs up. He was detailed in his explanations and technique such that Qi Yun managed to hit the ball quite far away on her first try! I only got it on the 3rd.
In our first golfing experience, we’ve attained newfound respect for the sport. It’s not as easy as it looks. Our first taste of hitting the golf ball was extremely satisfying and we’re eager to learn more! Courses are available for both adult and children who wish to delve deeper into this sport.
Besides the golf course, Ponderosa Golf and Country Club also has 2 beautiful swimming pools. Sunset by the pool side is truly wondrous, as the orange hues of the sky contrast spectacularly well with the blue waters and green fields, all within view of our lounge chair by the pool. I like how lovely Qi Yun looks by the sunset pool (not that she doesn’t look lovely at any other time).
There is also a huge courtyard in the middle of Ponderosa Golf and Country Club. Unlike the golf course, this space of green is open to public and is a frequent location for weddings, birthday parties and other joyous celebrations.
On the last Friday of each month, the Cantina transforms into a Latin dance studio. Customers from around the area come here to dance popular social dances likes salsa, cha-cha and bachata. I’ve not danced for over 6 years so it was really nice to be dancing salsa on the dance floor again. Qi Yun says she dances like a robot but I beg to differ. The dancers here are a friendly bunch so even if you’re a novice, just ask someone to teach you! Look out for Jamie, the organiser of the event and staff of Ponderosa Golf and Country Club, when you are here. She’ll be happy to show you around.
- Delicious value-for-money food
The food at Ponderosa Golf and Country Club is top notch. And the price is incredibly affordable (eg. Grilled Salmon Steak for 29RM and Set Lunches with drinks and fruits for 10.60RM) . There are 3 dining options at Ponderosa Golf and Country Club. Here are some of our favourite food options. Try them when you drop by next!
i) Apple Assam Boi from Cantina
We tried this fruit juice because it had an interesting name, and boi was it delicious! Apple Assam Boi is actually preserved plum juice, with a generous addition of apple juice and pulp. It’s sourish to taste yet very refreshing. Served in a tall glass, it sets you back for a mere 7RM at the Catina.
ii) Lamb steak from Catina
If you ever bring Qi Yun on a fine dining treat, order lamb and you won’t go wrong! The Lamb steak served at Cantina is juicy and chewy; its sides are mixed with a unique buttery sauce that makes it really good.
iii) Deep fried chicken with marmite sauce from Hop Sing Restaurant
If you prefer Chinese fare, place an order for the Marmite Chicken at Hop Sing Restaurant. It is one of the signature dishes and a definite must-try when you are here at Ponderosa Golf and Country Club. The lightly fried chicken is crispy and does well with the taste of marmite. This is easily our favourite dish for the whole trip and it’s only 26RM for half a chicken. If you prefer, feel free to ask for smaller portions.
iv) Herbal chicken drumstick from Hop Sing Restaurant
Hop Sing’s Herbal Chicken Leg is another signature dish of this restaurant. The herbal taste is strong and the chicken is tender and succulent, setting you back for only 18RM. Yummy!
v) Bunny Meal from Cantina
This bunny meal is a brunch set meal that comes with playtime with resident bunnies of Ponderosa Golf and Country Club. This one is a steal of steals at 38RM for 2 adults and 2 children! More on this delicious set later on.
Ponderosa Golf and Country Club has 2 head chefs, one specialising in Chinese food and the other in Malay fusion food. Be sure to try a variety of dishes when you are there!
- Perfect for the health conscious
If you’re a person who counts your calories every meal, then you’ll be smiling every day at Ponderosa Golf and Country Club. Recently, their chefs have just introduced healthy meal sets with reduced calories and more nutritious ingredients. Each dish has been designed for customers looking for fresh and healthy options.
So far, the choices available are ‘Grilled Chicken Salad’, ‘Poached Salmon with Garden Vinaigrette Salad’ and ‘Pasta au Ratatouille’. Each meal costs an affordable 15RM.
If you are feeling up to it, you can also sweat it out at the gym and even take up individual/group lessons from their gym instructors. In collaboration with Green Fitness, Ponderosa Golf and Country Club offers Mixed Martial Arts, Body Combat, Muay Thai, Yoga, Zumba, Pilates, Aerofit and other popular activities. We took up a customised ‘Functional Training’ workout at the gym. Get a glimpse of it at our video tour! These activities are perfect for groups of friends. If you’re planning to take on such activities, be sure to call in advance!
- Brunch with Bunnies
When Qi Yun saw the poster for ‘Brunch with Bunnies’, she literally squealed,” I want to go for this one!”. And so we did. We had an amazing time playing with the bunnies in a pen cage set up by the children’s playground at the courtyard. The bunnies were a little shy, but oh-so-cute and fluffy. We discovered they liked to nibble on the stems of certain flowers around the field, and thus we managed to gain their confidence through these little tidbits.
‘Brunch with Bunnies’ is a pilot project by Ponderosa Golf and Country Club to introduce guests to furry critters. Guests are taught the characteristics of the animals, as well as certain dos and do nots, before being let into the cage with the bunnies. It is a great educational tool for the kids, and a hit with the young at hearts. Subsequently, Ponderosa Golf and Country Club plans to expand its range of pets and build a bigger, more comfy homes for its animals.
‘Brunch with Bunnies’ also includes a hearty meal for 2 adults and 2 children ( or 3 adults). There are 3 different set brunches to choose from. We chose the ‘Bunny Meal’ set, which also happens to be their most popular choice. The meal consists of fried rice, spring rolls, Roti John and fruits, all of which are absolutely yummylicious! Qi Yun especially loves the Roti John which is made with soft cheesy charcoal bread. Shawn likes munching on the crispy and crunchy spring rolls.
Do consider getting the Bunny meal when you are here for Brunch with Bunnies, it’s only 38RM for the entire meal (for 4 pax) and experience!
- Convenient location for shopping and dining
As every Singaporean will know, one of the perks of a stayover in Malaysia is its shopping and dining benefits. Our vacation took place a week before Malaysia’s Merdeka Day, and our short trip to AEON Terbau showed us that almost everywhere was crazy with promotions and discounts. It’s a good thing we’ve only allocated 1.5 hours for our shopping trip, else we’ll be coming home with much more.
Ponderosa Golf and Country Club’s resident driver will be able to bring you out for your shopping trips, and chauffer you back at a later time as long as it’s during office hours.
Johor Bahru is also popular for its many food stops. We made a trip to a nearby durian store, courtesy of Jamie who drove us there at night. Durian is incredibly cheap when compared to the prices at Singapore, so be sure to have at least one makan session if you are at Ponderosa Golf and Country Club during the durian season.
Wow! This turned out to be a really long post! Below’s a video to sum it all up. There’s really so much to do at Ponderosa Golf and Country Club that is different from where most people usually go to. We’ll love to go back again someday! If you’re keen to find out more, feel free to take a look at their website and drop them an email (http://www.ponderosagolf.com/web/index.php)
Exclusive Giveaway Contest [Open till 25th October 2016, 2359]
Fancy a free 2D1N stay at Ponderosa Golf and Country Club? Simply follow the steps on our giveaway post on IG @FlyingPistachios and stand a chance to win!
Click on https://www.instagram.com/p/BLk7dLjDMBV/ to find out more.