In spite of the ban for golf for being associated to British colonialism, golf in China is becoming immensely popular and is growing exponentially. China’s first golf course was built in 1984 and the country presently has only 600 courses – that’s 1.5M people per course (talk about a long round) – targeted mainly to the wealthy provinces such as Beijing, Jiangsu, Guangdong and Hainan. Hainan in particular has been exempted from the ban by the government and is seen as an international tourism hub. However, golf’s inclusion in the 2016 Olympics is expected to drive significant demand for more courses and greatly expand the game’s reach.
The biggest attraction in Chinese golf is the Mission Hills resort/Golf club. With twelve immaculately manicured courses and nearly 10,000 members, Mission Hills is dubbed the “World’s Largest Golf Club” by Guinness World Records. The twelve courses are designed by a number of famous pros including Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Annika Sorenstam, Ernie Els, Jose Maria Olazabal, David Duval, Nick Faldo, Vijay Singh, Pete Dye, David Leadbetter, Jumbo Ozaki and China’s Zhang Lian-Wei.
As golf becomes more popular in China, Mission Hills is the center of the action. The club has already brought the world cup to China, acting as the host for Asian Amateur Championship 2009. It also hosted the first European Evergreen PGA tour event, in collaboration with the European Seniors Tour and the China Golf Association, from March 11-13 this year, with total prize money of US$ 35 million.
Playing a round at Mission Hills costs $148 US on a weekday and $200 on a weekend. The club’s features includes three world class spas, a 317 room 5-star hotel, golf academies from renowned instructors David Ledbetter and Cindy Reid, around 51 tennis courts, and of course the world’s largest club house.
The Teeth of the Dog golf course in Dominican Republic designed by the world-renowned golf course designer Pete Dye is considered to be the best golf course in Caribbean and 43rd in the top 100 courses listed by the Golf Magazine. Opened in 1971, the Teeth of the Dog measures a whopping 7,350 yards from the tips. Weaving through citrus and coconut trees, the course boasts incredible views of the ocean.
Teeth of the Dog – as the name implies, is indeed one of the toughest course to play golf. There are seven holes that are set on the shore line, meaning a miss hit (or even a change in direction of the strong Caribbean breezes) will send the ball into the ocean. “The opportunity to carve our Teeth of the Dog was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Pete Dye wrote in his book, Bury Me In a Pot Bunker. “Without proper heavy machinery to crack the coral, the tireless Dominican crew used sledgehammers, pickaxes and chisels. The result was a true masterpiece” he adds.
The Legend Golf & Safari Resort in South Africa – a place to combine your enthusiasm for wildlife and the majestic game – has never failed to take golf to the next level. This 18-hole course is designed by 18 different golf stars, including Padraig Harrington, Colin Montgomerie, KJ Choi, Retief Goosen, Justin Rose, Trevor Immelman and Vijay Singh. The Resort also includes privately owned homes, a golf academy, a driving range, a hotel, recreational facilities, a wellness centre, a “Field of Legends” sporting complex and a multi-functional conference centre.
The course’s main attraction, however, is its optional 19th hole which is otherwise named the “Xtreme 19th”. This 630-meter (~700 yard) par 3 is the world’s longest par 3. To play the hole, golfers must tee off from the top of the Hanglip Mountain, which is a quarter mile above the African continent shaped green. Once you tee off, it nearly takes 30 seconds for the ball to hit the ground. By the time it reaches the green, the ball is traveling at such a high velocity that your caddy will need more than a shovel to repair your ball mark.
Playing the Xtreme 19th alone will cost you US$ 385, though included in the price is the helicopter ride, a bunch of souvenirs and a DVD of your shot. But you can make that back and more, as the resort comes with a promise of an astonishing $ 1 million prize for a hole-in-one. Though no one has yet been lucky enough to win it, the ability to play a round at this beautiful resort is by itself a unique and wonderful prize.
If you are looking for a perfect golfing holiday, Finland must be the right place for you. Summer in Finland is the best time to play golf – literally, you can play golf the complete day. That’s because every summer Northern Finland becomes the land of the “Midnight Sun” – with non-stop sunshine for 24 hrs a day.
The Green Zone or Tornio Golf Club located in Tornio, near the artic circle and on the Swedish border, is a unique golf course in what is already an unusual environment. The club has 9 holes in Finland and the remaining 9 in Sweden (out of which 4 crosses the International border). The golf course not just combines two countries but also two different time zones with a difference of one hour. This technically means your ball remains on air for 1 hour before it actually lands on the green!
The Green Zone is one of around 100 Golf Courses in the country. And these courses are unlike those outside Scandinavia, Continue reading “Your Longest Iron Ever (sort of)”
The golf course in Panmunjom, which lies in a demilitarized zone between North and South Korea is often called the most dangerous golf course in the world. It has earned the ‘dangerous’ monicker not for deep hazards or unplayable rough but because of the mine fields located on three sides of the course. As you first enter the course, you are welcomed by a sign that says “DANGER! DO NOT RETRIEVE BALLS FROM THE ROUGH – LIVE MINE FIELDS”.
Continue reading “World’s Most Dangerous Golf Course”
In a country where the definition of sport is one and only Cricket, India is seeing a rise in the popularity of Golf. Driven by the country’s economic boom, which has produced a 300 million strong middle-class, Callaway forecasts that India’s potential golf market will grow at a rate of 25 to 30 percent over the next few years, compared to 2 to 3 percent in the U.S.
Unlike the traditional golf market which is mainly targeted at an older population, golf in India is generating huge interest among the young, especially those from middle and upper-income families who can afford to take lessons. Continue reading “It’s Tee Time in India!”
There may be many stunning golf courses throughout the world, but the Ice Golf course in Uummannaq, Greenland stands a step ahead.
Uummannnaq, the coldest course in the world, is located 600 km north of the Arctic Circle and since 1997 has been the home to the World Ice Golf Championship.
The picturesque par-36 9-hole course (with your typical mix of five par 4s, two par 3s and two par 5s), is located between two glacial icebergs – the moving ice results in a constantly changing layout as weather conditions fluctuate. Excluding the backdrop of huge mountains of ice glistening in the sun, Continue reading “Tee off towards the whites!”