Off the Beaten Track Teeing-off in an exotic locale November 2003 417 Golfing at the Empire Country Club. The Golf Course at the Empire Country Club in Brunei is one that exists outside the boundaries of common knowledge. Opting for a low profile existence The Empire Country Club has every reason to boast for it is said to be one of the finest courses in Asia. The Empire Country Club is located on the grounds of the luxurious beachfront property of The Empire Hotel & Country Club and the floodlit 18-hole Jack Nicklaus-designed championship golf course has played host to the likes of Royalty and Heads of State such as President Clinton. The driving range has 26 covered bays with target greens from 50 to 200 meters, incorporated into the design to ensure practice time is optimized. There are also practice putting and chipping greens.Jack Nicklaus designs and builds courses for the connoisseur of the game, but this is a course that can be enjoyed by all. It encompasses lush green fairways and tropical landscapes fringed by jungle with magnificent views of the South China Sea, it is a welcome panorama where peace and serenity juxtapose the challenge of the game.From the opening hole the course provides magnificent scenery at every turn. The 15th hole is particularly spectacular with the South China Sea to the left and the hotel in the distance behind the green; it makes for some great camera shots. It is not uncommon to see families of monkeys out on the course as this 450 acre resort nestles into Brunei’s natural park. As you reach the end of your game, the 18th hole which is at one of the highest points of the golf course, overlooks some of the most magical views and beautiful sunsets.Each hole on the golf course presents its own individual challenge and character and, with the Nicklaus design, you either decide on finesse or unrestrained power when weighing up the options from the tee. Either way rewards will be plentiful if you are successful in negotiating the generous, well bunkered fairways and undulating greens. The alluring effect from playing so many good golf holes on the one golf course is certainly part of the course’s appeal.Brunei’s appeal further extends to the hotel itself, which is arguably South East Asia’s most magnificent golf, sport and leisure resort. This is a grand, spacious, luxury 5-star plus hotel and the only beachside property located right on a magnificent stretch of Brunei’s pristine coastline. The Empire has an opulent but tranquil ambience encircled by the ocean, the golf course and lush tropical gardens. Despite its size, exclusivity, privacy and personalised service are assured through a series of intimate wings and villas with gardens, saltwater lagoon, swimming pools and beaches. The range of room types extends from deluxe rooms, through expansive suites, to individual villas depending on your requirements. All of which makes Brunei a desirable golf and leisure destination for golfers and non-golfers alike.