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Shenzhen is located in the south of Guangdong province straddling the Mainland China’s border with Hong Kong. Despite being China’s most affluent city, Shenzhen is often overlooked by travellers. This border boomtown is, not surprisingly, usually regarded only as a symbol of China’s economic reform. Due to government policies and its geographical location, Shenzhen went from being a small fishing village to a bustling metropolis of 10 million people in the space of twenty years. Nonetheless, Shenzhen has more to offer the traveller than just an example of the dizzying speed of progress that China has been making since the 1980s. It is a diverse city peopled by immigrants from all over the country with great restaurants, bars, clubs, shops, scenic areas and, if you dig deep enough, even historical and cultural attractions. Shenzhen is still growing and still developing an identity. Its nascent character makes it difficult to define. Now, with Synotrip as your guide, staying in Shenzhen for a few days and discovering what lies beneath the surface of this unique city will be easier and more rewarding.

Mission Hills

Stretching across Shenzhen and Dongguan, Mission Hills is the Worlds No.1 golf club. Designed by 12 world-renowned golf legends, its an international golf community that combines golfing with relaxation, business and lifestyle.

Mission Hills is to Hong Kong what Palm Springs is to Los Angeles. Located in Shenzhen less than an hour drive north of the city, the $625 million dollar (to date) resort has been carved from nearly 4,000 acres of what used to be largely untouched mountains, dense jungle and marshland. Now it is home to the world’s largest proshop, a 300,000 square foot clubhouse, Asias biggest tennis complex (51 courts), seven restaurants, six driving ranges, 2,500 female caddies, four spas, and a 315 room five-star hotel.

And golf. Twelve courses worth by the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Pete Dye, José Maria Olazábal, Ernie Els, Nick Faldo, local professional Zhang Lianwei, David Leadbetter, Greg Norman, Jumbo Ozaki, Vijay Singh, Annika Sorenstam and David Duval. In 2004, the resort earned the Guinness World Record as the world’s largest golf resort when it’s ten courses at the time surpassed Pinehurst’s mere eight.

Given their common cloth its natural to presume you’d find similarities among the layouts and you will: dwarf Bermuda putting surfaces and several shared bunkering styles. Beyond that the forces at play by both the designers who were intent to make their own statement, and Mr. Chu, who possesses bottomless open pockets, came together to produce impressive variations on the theme of highly entertaining golf. Nicklaus went first opening his World Cup Course in late 1994. It was a clever choice because in short order it became the first Chinese course ever accredited by the PGA TOUR. Then in November 1995, it hosted the 41st World Cup won by Couples and Love III which was seen by all on the first uncensored live television event ever in Chinese history. In one year Mission Hills made the map.

Courses by Ozaki, Faldo, Singh, Els followed when in the summer of 2000 Chairman Chu had his epiphany: ten courses would beat eight for the world record. And he wanted them now. Arizona design firm Schmidt-Curley masterminded the project and made it happen in an astonishing sixteen months ground break to grand opening. The Olazábal, Leadbetter, Annika, Duval and Norman courses were constructed simultaneously requiring 2,000 workers running a thousand pieces of heavy equipment 7 days a week in two 10 hour shifts. Mission accomplished but as all frontrunners know, leading by two is good but four is better. So, with record in hand Mission Hills promptly announced plans for two more courses, by Pete Dye and Zhang Lianwei, which opened earlier this year.

Smart money says there’s more to come. Ample land remains unclaimed along with some big names: Doak, Woods, Kidd. Meanwhile there’s a lot to love about remarkable Mission Hills just like it is.

Course Descriptions

World Cup Course by Jack Nicklaus
Opened in 1995
Having hosted several prominent events including the World Cup of Golf, Dynasty Cup and the Mission Hills Tiger Woods Challenge, this course has played a significant role in the development of golf in China and is consistently ranked among the top 10 courses in the country.

Vijay Course by Vijay Singh
Opened in 1997
Set on the valley floor, this course incorporates a stunning and distinctive use of long sandy waste bunkers and sharp edged faces similar to the famous T.P.C. course at Sawgrass, site of the PGA Tour’s Players Championship.

Ozaki Course by Jumbo Ozaki
Opened in 1998
Ozaki has created one of the most scenic courses in the world at Mission Hills where many of the holes are played through dramatic canyons of the thick forest. The course’s sweeping sculptured bunkering and water features evoke a Zen-like, calming atmosphere.

Faldo Course by Nick Faldo
Opened in 1999
As the first stadium course in China, this layout incorporates a challenging test within large amphitheatre-like surrounds of forested hillsides and features one of the world’s most spectacular island greens on the signature 16th hole.

Els Course by Ernie Els
Opened in 2001
With diverse terrains featuring dramatic elevation, this course offers bold tests within a tranquil setting of landscaping and water features, providing a golfing experience worthy of the designer’s “big easy” nickname. Part of the course meanders through a pristine river basin, while the rest of the course is situated in the foothills.

Annika Course by Annika Sorenstam
Opened in 2003
With its unique incorporation of six par threes, six par fours, and six par fives, this beautiful layout is the shortest of the 10 courses but demands the most accurate shot-making. This course layout provides stunning vistas.

Duval Course by David Duval
Opened in 2003
Traditional in its presentation and design, this course incorporates large expanses of turf and trees like the courses of years past and is a mild departure from the other courses at Mission Hills, providing a unique challenge to any golfer.

Leadbetter Course by David Leadbetter
Opened in 2003
The Leadbetter course is designed with the intention of challenging the golfer to use every club in their golf bag. Combining beautifully sculptured bunkers, streams, waterfalls, and large areas of turf, this is a friendlier course, which is a welcome addition to the complex and provides an excellent playing experience.

Olazabal Course by José Maria Olazabal
Opened in 2003
Incorporating 155 bunkers, this course challenges players with both length and shot-making, all the while meandering through a peaceful setting of natural slopes, setting up a stunning finish of treacherous and beautiful holes along two large lakes. The Olazabal Course is the longest among the 10 Mission Hills courses at 7,400 yards.

Norman Course by Greg Norman
Opened in 2004
Perhaps the most difficult course in all of Asia, this layout features dramatic and abundant deep bunkering surrounded by thick forest. Play here demands both length and accuracy from start to finish.

Pete Dye Course by Pete Dye
Opened 2007
Many of the design philosophies and images associated with Petes past work are incorporated into the course design. Thousands of railroad ties, large sandy waste bunkers, small, devilish pot-bunkers, wild undulating greens, deep/steep bunkering provide unique challenges to golfers.

Zhang Lianwei Course by Zhang Lianwei
Opened 2007
Golf is a relatively new experience in China and most courses have a modern touch. This course is a bit of a history lesson in that some of the influential design concepts of old are incorporated. This course is the first 18-hole Par 3 golf course in China.

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