More golf at Mission Hills Haikou


More golf at Mission Hills Haikou
Sean Dudley

The new Mission Hills mega-resort at Haikou on the Chinese island of Hainan has taken another step forward with the opening of three more courses.

All designed by Arizona-based Schmidt-Curley, the Lava Fields, Meadow Links and Preserve courses join the previously announced Blackstone, Sandbelt Trails and Vintage courses at the RMB 30 billion (US$ 4.4 billion) development. The Blackstone course has been named host of the 2010 Mission Hills Star Trophy and 2011 Omega Mission Hills World Cup. Plans eventually call for ten layouts at the resort, although industry rumours suggest many more are under consideration.

“Our work at Mission Hills Haikou has been exceptionally rewarding,” says Brian Curley. “We were given carte blanche to create playing experiences inspired by our globetrotting. Deep reverence for golf history coupled with our passion for pushing the course-design envelope is on full display.”

The golf courses make use of different design styles and traditions from around the world. All use paspalum turf and, according to Curley, are easily walkable.

The Lava Fields course features irregular turf lines and rugged bunkering, and has sand transitioning into natural lava rock surrounds, with fewer trees than its sister design.

Meadow Links is said by the designer to incorporate elements of traditional eastern US courses, as well as rough, somewhat geometrically-shaped bunkering and fairway lines. Distinguishing traits like ‘church pew’ bunkers, and wide areas of turf punctuated by clusters of trees and native grasses are intended to evoke a parkland feel.

The Preserve has lush landscaping and dense palm plantings. An abundance of turf and soft containment mounding aims to keep mishits in play and reduce lost balls – Curley reckons this makes it an excellent course to develop new players and promote fast play.

“As trusted partners of Mission Hills and the Chu Family for more than 15 years – first in Shenzhen and Dongguan, and now on Hainan - we're honoured to continue our integral role popularising golf in China,” says Curley, whose firm has offices in Haikou and Kunming. “The sport's future growth is undoubtedly tied to Asia, and we're excited to influence a new generation of players.”

Mission Hills Haikou is central to a Chinese government initiative to make the tropical island a premier international tourism destination by 2020.

For more on Mission Hills Haikou, see this story from GCA issue 21.