Chung Shan Hot Spring Golf Club, the first course to be built in modern China, is rated one of the best in the region by many players. Just 90 minutes by ferry and taxi from Hong Kong, it is an ideal spot for a short midweek holiday break. Designed by American golfing great Arnold Palmer, Chung Shan opened for play in 1984 and immediately became a welcome oasis for a growing band of frustrated golfers and would-be players in Hong Kong who could not join local clubs either because there were no vacancies or because memberships were too expensive. Although relatively short at just under 6,000 yards (par 71) the course still offers an enjoyable challenge to the low handicapper and happy hacker alike. Chung Shan's first hole, a seemingly straightforward 383-yard par four, provides a stiff test and is seldom easy to cover in regulation. Beware of the 271-yard par-four fifth. Second shots to the sloping green must stay below the pin otherwise a player can easily double his score by having to chip back on after seeing his first putt go haring downhill past the cup. The dog-leg left, par-five sixth hole (482 yards) offers a sporting chance of making birdie. After driving from an elevated tee, players should be able to place a 3-wood or long iron to within easy pitching distance of the green. The run-in on the back nine is slightly easier and the signature hole is the par-five 14th (403 yards). With a fence defining out of bounds on the right and a deep gully on the left, players must hit an accurate drive or pay the penalty. All but the longest hitters are then faced with a 'blind' second shot. The fairway narrows into a bottleneck and players can either gamble with a full-blood ed shot to the unseen green or play safe with a mid-iron. In November 1993, Chung Shan opened a second course designed by another US golfing legend, Jack Nicklaus. The layout, at 7,035 yards (par 72), provides a much tougher test of skill and stamina than the gentler Palmer track. Newcomers to Chung Shan would well-advised to hire A-grade caddies. Even if they do not play the game themselves, their club selection is usually spot on and players should never three putt if they follow the caddy's advice about the line and pace of the green. The club also has excellent tennis and swimming facilities which non-golfing guests can enjoy. Bookings can be made at Chung Shan's Hong Kong office (tel: 2521 0377). A new ferry timetable for sailings between Hong Kong and Zhuhai allows golfers more time to play. Later boats now return to Hong Kong at 7.30 pm and 9.30 pm.