On the greens

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 July, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 July, 2006, 12:00am

Birdies, eagles ... and ducks

Pine Valley Sports & Country Club is located about an hour's drive from the Zhuhai pier in a mountainous setting near Wushan town. It features both a gun club and a bird farm with thousands of ducks, turkeys, pheasants and other wild fowl roaming around the course. With some dramatic elevation changes and some good use of water, this championship course is one of the hidden gems of Guangdong province. Until the end of August, the Pine Valley Sports & Country Club is offering a weekday Stay and Play package (twin sharing) for 600 yuan a person that includes unlimited golf. A mandatory caddie and electric cart split between two people will cost another 360 yuan. Transport to the course will cost extra. A weekend package with caddie, cart and transport costs 880 yuan. To enjoy this package, a minimum of four golfers is required. A similar deal that includes accommodation costs 1,050 yuan, while two rounds and a night's stay at the on-course hotel is 1,830 yuan. (Tel: 28278307)

Dramatic edge to the design

With 13 courses on the island, Hainan has quickly become a golfer's paradise for its variety of excellent layouts. The West Coast Golf Club, located outside the northern city of Haikou, was the first mainland course created by the Dye Design Group, a company headed by the daughter of famed US designer Pete Dye. The two-year-old hillside layout features dramatic views of the harbour, sea and city skyline in the distance, and has been designed with the goal of becoming one of the top 100 courses in the world. The spectacular par-five 17th is the standout hole with its views of the harbour and the city beyond, making for a memorable finish. The Meritus Mandarin Hotel in Haikou is offering a stay-and-play package that includes a night's accommodation (twin sharing), an American breakfast buffet and a round of golf with caddie for 1,350 yuan for two. For single players, the price is 890 yuan. (Tel: +86 898 68521318)

Golf getaways for Thai-fliers

Thai Airways provides a number of golfing destinations in its Royal Orchid Holidays programme. The Bangkok Golf Holiday, from $3,081, includes two rounds at Bangkok Golf & Spa Resort, plus options for more rounds at the Rose Garden Golf Course. Playing two rounds at Pattaya's Laem Chabang International Country Club with one night's accommodation is priced from $3,443. The two-night Hua Hin package provides for two rounds at the Palm Hills Golf Resort and Springfield Royal Country Club, from $3,588. If heading to the River Kwai, take advantage of the two-night Kanchanaburi golf package and play two rounds at the Mission Hills Kanchanaburi Golf Club or Nichigo Resort and Country Club, from $2,968. The two-night package to Chiang Mai includes two rounds at Chiang Mai Green Valley and Chiang Mai Lamphun Golf Club, from $3,696. The Phuket deal includes two rounds at Phuket Country Club and Loch Palm Golf Club with two nights' accommodation, starting from $4,109. All package prices include air fare, accommodation and transfer to the golf courses. (www.roh.com.hk/rohpackage.html)

Tee up for an Andaman adventure

Khao Lak's boutique resort The Sarojin Thailand has teed up a few rounds for keen golfers at three courses - Tap La Mu (right), the relatively new, 18-hole links golf course on the Andaman Coast located 10 minutes from the resort; Thai Muang, a 7,019-yard course sitting on 2.5km of secluded beach about 30 minutes from the resort, and the well-known Blue Canyon Golf and Country Club about 50 minutes away. Before October, a two-night stay in one of its 56 guest residences, with two rounds on any two courses, costs $3,800 per person. Alternatively, stay four nights and play three rounds for $5,600. Each residence has a private garden, outdoor sala (sundeck), plunge pools and spa pools blended into the natural habitat. Sea lovers can also take the resort's 38-ft boat, Lady Sarojin, to explore the Similan or Surin islands marine national parks. (reservations@sarojin.com)

Big Apple courses given a polish

Seven of New York City's golf courses have recently undergone a two-year, $45 million renovation to add new landscaping, modern clubhouses, restaurant facilities and reservation technology enhancements. In the Bronx, the Split Rock Golf Course (above left) has been upgraded to a 'tournament-quality' course, with new tees and fairways and two new water features. The LaTourette Golf Course (below left) on Staten Island has a new 10,000-square-foot event facility supported by a gourmet catering team. A new links-style course to be designed by Jack Nicklaus is being planned at Ferry Point Park in the southeast Bronx and is set to open in 2008.

Club on a mission to train budding superstars

Mission Hills Golf Club in Shenzhen makes training young golfers one of its aims. The club organises golf camps during the school holidays to help youngsters learn to play.

Ken Chu, Mission Hills Group's vice-chairman, says that the camps incorporate a range of sports and cultural activities in a Putonghua-speaking environment, which also helps Hong Kong youngsters to learn the language. A daily one-hour golf lesson is scheduled during the week-long camp. Prices start from $1,880 for members and $2,180 for non-members. The David Leadbetter Golf Academy in the development runs a more intensive five-day golf camp for players of various levels. Prices, inclusive of meals and accommodation, start from $3,400 for members and $3,600 for non-members at the beginners' level. (www.missionhillsgroup.com)

Nestled between the jungle and sea

Two golf courses and accommodation fit for royalty await in Brunei. The Empire Hotel & Country Club course (below) has the front nine overlooking the ocean and the back nine reaching to the South China Sea. Sprawling bunkers provide the challenge at the signature 15th hole running along the beach. The Royal Brunei Golf & COUNTRY Club in Jerudong Park is a 6,172-metre, 18-hole course designed by Ronald Fream. Jungle skirts the tight fairways and deep ravines; bunkers and over-water shots present challenges at the various signature holes. Before the end of the year, a golfer can take on an 'all-you-can-play' round at Empire and a round at Royal Brunei, plus two nights' shared accommodation at the Empire Hotel, for $4,000 per person. (sales@theempirehotel.com)

Shadow of the mountain

The mountainous terrain around Fuzhou makes for an excellent golf setting and the Shangri-La Hotel has a package deal until the end of the year that offers a choice of two courses in the capital city of Fujian province. For 1,280 yuan, the package includes a night's stay in a deluxe room, an international buffet breakfast, limousine to and from the club, and a green fee and caddie at either the Amai (above right) or Dengyun (below right) golf clubs. The 27-hole Amai club was designed by Malaysian-based Australian Ted Parslow and makes good use of trees and water. It is located about 35 minutes from the city. Only 15 minutes away is the Dengyun club, also known as the Summit Golf & Country Club. Managed by Japanese sports giant Mizuno, the 18-hole course is wide open but its subtle undulating fairways provide a challenge. (Tel: +86 591 8798828)

Tropical paradise packages beckon

Yalong Bay Golf Club in tropical Hainan is a Robert Trent Jones-designed, tournament quality, 18-hole course landscaped with waterfalls, coconut palms and smooth greens. Sanya Marriott Resort & Spa is offering a three to four-night package for two, inclusive of one round of golf on the golf course, starting from 5,019 yuan. Keen golfers can opt for the four to seven-night alternatives, which include golf rounds on Sun Valley and Ocean Bay, starting from 9,964 yuan. (reservation@syxmc.com)

Links to the past

Tiger Beach Golf Links has only been open five years but is rapidly establishing a legacy. The 18-hole, links-style course, located 90 minutes north of Qingdao, hosted the Shandong leg of the China Tour in June and is also a sister course to Carnoustie, one of the oldest clubs in the world and host venue of next year's British Open. It is easy to see why visitors from the Scottish club found the layout of the Shandong club so familiar - Tiger Beach has been built to resemble the famed links courses in the British Isles. Deep pot bunkers, knee-high rough and an ever-present wind blowing off the Yellow Sea are characteristics of this excellent, isolated track, making a nice change from the ubiquitous parkland layouts found throughout Asia. The club is offering a weekday package for 880 yuan that includes a night's on-course accommodation and a round of golf. On weekends, the price is 1,160 yuan. (simon@tigerbeachgolf.com)

Coloane Island sets a challenge

For a quick golf getaway, the Westin Resort Macau, sitting on the edge of the Macau Golf & Country Club, is hard to beat. The dramatic layout of the course, carved out of Coloane Island, features huge elevation changes, small, tight greens and sweeping vistas of the South China Sea. It has challenged top pros such as Nick Price, Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie and John Daly who have competed at the annual Macau Open. Facilities at the resort include a luxury spa complete with whirlpool, sauna and steam room, a swimming pool and top-class restaurants in a secluded spot away from the action downtown. The Westin Resort Macau is offering one night's accommodation in a superior garden view room and a round of golf for two for $2,200. For one, the price is $1,650. (Tel: 28032002)