Golf Courses in Shanghai, China
Course-by-Course Introduction to Golf in & around the 2010 World Expo City of Shanghai!
Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club – A golf blog promoting its own online betting by featuring the BMW Asian Open 2008 describes Tomson Golf as having incorporated “..30,000 imported camphor trees, maples and others… A staggering 30,000 cubic meters of stone and rock… 2.5 million cubic meters of earth and another 800,000 of imported frigid zone meadows and, ..hills covered by veined grass with beautiful flowers…”. We bet 1000 to 1 you would definitely come play this course some day! Thanks to the betting link provided. We also place another for the same odd that Ernie Els will be recognised by the special team set up to protect celebrity golfers like him like it did not in the previous Open when the big man apparently went totally unnoticed and got mobbed by fans on the course.
But otherwise, the course is technically characterised by running creeks across much of the ‘veined grass with beautiful flowers’ and the main obstacles to a good score are water hazards of ponds and lakes. For the aesthetics, it has the garden feel in the carefully selected colour scheme for the various parts of the course. Designer Shunsuke Kato combined the old and the new as well as the best of his perception of the best courses in the US, Japan and Britain. This 18-hole Par-72 7,340-yard course is turfed on the fairways with TIF419 Rye, Bent on the greens and Yoysia Japonica for the rough. Els holds the record of 62 set in 2005 for the professionals while Guo Zhiqi has that for the amateurs at 69 set in 1998.
The course was apparently voted by the Hu Run Report the best course in the Shanghai Area and many regard it as a ‘must play’. If you must miss the last put on the 18th., don’t miss the spectacular sunset best viewed from the club’s glass-paneled cafe. A version of Mount Fuji and the Great Wall of China are also there in this garden of all golf courses.
Grand Shanghai International Golf & Country Club – Located in Kunshan at about mid-way to Wuxi from Shanghai along the Nanjing Highway, the Grand Shanghai International is a Par-72 7,066-yard Ronald Fream-designed course featuring typically lakes and ponds which constitute a good part of the natural landscape of this region of abundance. Not much has been heard of this very low key golf club which on last call requires from public visitors ‘an appointment for a practice at the driving range’! A client of GOLFnTours.com playing there anecdoted receiving a surprise lunch between nines but nontheless commented the fairways could do better with richer grass while the accompanying photo of the course seems to suggest otherwise.
Tianma Golf & Country Club – Situated in a region famed for centuries as the bread-basket of the country in central-south China, Tianma Golf is surrounded by flat and rich agricultural land of grain paddies as well as numerous ponds and lakes of various sizes dotting at random and teeming with abundant fresh water fish and prawns.
But Tianma is quite different from the other golf courses in the Shanghai region. Being part of the Sheshan National Tourism Park, it has what the others do not in the only mountain in the region, Sheshan (the Rocky Mountain) as its backdrop. Only about half an hour’s drive from the older Hong Qiao Airport of Shanghai, this 27-hole Peter Rogers-designed course is known for its natural beauty naturally propped up by the mountain in its backyard. It also boasts a ‘Californian-style elegance and fine living’.
Lake Malaren Golf Club – Easily accessible from Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport and otherwise a 45-minute drive from city center, Lake Malaren is part of the Crowne Plaza Lake Malaren Shanghai which is reputedly the only international-class hotel in the fast developing northern suburb of Baoshan. It is also quite unique in that the golf course was built on degraded land thus earning the status of a Certified Signature Sanctuary by Audubon International, the first in Asia, when the course was completed in 2006. The same year, it hosted the annual Straits Cup which pits top players from the mainland against the Taiwanese.
This Peter Thompson-designed course consists of two Par-72 18s namely the 7,248-yard Lake Course and 7,266-yard Forest Course. The main feature of the course is the water which is often found hugging along the fairways all the way to the green if not intersecting at critical points making suitable landings more difficult or around the greens. Generally the Forest Course is the more challenging of the two with narrower fairways and smaller greens than the other. The memorable hole is the Par-5 554-yard Hole#2 which tees off over water to be followed by an island green well guarded by sand bunkers making choice of landing very difficult. Other long holes follow somewhat similar pattern of design. The Par-4 434-yard Hole#9 has the tee-off landing area at the tip of a long breadloaf-shaped peninsula and the second shot will have to carry-over water to the well-bunkered green with water again on the right side. The Par-4 480-yard Hole#15 and the Par-5 592 Hole#16 are quite similar and require careful course management. The Signature Hole for the Lake Course has to be the Par-3 185-yard Hole#3 which has water at about 2/3 of the way and the green sits tight at the top edge of an almost island green, again well protected by bunkers on both sides of the approach.
Shanghai West Golf Club – The Shanghai West Golf Club sits just before the tall road-bridge famous for its sunset view over a huge waterway that is part of the famous ‘water county’ of Zhouzhuang, a village-town of antiquity made famous by the late artist Chen Yifei.
Covering an openness of nearly 250 acres of lush green one might be deceived by the fact that most of the fairways are generously broad and there are officially no out-of-bound areas, that the course is in fact an easy walk-about. Broadly that’s true, until one finds the water-ways that either line the fairways at the fringe and often demarcate one hole from another or simply traverse when without it the day would certainly have been much easier.
The most memorable has to be the Par-5 583-yard Hole#9, the longest on the course, reachable in two but only limited to big hitters. This is because the shorter route along the inner side of the curve is protected by two lakes. The other interesting hole is the shortest Par-4 on the course, the 366-yard dogleg-right Hole#7. Water traverses twice but it’s the second just immediately before the triangular-shaped green that poses the greater threat. The green curves like a shallow bowl with the tips of the triangle at the rim level. Not an island green, but with its peculiar contour, this hole which is normally easily reachable in two is by far the most challenging psychologically.
Otherwise, this Kana & Kan-designed Par-72 18-hole 7,001-yard course is as friendly as any seller of souvinirs of the touristy Zhouzhuang is to most. And if you feel jittery over falling off the fairways, brace for an interesting time here as there are eight holes with the fairways edged against the shore of Lake Bixian.