Located next to Shanghai Pudong International Airport, on the estuary where the mighty Yangtze River empties into the South China Sea, Dongzhuang Beach Golf Club presents its members with two contrasting 18-hole layouts.
The Parkland course features ponds, streams and tree-lined fairways while the Linksland course offers a links-like experience with firm and fast playing conditions, wooden sleepered pot bunkers and irregular landforms.
Wind is a major factor in how each hole plays from one game to the next so the architect has built in sufficient fairway width to allow approach play to the greens from a wide variety of angles.
The following edited extract by Mark Hollinger is from Volume Seven of Golf Architecture: A Worldwide Perspective. Reproduced with kind permission. To obtain a copy of the book, email Paul Daley at email@example.com.
“What was most troubling was the fact that the site was basically a huge hole in the ground. Natural features were few and far between. It was almost totally reclaimed land, and quite low in elevation with much of it being periodically flooded. Additionally, the property had the poorest soils I have ever seen before on a potential golf course site; and there was no existing vegetation to work.
From the outset, we made a very important design decision: to significantly elevate portions of the site, in order to capture the wonderful views towards the Yangtze River. This effectively opened up the land with interesting movement of contour, as well as allowing us to solve the engineering issues of draining off the water.
It became obvious that importing a significant quantity of workable soils and sand-plating materials was going to be critical to the project’s success. We immediately did the earthwork calculations and alerted the owner as to what was required; fortunately he was able to make arrangements with other development projects nearby to dispose of their unwanted extra soils on our site.
We made the decision to do two courses, side-by-side, which were complete opposites in style, playability and appearance. The first course would be parkland-style, featuring emerald green turf, white sand bunkers, massings of specimen trees, crystal blue lakes, flowing water features, as well as colourful vegetation. The second course would be designed with a completely different look.
We decided that the second course would have a links-style ‘Irish’ feel, of being wispy, rugged, windswept, utilising natural sands and a mixture of natural turf grasses and plant materials. At the time, links-style courses previously developed in other locations in China had not worked out. Moreover, they weren’t well received. Notwithstanding, we took on the challenge and gave this project an authentic design stamp.
The character of the course is rugged, owing to the
main hazards being wind, sand and tall grasses. The course is covered with tall
fescue grasses in the roughs, has paspalum fairways, and showcases fast, firm
bent grasses on the greens. The imposing and angular mounding and deep hollows,
shaped between the holes, were successfully planted with a combination of junipers,
cedars and cypress vegetation to provide the feeling of gorse and heather.”
Dongzhuang Beach Golf Club has 36 holes built on former tidal flats and marshes on the coastline near Pudong Airport. There's the Linksland and the scenic Parkland course, both designed by JMP group. This Linksland course is a classic Links style seaside course with artificially created dunes, long roughs to knee height and pot bunkers. The course is quite long at 7,500 yards. Some ponds come into play and many bunkers are strategically placed. When the sea winds are strong, the course becomes really tough.
The clubhouse is temporary. The course now starts with the strong 447-yard par 4 and finishes with an ordinary 219-yard par 3. Don’t be fooled by the routing. With the new clubhouse planned to be built several years from now, the current par 5 570-yard 17th will become the opening hole, and the current par 5 557-yard par 5 will become the great finishing hole. Thus, each hole will move by two holes to end up with much nicer flow of 18 holes.
The 447-yard par 4 is a demanding slight dogleg to the left. The fairway off the tee is narrow with a pond on the left and a fairway bunker on the right. The approach shot is gently uphill. The green is deep and double-tiered and is guarded by a deep bunker on its back right. The par 5 557-yard 16th is dogleg to the left. The fairway is relatively tight with a pond and a narrow bunker on the left and deep rough on both tee and second shots. The green is highly elevated with a deep bunker on the front left and the pond to the left of the green. When you hit the green in two, you should aim toward the right edge of the green to avoid the hazard.