The Blackstone Course at Mission Hills Hainan is a championship layout designed on the spectacular black lava strata on Hainan Island. The distance is long, over 7,800 yards, the landing areas are tight, and the natural and ancient lava rocks, bunkers, and ponds are all strategically placed. This makes for a deadly and tough course combination.
It is clear that the architect took full advantage of the lava rocks and incorporated them into a prominent part of the design. The lava bed is used in forced carries creating dramatic contrast and the lava rock walls and village ruins created years ago remain as a testament to the site’s past.
The Blackstone course begins in a more heavily wooded portion of ground with a wide variety of hole lengths and green settings. The large and undulating greens are incredibly tricky to read. Amongst the 10 courses on Hainan Island Mission Hills and the 12 courses in Shenzhen Mission Hills, this is the signature course among them. If played from the 6,722-yard Blue Tee, players can expect anywhere from an additional 4 to 10 strokes increase in comparison to the other Mission Hills courses of similar distances. The Blackstone course held the 2011 World Cup and the 2015 World Ladies Championship, a part of European LPGA.
The par 3 172-yard 5th demands a carry over the lava rocks onto the two-tiered green surrounded by lava. The two-tiered green has a strong incline and it is difficult to putt from the other tier. When players lose a ball by hitting short, they will at least have a chance to see it clearly, white against black. The par 5 599-yard 6th is a signature hole with a double dogleg turning to the left before bending to the right. The landing area off the tee is narrow as it is sandwiched between a long bunker on the left and the OB line on the right. On the second shot, players should take note of a series of bunkers located on the right side. The green is strongly elevated, slopes sharply from back to front, and is protected by bunkers on both sides. Furthermore, it is a two-tiered green, left and right.
The par 4 453-yard 17th is an almost straight yet difficult hole with a pond coming into play on the left side for both the tee and the second shots. Bunkers guard the left and right sides of the green where a ridge crosses though the middle of the green. The par 5 539-yard 18th is a superb finishing hole with a dogleg to the right. Fairway bunkers on the left and the lava on the right comes into play off the tee. A carry of 190 yards is required in order to hit over the wetland and lava. The second shot is over the pond onto the fairway tilting from left to right, and gravitating towards the bunker and pond. The same pond also guards the right side of the green sloping to the right.
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Date: August 15, 2019