Shanqin BayHainan, China
- AddressLonggunzhen, Wanning, Hainan, China, 571521
You’ll find Shanqin Bay in the south east of Hainan Island, close to the remote village of Bo’ao, and its fairways occupy a spectacular coastal site on which many thought a golf course could never be built, such is the extremely challenging nature of the topography.
It’s said that a number of design companies declined the chance to work here before the developer acquired the services of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw and that assertion may well be correct because the difficult terrain would undoubtedly deter all but the bravest of architects.
A wide variety of landforms are experienced during a round at Shanquin Bay – from cliffs and chasms to dunes and dense vegetation – as the generously proportioned fairways wind their way around the property.
On the front nine, feature holes include the par four 5th, where the fairway is routed around an irrigation lake then over a ridge to a blind green and the short par thee 8th, played across a gully to a greensite set into a sand dune.
The back nine certainly has its fair share of highlights, including the par threes at 11 and 14, but the holes that really steal the show are the closing set of par fours, beginning at the cliffside 15th – with its wonderful South China Sea vistas – and ending with the testing 18th, where the shallow home green sits precariously on top of a ridge.
In between these two striking holes, the sensational short 16th drops more than 50 feet from tee to green before the stunning, bunkerless 17th, which some are already calling the “signature hole”, then veers slightly right along the beach to a long, narrow green.
Constructed in a manner unlike anything that’s been built before in China, the Shanqin Bay golf course just might become the benchmark for those still to come. But this is China, where the government rules the roost. In 2017 the authorities planted thousands of saplings along the "signature" 17th fairway in order to create a wind break. The club installed a temporary par three, but undeniably these bizarre actions have removed the gloss from a course that was perhaps destined to become Asia's No.1.
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Course ArchitectView All
Coore and Crenshaw Inc. was established in 1986, but five years passed before the partnership made a real architectural impact when the Plantation course at Kapalua burst onto the scene in 1991.