High driving on the range

Adam Main

Chongqing's mountainous landscape is giving golf course designers a challenge as more clubs open

Chongqing is experiencing a golf boom, with five courses opening over the past four years and more on the way. A large population, vibrant economy and mountainous terrain in Chongqing are encouraging golf course designers to create some exciting layouts that make the most of the challenging landscape.

Chongqing Poly International Golf Club is one of the newest and most adventurous in design. The Poly group has invested more than 500 million yuan to create a 36-hole layout in its Tercel North Mountain Course and the Phoenix South Forest Course.

The par-71 Tercel layout opened last June with the participation of Schmidt-Curley, the American design team behind the bulk of the signature designs at Shenzhen's Mission Hills Club. The par-three, 215-yard seventh hole is a stunner with its giant waterfall backdrop, while nine holes are also lit for night play. The Phoenix course is now under construction.

The Chongqing Byford Riverview Golf Club was the first course to open in the city in 2001. It has 27 holes, including nine lit for night play. The up-down layout is in a lush sub-tropical setting sloping towards the Jialing River.

The Wood Bay-designed Chongqing International Golf Club is another mountainous experience, as the 27-hole course (including nine holes lit for night play) at Longzhou Bay is bordered by Honglu Hill, Lion Hill, the Flower Brook River and the Jiangxi-Guangzhou Highway. Transferable lifetime membership is US$12,000, considerably cheaper than most golf clubs in China.


Golden Phoenix Golf Resort, about 45 minutes from the city, opened in November.

Surrounded by mountains, the 18-hole layout by PDSI Architects has been shaped to reflect the undulations of the landscape with radical shaping that borders on severe at times.

Elevation swings are as high as 30 metres and some of the tee boxes have been shaped right into the hills, adding to the natural surroundings.

Another course is the 36-hole, Australian-designed Sun Kingdom Hot Spring Golf Club - known for its difficult bunkers. The Nicklaus name has also come to Chongqing as Steve Nicklaus, son of the legendary Golden Bear, is designing the Kingrun Nanshan Golf Club due to open this year.