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CHIN A


Sheshan Golf Club


reported double-digit membership), but if you do manage to get on, that exclusivity means you rarely see other golfers all day.


The record-breaking resort The naturally breathtaking and hotest- ticket-in-town get rolled into one when it comes to Mission Hills, without doubt the daddy of all golfing utopias in China. It has exclusivity and accessibility all at the


same time, but with an incredible 22 courses across three sites, that’s hardly surprising. What started out as a solitary course with a clubhouse in 1992, expanded quickly aſter winning the rights to host the World Cup of golf. A clubhouse was joined by a five-star hotel, two courses became four, then five (by 2001); one site became three and suddenly China had the world’s biggest golf resort. All three resorts lie in the south. Shenzhen


(10 courses) and Dongguan (five) are prety much adjoined, whereas the world-record holder Haikou is on the tropical island of Hainan with its dozen courses over nearly eight square miles. The 350-acre Blackstone — given its name by the volcanic rock on which its built — is the signature course, and rightly so, having given World Cup contenders in 2011 plenty of testing times


with its tricky route carved out of the most rugged landscape and thick vegetation, not to mention wetlands and lakelands. You could write an endless tome on


platitudes for the golf of Mission Hills, but for some its key atraction exists off the course. Not content with just offering up your predictable five-star hotel and spa offering, or even restaurants serving up every cuisine both local and European, Mission Hills has some very notable extras. It could be the vast area of volcanic mineral springs that grabs your atention, or maybe even the water theme park with its slides, water guns, beach soccer and volleyball courts. Perhaps even more tempting could be the


new Centreville resort, a vast entertainment, retail and leisure complex including one of the world’s largest duty-free shopping malls, a cinema, restaurants and hotels including a Ritz-Carlton and Hard Rock Hotel. But most extravagant of all has to be


Movie Town, a collaboration between Mission Hills, a film studio and famed Chinese movie director Feng Xiaogang. Together they built a whole town based on famous scenes from Xiaogang’s flicks. You’ll find ‘districts’ such as 1942 Street, based on the film Back to 1942, which is basically an


area full of buildings from the Republican era across four cities Chongqing, Wuhan, Nanjing and Shanghai. Other areas take you to the 19th century;


1950s Beijing; an area of European churches and town squares; an Avenue of Stars featuring international celebrities; and of course an actual movie studio, so you can see how the real thing is made. Movie Town might seem at odds with your


traditional golf resort, but so too is Mission Hills. Unlike any other golfing destination on the planet, it’s made every effort to be world-beating both on the course and off it. It doesn’t shy away from giving the kids exactly what they want and isn’t afraid to break with every golf resort convention in order to do so. Even with a whole town based on a town in


a film, which is based on a town in real life, Mission Hills makes total sense. It’s perhaps the only golf resort in the world where the sideshows batle the golf for headline status. Either way, the only winner is the golfer. And, given some of the holes on Blackstone, perhaps the only loser is your handicap. One thing is for sure, if the ambition of


Mission Hills is anything to go by, China’s famed golfing potential will be realised sooner than anyone might have expected.


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