Golf Courses in Hong Kong
Course-by-Course Introduction to Golf in the Self Administrative Region of Hong Kong
Clear Water Bay Golf & Country Club of Hong Kong – Any respectable Hong Kong’ers could tell you that the CWB is where a certain very, very rich man in this Self Administrative Region regularly goes for an early morning round before anything else; no further enquries will be needed if you conclude that this is a very exclusive club.
Fully completed in the early 1990’s, this course comprises two regular 9’s, The Ocean and The Highland, and a short Par-3 9-hole walking course for leasurely play, aptly named ‘Executive 9’ – no more guessing which of the three you would try if you want to find that certain very, very rich man!
Originally designed by Mssrs T. Sawai and A. Furukawa and later re-developed by Thomson & Perret, the course was built around the natural terrain of the peninsula (pic) on the south side of the Hong Kong Island near the seafood enclave of Saikung.
The Par-35 Ocean Nine measures 3,172 yards and covers the area fronting the sea, and not surprisingly the constant blow of the wind is the main feature here. That the fairways on this course stradles both the down slope and the flat of the shore only adds level of play. The 211-yard Par-3 Hole-6 ‘Shore-to-Elevated Green’ is typical, anything short of a precise landing will see the ball rolling back or trapped in the bunkers guarding the green. Any hardship and experience earned on this hole may perhaps help with the even harder 342-yard Par-4 Hole-8 of a similar climb but which is a dog-leg left with a blind spot for the second shot to the green.
While the wind is still a constant factor to bear in mind, the Par-35 3,438-yard Highland Nine plays into the woods on the ridge of the peninsula. While not exactly a tight course with closed-in trees, accuracy in placing will be much needed to keep score low. A bonus playing this 9 however is the spectacular ocean views. The 446-yard Par-4 Hole-13, which views clearly the ocean and Hong Kong Island as the backdrop, demands a delicate t-off to set up a long second for hopefully a good landing on the green with all landing points well guarded by bunkers and sometimes howling wind. The home-coming 543-yard Par-5 Hole-18 is a very inviting one if you are desperate. There’s a ravine to look out for even if you can bomb it past the dog-leg for a do-or-die, otherwise a conservative tee-off (No choice really!), then a second shot past deep bunkers before attacking the long, elevated and wavy green – good club selection will help achieve the desired of a Par at least.
In all, Clear Water Bay Golf Course is not only an enchanting course with breathtaking seaviews to play on but also it demands a certain level of proficiency, judgement and the craft of the game to play well. If you are an aspirant of great successes, ever eager to continuously hone your skills for greater achievement, would you rather not be somewhere like this to seek inspirations? A keen mere golfer would!
Hong Kong Golf Club of Fanling – Like quite a few of the original establishments in the former British colony, the (former Royal) Hong Kong Golf Club stood watch in silence recent history being unfolded this part of the Far East – from the time the idea of forming a golf club was mooted to acquiring land at the time the former fishing village was beginning to prosper and land shortage had become immminent, to the club house being used as a supply depot during the war to its present grandiose at Fanling, not least to the hand-over of Hong Kong in 1997 and the openning up more of its facilities to the public.
And on the golf side, it saw its first open tournament won by the Taiwanese legend, Lu Liang Huan, of the runner-up to Lee Trevino at The Open and winning the team World Cup in Melbourne fame, and later by Arnold Palmer, to the recent times of Bernhard Langer and Rory McIlroy. There are properties within the club compound listed as heritage buildings if you doubt the club being part of the protracted history of this Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong.
The Club has three regular 18-hole courses at it’s Fanling complex and a 9-hole course at its original location in Deep Water Bay. The Fanling courses are The Old Course (6,246-yard), The Eden (6,128-yard) and The New Course (6,519-yard).
Built in the heavily forested area bordering Shenzhen the courses are carved out of thick sub-tropical vegetation with mature trees retained to line the sides giving a lush green ambience to it, if humidity at the time of the year would help with a more pleasant play here. Being on high grounds, the fairways run along sloping terrain leading to greens at different elevations and this calls for better judgement in shot making.
Beside occasional streams running across or some man-made ponds built to protect and steep walled-bunkers at strategic points, the main feature of the course has to be the design of many greens with folds as against the normal subtle breaks. Accuracy and good control of landing shots will be much in demand to complement if you are a big hitter.
The Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau Golf Club of Hong Kong – For almost all of the good part of being a British colony, Hong Kong had at the same time been some sort of a bastion against communism from the mainland and for almost a good half of the last millenium, Kau Sai Chau Island which is just opposite the coastal seafood enclave of Sai Kung in the New Territory was used as a British artillery firing range. Some say the island had been irreversibly depredated environmentally if you think building a golf course there would not come close to any form of rehabilitation. What else could have been done better if not? The Hungry Ghosts’ Festival held every year on the 7th. month on the Lunar Calender only brings more damaging bush fires and destructions caused by careless and irresponsible worshippers.
Two years before Hong Kong became an SAR (Self Administrative Region), the first 18-hole course, the North Course openned to the public. Gary Player designed this 6,858-yard course. Perhaps owing to the much dilapidated nature of the terrain, the course has been variously described as ‘less forgiving’, ‘a monster when the winds are up’ and ‘natural hazards make this course suitable only to the very low handicappers’ etc., etc.
Despite, you can always capitalize on the easy holes of the Par-3 148-yard Hole#7 and the short Par-5 491-yard Hole#10, with the latter come complete with an elevated tee box to assist in ‘a hungry ghost’s run down to the green for a birdie’. Failing which, brace for the challenging Par-3 205-yard ‘down-hill’ Hole#14 with an island green which requires an absolute good spin.
By late 2007, a third 18-hole course, the East Course, would have been added to the existing two. As we update, we have yet received an invitation by the club for a visit and do a course review. As was understood, this new course would have ‘a completely self-sufficient irrigation system. Water supply will be provided by a desalination plant, while rainwater run-offs from the course will be collected and recycled through a closed-circuit drainage pipe system.’ We view this as a sign of confidence the former colony carries with it in keeping abreast with the very advanced. We can only guess for the time being that the East Course will be a first class course. Please send us your review if you have played on the East Course.