8 of the best golf courses according to Hong Kong’s pros and avid fanatics
With Hong Kong within easy reach of many of the region's top golf courses, it's no wonder its golf lovers think nothing of jetting off on the weekends to play a round or two. Here a world-class coach and one of his protégés reveal their picks for the best courses around.
The coach: Wayne Greenham
Wayne Greenham is an elite golf coach at Asia Golf and the Whitehead Club in Hong Kong. He has over 20 years experience, coaching in Australia, the United States, Japan and now Hong Kong. He is in charge of developing Hong Kong's elite young golfers and coaches Hong Kong's No.1 golfer Konstantin Liu Lok Tin. In Australia he was the coach of U.S. Open winner, Geoff Ogilvy.
“These all go by my philosophy for the best courses, which is, the harder the course, the better. If there is amazing natural terrain, that’s a plus."
Bali Golf and Country Club
Location: Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia
Wayne says: “It’s a spectacular and beautiful course. Think palm trees, white sand, blue water. Everything in nature, you have there. They have good resort facilities too."The sea breezes and the tropical paradise setting make this a stunner. From the changing room to the tee box, to the fairway, to the greens, and even the hazards as well as the in-house Ancora Golf Institute, this is one of the best possible venues in Asia to play a round of golf.
Contact: Kawasan Wisata, Nusa Dua, 80363, Bali, Indonesia. Tel: +62 (361) 771 791
Phoenix Country Club Miyazaki
Location: Miyazaki, Japan
Wayne says: “This is a championship golf course for Japan pro tournaments. It’s very classy and is for the very affluent in Japan. Everyone can play, but like most courses in Japan, the day rate is about USD$300.”The design is influenced by Tom Watson and David Duval. As one of the best and most well-known courses in Japan, the beautifully-designed 27-hole course on the Hitotsuba Pacific Coast is lined by sweet-smelling pine groves. Take advantage of the world class resort it’s built around.
Contact: Phoenix Seagaia Resort, Hamayama, Yamasaki-Cho, Miyazaki City, Miyazaki Prefecture 880-8545. Tel: +81 (0) 985 21 1111, e-mail: email@example.com.
Kawana Resort Fuji Course
Location: Ito, Japan
Wayne says: “Japanese golf courses are amazing because they are mostly jungle-like with lots of thickets. There are many Japanese courses in my top 12 in Asia, but the two at Kawana are my favourite. Your balls get lost all the time. When you are standing on these tees, the views are spectacular. At this course, you have the background of the mountains and Mount Fuji."The two courses are on the Izu peninsula and lie near hot springs, bordered by red cliffs and a deep blue sea. The younger of the courses has stunning views of Mount Fuji.
Contact: Kawana Hotel, 1459 Kawana Ito City Shizuoka. Tel: +81 (0) 557 45 1111
Blue Canyon Club
Location: Phuket Thailand
Wayne says: “This is a mega-resort course. You can have an entire holiday without leaving the restaurants, accommodation and everything else built around these two courses.”Tiger Woods confesses this is one of the best courses he has ever played on and Fred Couples and Greg Norman are also fans. There are two award-winning courses: a Canyon Course and a Lake Course with very lush greens, cradled in a secluded, verdant valley against a magnificent backdrop of the majestic Phang Nga Mountains and Andaman Sea. It is frequently touted by FinanceAsia and Asia Money Magazines as the top Golf course in Asia.
Contact: Blue Canyon Country Club, 165, Moo 1, Thepkasattri Road, Thalang, Phuket 83110, Thailand. Tel: +66 (0) 76 328 088
The star: Konstantin Liu Lok Tin
Konstantin Liu Lok Tin is Hong Kong's No.1 golfer. He is a member of the Hong Kong Golf Association's Junior Elite Squad and the Hong Kong Men's Team Member. At 16 years of age, he is the youngest player ever to have won the Hong Kong Close Amateur Championship, 2010. He has been playing golf for nine years.
Sunrise Golf & Country Club
Konstantin says: “This course is very challenging because of the wind conditions. It’s always so windy but that’s why I love it. The game changes every time and I don’t know what to expect.”A Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed course, Sunrise can claim to be the toughest course in Taiwan. This club has played host to the Sunrise Cup and qualifying grounds for the Asia-Pacific players in the World Alfred Dunhill tournament.
Contact: No. 256, Yang Sheng Rd, Yangmei Town, 32652 Taiwan
Namseoul Country Club
Location: Gyeonnggi, South Korea
Konstantin says: “The golf course is very challenging because the greens are always in top condition and the game is fast.” Set amongst the hills just outside of Seoul, this is rated as one of the finest courses in Korea. The rolling fairways are flanked by trees and the location offers fantastic panoramic scenery.
Contact: Namseoul Country Club, San 72-1, Baekhyeon-dong, Seongnam-si, Bundang-gu, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea. Tel: +82 31 709 6000
Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club
Location: Sai Kung, Hong Kong
Konstantin says: “This golf course has two sides to it which is very rare for courses. It has rolling and lush green hills to one side and the other side is all sea. This golf course has the most beautiful sea views in Hong Kong and every hole has a sea view."If you love playing on the beaches, this is the course for you. The club is blessed with a stunning environment that is removed from the hustle and bustle of city life. With a plethora of sports and recreational facilities and restaurants on site, it’s truly an escape that caters to all your family and business needs.
Contact: 139 Tai Au Mun Road, Clearwater Bay, New Territories, Hong Kong. Tel: + 852 2335 3700
Singapore Country Club
Location: Island course, Singapore
Konstantin says: “Singapore always rains. But this golf course is always in immaculate condition and there are a lot of trees around the golf course, which make the golf course more challenging. There’s a romantic and dreamy air to this place.”Weaving through old trees, the Island Course is both hilly and picturesque. It is a short 18-hole golf course, where both nines start and finish with very similar holes but Holes 9 and 18 are potential card wreakers as well, so beware! The course was originally designed by Peter Robinson and later re-designed by five-time British Open champion, Peter Thomson.