'Winter to blame' for course's poor condition

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 April, 2006, 12:00am

The owner of the course that hosted this year's China Open has pressed the European Golf Tour to give the event a different time slot in future, following criticism from the players that the Nick Faldo designed course was substandard.

'Everyone knows that courses in Beijing are not good at this time of year. The winter is very harsh here and it takes the grass some time to grow back.

'We told the European Tour that several times. We wrote to them and asked them to give us another slot, but they would not change the dates,' said Li Hao, who runs the Beijing Honghua International Golf Club, which hosted the 12th Open this week.

Several players complained that the fairways and greens were not in good condition, including world number 13 Henrik Stenson, who criticised the lack of grass. 'The Honghua International course is definitely not up to European standards,' he said.

Scott Kelly, the European Tour's marketing director, said that they were not able to find another window for the Beijing event.

'Scheduling is always difficult. It is a big pressure as a lot of people want to host events at the same time,' he said.

The tournament returns to Beijing in 2008 to Li's other course, the CBD International Golf Club.

'We really hope the European Tour will allow us to hold that competition a little later in the year. Even a few weeks makes a huge difference,' Li said.

Kelly said the tour would consider changing the time. 'It's too early to say. But it's an issue we will take into consideration,' he said.