5 of the best Shanghai driving ranges
In a city where business runs all, and where guanxi determines just about everything, the golf course is becoming an important patch of grass. But while you might have to travel to find enough space to play a full 18 holes, there are many driving ranges just a putt away.
Hongqiao Golf Club
The scene: Go west, young man, to this pillar of Shanghai's golf community. The driving ranges here get the job done. They're open to the public and frequented by mostly Japanese expats. Hongqiao offers 72 bays and floodlights to keep the golfing going till late. And newbies don’t sweat: there are four coaches on hand to teach you to swing from the hips.
Pro: The Japanese in Shanghai love golf. Just being in the vicinity of their passion will improve your swing.
Con: It's popular, so expect waits during peak hours.
Cost: RMB 25 per box of balls during the week, price increases on weekends.
Hongqiao Golf Club, 555 Hongxu Lu, near Hongsong Lu 虹许路555号, 近红松路, +86 21 6465 0076, www.hongqiaogolf.com
Binhai Golf Club
The scene: Currently, this award-winning club’s two ranges (lakeside and grass) are open to the public. They’re debating making the ranges members only so hurry. Right now you only pay for the balls. Also, it’s an hour out of town, but there is a free shuttle from the Maglev station at 7:30 a.m. and from the club at 2:30 p.m.
Pro: World Class facility for next to nothing.
Con: A bit out of town.
Cost: RMB 25 for 30 balls.
Agile Binhai Golf Club, 5888 Dongda Gong Lu 滨海高尔夫球场, 东大公路东首5888号, +86 21 3800 1888, www.binhaigolf.com
Tomson Golf Club
The scene: This club manages a huge and beautiful area that is in an accessible part of Pudong. The driving range is open to the public, but the course is for members. Reflect upon the Zen simplicity of the fairways (the course was designed by Japanese perfectionist Shunsuke Kato) before heading to the indoor driving range. Reserve one of the 56 driving ranges and hit unlimited balls for a set price.
Pro: One of the prettiest clubs in town.
Con: The driving range is inside.
Cost: RMB 80 per hour Monday to Friday, RMB 120 on the weekend
Tomson Golf Club, 1 Longdong Dadao 龙东大道1号, +86 21 5833 8888, www.tomson-golf.com
The scene: Okay, so it’s not actually golfing, but this is Shanghai, the hometown of knockoffs and zany fusion ideas. Urban18, a David Laris project, features six state-of-the-art golf simulators, a bunch of televisions, and a solid food and drink menu. Skip the stale clubhouse food at an actual golf course and enjoy some of Laris’s gourmet dishes.
Pro: Nike clubs and balls, but you can also bring your own.
Con: It’s a video game.
Cost: RMB 200 for 30 minutes, RMB 300 between 5 p.m. and close, and on weekends.
Urban18, Central Plaza Unit 201A, 227 Huangpi Bei Lu, +86 21 6375 9018, www.urban18golf.com
Five Oceans Golf Club
The scene: Walk down the alley and you’ll encounter a sign marked "Golf." Not your average driving range entrance. While not picturesque, this small Jing'an driving range has an unbeatable location in the heart of the city. Head to the roof and choose one of the eight bays. When we went, the guests were all middle-aged neighborhood locals, but given the location, just about anyone interested in golf living in downtown might have a new haunt.
Pro: Doing anything on a roof is sweet.
Con: The safety nets hamper the distance of your drives.
Cost: RMB 60 per hour Monday to Friday, RMB 80 on the weekends.
Five Oceans Golf Club, 5/F, 58 Yanping Lu, near Xinzha Lu 延平路58号, 近新闸路, +86 21 6271 1059