Cheaper by the dozen

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 June, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 June, 2004, 12:00am

Hainan has some world-class golfing facilities scattered around the island, and all are within easy reach

Golf is an affordable pleasure on Hainan, drawing devotees from around the region. Some visitors from South Korea who we encountered said it was cheaper for them to fly to Hainan for the weekend than to play at home.

At present, there are 12 courses, many designed by renowned professionals. Two more are nearing completion, one near the strip of five clubs along the west coast of Haikou, and another immense 200 hectare project just inland from Yalong Bay in Sanya.

Prices are cheap by international standards. At most courses, a casual player can book a game for about RMB 450, with caddy services included in the green fees. If you play as part of a hotel-airline package offered by travel agents in Hong Kong, the golf fees drop to about RMB 350 in off-peak season.

The island is swiftly finding a niche on the Asian golfing map. The price helps, but so does the reliable climate. Although tropical, it?s seldom too hot to play a round.

Experts rank the top three courses as Yalong Bay Golf Club, Boao Golf and Country Club and Kangle Garden International Golf Club.