Discovery Bay is set on the northeast coast of Lantau Island, the largest of Hong Kong’s outlying islands. Surrounded by the South China Sea, the Discovery Bay residential resort is unique and it’s the only residential development in Hong Kong that can boast its own 27-hole golf course. With four clubs to choose from, including a residents club, marina club, leisure club and of course a golf club, Discovery Bay offers a wide range of recreational facilities.
The original 18-hole course at Discovery Bay Golf Club was routed across the mountainous site by Robert Trent Jones Jnr in 1983 and an additional 9 holes (now called Jade) were added nine years later. Discovery Bay is currently open to non-members on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. Each of the three 9-hole loops – Ruby, Diamond and Jade – represent an interesting and varied challenge although the Jade course is slightly shorter than the other two with par set at 35. However, the Jade is by no means the easier of the three layouts as it features a number of challenging doglegs where position off the tee is all-important.
The Diamond (now the back nine) is the toughest loop with dramatic elevation changes and slick, undulating greens. The Ruby is the more forgiving course from the tee but it perhaps offers the most dramatic views of Victoria Harbor, Sunset Peak and the South China Sea from its elevated fairways.
One of the 9-hole loops closes for play during weekdays, so as a visitor you will have to take pot luck as to which 18-hole combination is open that week.
There are three distinct 9 holes, Diamond, Ruby & Jade. Diamond & Ruby is a tournament course designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. in his early stage and the Diamond Course is the most distinguished among them. Jade is a little tricky designed by a local pro but still fun to play. My three favorite holes on the Diamond & Ruby course are as follows:
The Par 3 159-yard 2nd is short, dropping 15 yards from tee to green. The distance is very short and looks deceptively easy. But the right club selection from PW to middle irons is very important on this hole because the wind shifts frequently. If the flag position is on the left of this wide green, this hole becomes very difficult, as there is only 20 yards from a deep bunker in front of the green to the OB line at the back of the green. The Par 4 419-yard 3rd is a challenging hole, uphill for the first shot and slightly downhill for the second. On the approach, you need a middle iron to aim at the double tier green which is 20 yards deep by 50 yards wide. It also has a big slope from right to left. If the flag position is on the left, a pond in front of the green intimidates you and if it is on the right, where green becomes elevated, you need to hit a high ball and stop it: otherwise, you can’t stop the ball on the green, When the professional tournament is held on this hole, the length becomes more than 460 yards, which is perhaps the most difficult par 4 in Hong Kong.
The Par 5 536-yard 18th is slightly dogleg to the left, a great par 5. A cliff on the right side runs from the tee to the green. When you hit the tee shot, you need to be careful of OB to your left, too. It is a slightly uphill for the second shot. When you decide to lay up, two large fairway bunkers on the left come into play. This finishing hole not only has style but also the views are excellent. Within Jade 9 holes, my favorite is the Par 5 545-yard 1st, perhaps the most difficult par 5 in Hong Kong, which is a double dogleg and a demanding hole with initially a sharp dogleg to the left followed by another gentle one to the right. The green, protected by a large bunker in front, is wide and slopes severely from right to left. You need to hit 3 good shots to get a birdie on this great par 5, or you end up easily with a bogey or double-bogey. To read more about Discovery Bay Golf Club, click here to visit my website.