When playing some Trent Jones Junior designs, you sometimes become aware of the sheer effort that has been made to lend the desired drama to the golf holes. Trent Jones posited the theory that a good golf course is a blend of holes drawn from three styles; strategic, penal and heroic. However, such is the compulsion to add feature that, when the raw land lacks promise, the strokes of the designer’s pen are all too evident.
The Lake Course at Spring City, which is no doubt one of his better designs in Asia, does not suffer from excess artifice. Here, the natural topography contains all the requisite drama which has been used to full effect while retaining a natural element. While Trent Jones had the pick of the land (the Nicklaus [Mountain] course is built at the top of the hill behind the clubhouse) his team had to cope with the significant camber. There is a drop of 150 feet from the clubhouse to the 8th green by the lake shore and buggies are (unfortunately) the order of the day here.
The Spring City Golf & Lake Resort, which was developed by a joint venture led by Keppel Group of Singapore, is located in a thinly populated are of great beauty, 40 minutes from Kunming City… Spring City stands at 2,100 metres altitude, making the courses a pleasant option during the sweltering Asian summers.
For what is ostensibly a resort course, this is a tough test. No hole could be described as easy. Every tee shot with the exception of the 13th, requires some care. This is one of Asia’s finest golf courses and the exacting design, good presentation, the views, the temperate weather conditions, and the bent grasses all conspire to make it the best golfing experience in China.
The above passage is an extract from The Finest Golf Courses of Asia and Australasia by James Spence. Reproduced with kind permission.
The Spring City resort is awesome! It’s simply a beautiful place, extremely well run and offering wonderful service throughout. Honestly, not what I expected to find on my first trip to China. I’d venture to say they get everything right. As for the golf, it’s excellent as well. Set on the side of a mountain with a huge lake at the bottom, the course enjoys lake views from every single hole. The architecture is solid but very American Parkland in type. There are many fun holes but few I would classify as spectacular except the par 3, 8th. Which is a drop shot par 3 playing down to the water from some 30 meters above to a green half surrounded by the blue of the lake. Fun hole and challenging club selection.
It’s fun golf at a great resort in a place I would not of expected to find. My advice is to stay here, play the Lake and Mountain Courses a few times and take a day or two to go up and visit and play Stone Forest Golf Club less than an hour away. The combination would make a perfect albeit exotic golf vacation.
The steep downhill par 3 172-yard 8th is the signature hole with the green 30 meters (100 ft.) lower than the tee. The narrow green is bordered by water along the right and rear. This is a difficult club selection hole. The relatively short par 5 468-yard 9th has a narrow fairway guarded by water on the right and rugged rock cliffs on the left. A long hitter can reach the green in 2 but water on three sides of the green will make this a risky option. The view of this hole from behind the green is fantastic. My favorite is a gentle dogleg to the left par 4 428-yard 13th. You can drive hard due to a wide fairway, but the approach shot must be accurate because the left half of the green runs into a cliff falling to the lake below. The beauty of the uniquely shaped green and the lake behind it seen on your second shot is really spectacular. To read more about the Lake course at Spring City Golf & Lake Resort, click here to visit my website.