Golf­ing Around Guangzhou

We take a swing at the sculpted fair­ways and con­toured greens of China’s City on the Pearl

Business Traveler (USA) - - INSIDE - By Peter Swain

DRAGON LAKE WHERE IS IT?

31 miles north of the cen­ter of Guangzhou – about a 45-minute drive – and only 20 min­utes from Baiyun In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

WHAT’S IT LIKE? The 27 holes of the new King course at this hilly re­sort are stun­ning – some­thing like a moun­tain­ous wil­low pat­tern on steroids. The tor­tu­ous cart path that winds up through the ex­trav­a­gantly sculpted scenery – 721 feet from lake­side bot­tom to moun­tain top – would chal­lenge Tour de France rid­ers. With tow­er­ing, el­e­vated tee shots, long forced car­ries over rocky chasms, doglegs around banyan trees, and fast con­toured greens, the three loops of nine – de­signed by IMG’s Steve Shep­herd­son – are de­mand­ing even for low hand­i­cap­pers. The gra­di­ents are so steep that an­gled lies are the norm, and carts and cad­dies are com­pul­sory.

This is a true cham­pi­onship set-up that will prob­a­bly hold in­ter­na­tional events in the fu­ture. There are an­other 27 holes, flat­ter and also in im­mac­u­late shape, on the Asian Games course lower down the moun­tain, but un­less you’re stay­ing in the re­sort’s Princess ho­tel on a golf pack­age, they are re­served for mem­bers only.

CON­TACT Huadong Town, Huada District; tel +86 203 690 8000; drag­onlakegolf.com.cn

PRICE King course: week­days 880 yuan ($143), week­ends 1,580 yuan ($257), in­cludes cad­die and cart. Asian Games course can only be played as part of an overnight pack­age.

CLUB RENTAL 450 yuan ($73), var­i­ous makes.

CLUB HOURS 6:30 AM – 6:30 PM, last tee time 3:30 PM.

MIN­I­MUM HAND­I­CAP None, al­though play­ers who play off more than 18 may strug­gle on the King course.

FA­CIL­I­TIES King has three loops of nine holes: 3,606 yds, 3,397 yds and 3655 yds, each par-36. The nine“B”holes are

flood­lit. Asian Games also has three loops of nine: 3,554 yds, 3,562 yds and 3,700 yds, all par-36. Driv­ing range, prac­tice greens.

AF­TER THE GOLF The mod­est club­house café is open 6:30 AM – 7:30 PM. The Dragon Lake Princess ho­tel just down the road has five restaurants serv­ing Euro­pean, Can­tonese and Asian fare. Ho­tel pack­ages start at 2,800 yuan ($455) for one night/one round of golf.

LO­TUS HILL GOLF CLUB WHERE IS IT?

27 miles south­east of the city.

WHAT’S IT LIKE? Me­an­der­ing through gen­tle park­land, around lakes and dra­matic rocky out­crops left over from its days as a quarry, this Bernard Langer-de­signed course opened in 1994. It can eas­ily be walked, and the 1,000 mem­bers en­sure the set-up is in pris­tine con­di­tion, with all 18 greens re­cently re-laid. The land­scap­ing, palm trees and lakes make an at­trac­tive back­drop for what is a se­ri­ous golf course only a half-hour drive from down­town. The sig­na­ture par-three 17th over wa­ter is a peach, while the risk-re­ward tee shot on the 18th, re­quir­ing a 200-yard carry across a lake, com­mands its due re­spect.

CON­TACT 18 Lifeng Road, Shilou Town, Panyu District; tel +86 208 486 6666.

PRICE Week­days 770 yuan ($125), week­ends 1,320 yuan ($215). Cart and cad­die 200 yuan ($33).

CLUB RENTAL 150 yuan

($25), Wil­son.

CLUB HOURS Open 6:00 AM – 7:30 PM, last five holes flood­lit. MIN­I­MUM HAND­I­CAP None. FA­CIL­I­TIES The 18-hole, par-72 course mea­sures 6,820

yards. 25-bay driv­ing range, prac­tice short game area.

AF­TER THE GOLF The restau­rant (6:00 AM – 9:00 PM) serves Western, Thai and Can­tonese food. A spa, in­door and out­door pools, ten­nis courts and snooker room com­plete the coun­try club pic­ture.

NAN­SHA GOLF CLUB WHERE IS IT?

37 miles south­east of city cen­ter.

WHAT’S IT LIKE? Opened in 1997, the two pleas­antly ru­ral 18-hole re­sort cour­ses over­look­ing the Pearl River were de­signed by John Ja­cobs. An hour’s drive from the city, and 75 min­utes by ferry to Hong Kong, Nan­sha is a friendly pub­lic set-up with nine flood­lit holes, ideal for af­ter­noon or evening play. The walk­a­ble Val­ley course is wide open with plenty of wa­ter, while the wooded, hil­lier Moun­tain is more chal­leng­ing. Large, flat greens in­vite at­tack, mak­ing Nan­sha ac­ces­si­ble for mid and high hand­i­cap­pers.

CON­TACT 65 Xi­awan West Street, Nan­sha District; tel +86 208 468 1888; ns­golf­club.cn

PRICE Week­days 520 yuan ($85), week­ends 910 yuan ($148), in­cludes cad­die. Cart 220 yuan ($36). The 76-room ho­tel pro­vides pack­ages start­ing at 1,060 yuan ($173) for one night and one round.

CLUB RENTAL 160 yuan

($26), Polo.

CLUB HOURS Week­days from 6:30 AM, week­ends 6:00 AM, last tee time 4:45 PM. Moun­tain flood­lit nine playable un­til 9:00 PM.

MIN­I­MUM HAND­I­CAP None. FA­CIL­I­TIES Two 18-hole par-72 cour­ses: the 6,668-yd Moun­tain and 6,629-yd Val­ley. Driv­ing range, short game area, putting green.

AF­TER THE GOLF The buf­fet restau­rant (6:30 AM – 9:00 PM) serves Can­tonese and Western cui­sine.

LUHU GOLF CLUB WHERE IS IT?

3 miles north­east of city cen­ter.

WHAT’S IT LIKE? As the only down­town course, and hav­ing the ben­e­fit of a flood­lit back nine, Luhu is pop­u­lar with Euro­pean busi­ness­men. The Dave Thomas-de­signed track, built on the side of White Cloud Moun­tain, has ex­cit­ing el­e­va­tion changes, wa­ter haz­ards and ag­gres­sive bunker­ing. The city’s sur­round­ing high rises are a re­minder of mod­ern China, but this is a ma­ture course, now

quite heav­ily wooded, with nar­row fair­ways and tricky doglegs. It lacks bite for good play­ers but is de­mand­ing for mid-hand­i­cap­pers.

CON­TACT Lu­jing Road; tel +86 208 350 7777;

luhugolf.com/luhugolf

PRICE Week­days 840 yuan ($137), week­ends 1,290 yuan ($210), in­cludes cad­die and cart. Night golf 920 yuan ($150).

CLUB RENTAL 150 yuan

($25), Polo.

CLUB HOURS 6:30 AM – 9:00 PM, us­ing flood­lit back nine for evening play.

MIN­I­MUM HAND­I­CAP None. FA­CIL­I­TIES An 18-hole, 6,831-yd, par-72 course. The 75-bay driv­ing range is half a mile down the road.

AF­TER THE GOLF The eclec­tic restau­rant menu has some­thing for ev­ery­one and a good French wine list. There’s also a pool, spa, gym and ten­nis courts. BT

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