Set out across reclaimed land on Chongming Island in the estuary of the mighty Yangtze River, the two 18-hole Jack Nicklaus-designed layouts at Lanhai International Country Club (named Links and Forest) were first unveiled within twelve months of one another, starting in August of 2011.
Shortly after the Links course hosted its third edition of the Lanhai Open on the PGA Tour China professional circuit in 2016, new club owners decided to completely renovate the course and rebrand it as Yangtze Dunes.
Following a competitive tendering process, the design firm of Ogilvie, Clayton, Cocking and Mead was selected to work with The Forward Group, a local construction and club management firm, to rework the property.
Eight kilometers of cart paths were removed, eighteen new sets of tees installed and several holes re-routed as part of the process to reduce the walking distances between holes. Blow-out bunkers and sandy waste areas were also introduced to enhance the link credentials of the course.
Ashley Mead, one of the design partners, had this to say about the project:
“Many of the greens and tees (on the old course) felt perched on the high points and a little disconnected from the dunes. So we’ve created eighteen entirely new green sites that give golfers the chance to play their way through the dunes, not across the top.
We thought the original golf course, despite the presence of several compelling links motifs (including some fairway contouring that was done very well, something we largely kept in place), didn’t represent the local environment.
Many of the finer details that make any course unique felt imported or manufactured. This appraisal (included) small things like flags and signage. This site was crying out for a natural experience and we’re very pleased Yangtze Dunes so strongly accentuates this place and culture now.
We were only going to change a handful of greens, but once we started building the first one, (we) decided to rebuild all of them. It was a critical moment for the client and the project. The green complexes are so much the better for it.
We’ve worked hard to create more dynamic, more rugged feature elements at Lanhai. This contour complements our feelings about green design. They are not just the place where people putt – greens are part and parcel of these larger contours that comprise the surrounds.”