A unique course, The MINES is a favorite of players

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Bo Van Pelt used every club in his bag en route to victory a year ago at The MINES Resort.
October 26, 2012
Chris Reimer, PGA TOUR staff

This place is a gold mine! Well, almost.

The MINES Resort & Golf Club was built on top of the world's largest open cast tin mine in 1993, uniquely transforming a barren wasteland once rich in precious minerals into a world-class resort and golf course.

Through the vision of Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew, a Malaysian business tycoon, and the expertise of the famous architect Robert Trent Jones, Jr., The MINES Resort & Golf Club was built and polished into a 246-acre,18-hole track and was immediately left alone for a year to mature. The par-71 course now offers varying distances and shot lines that allow players with a variety of styles and games to thrive. The MINES Resort & Golf Club has played gracious host to both the 1999 World Cup, won by Tiger Woods and Mark O'Meara, and the 2000 Women's World Cup and 2003 Carlsberg Malaysian Open.

First-round leader and two-time PGA TOUR winner Troy Matteson said he hit every club except his 5-iron during his first 18 holes.

"The course is great," he said. "I hear great things from everybody about the course just because it's -- you've got to play your way around here. You can't just hit driver on every hole, you've got to make some decisions, you've got to hit some irons, you've got to hit some 3� woods. I think guys really enjoy that, whereas most of the courses we play all year are just hit the driver as far and as hard as you can. So I think guys really like it, and I know I certainly do."

After winning the CIMB Classic last year, Bo Van Pelt also mentioned hitting everything from driver to wedge.

"I hit every club in my bag out there," Van Pelt said. "There are birdies out there, but it is a good test of golf."

While several players agreed with Matteson, players also have the ability to try to overpower the course. Jeff Overton, who finished runner-up in 2011, said he was hitting his driver straight enough to swing it on nearly every tee box.

"This is a really fun course to play," Overton said. "We have so many options on this course. It is one of the more fun golf courses we play. You don't have to hit driver on every hole, but if you are hitting your driver straight you can be aggressive. I've been hitting this Cleveland Classic dead on the money lately, so I had a lot of scoring opportunities. I hit a 3-wood on No. 9 and hit driver on every other hole."

The name of the course itself references the land's former role as the largest open-cast tin mine in the world when Malaysia used to be the world's largest producer of tin. After mining ended in 1982, an expanse of depressions and lakes provided the perfect starting landscape for a golf course. Neighboring these lush, manicured greens and scenic fairways is a sparkling 150-acre lake that was created to fill the deepest part of the mine. Today, it serves as the golf course's centerpiece, with a scenic series of lakeside holes that begins with the 10th. Although the lake is a prominent feature, the front nine works through the hinterland, which provides a complementing balance.