Over the last several years the pace for updating and renovating golf courses of all types has accelerated. Facilities are keenly aware that keeping themselves as up to date as possible is necessary, as golfers are seeking out those clubs and courses that truly have the most enticing designs and comprehensive facilities.
Located near Shanghai, China, is the 36-hole facility at Lanhai International CC founded in 2009. Formerly called the Links Course, the new design was a complete overhaul from what the course originally provided. The 12-month work was carried forward by Ashley Mead from Ogilvy, Clayton Cocking & Mead (OCCM Golf), a design firm headquartered in Australia.
The look and playability of the par-3 11th provides a truly mind boggling result. What was present before provides no semblance to the finished product is now.
The former hole was simply lackluster. Having no real strategic calculations to consider when teeing off. There is now a naturally, sandy expanse over which the hole now plays. The present visual dynamics have been magnified many times over.
Versatility is also a major element. “The hole can play as long as 190 yards from a back tee to a pin positioned in the back right section of the green, other times its a little pitch of 120 yards over sand all the way to a pin nestled on the front right shelf of the green,” said Mead.
Among the key improvements include the green being moved to the right and lowered and a new tee being built in the sand waste; the right tee box plays over the sand waste for the entire hole. The naturalness of the hole was enhanced by removing a cart path and including a path, so players can walk through the sand waste to get an up-close experience. The entire putting surface is nestled into the dune and a new horseshoe shaped-green is built around a large central dune. A short grass pathway linking the 10th green to the 11th tee was added as well as a small sleeper path - at the rear of the green - heading up the dune to the 12th tee.
“As you stand on the 12th tee, you can look down at the 11th green and get a good understanding of how the green wraps right around the dune,” said Mead.
“Some times you will get just a glimpse of the flag fluttering behind the central dune that the green horseshoes around.”
The totality of what Yangtze Dunes provides is truly beyond what constitutes golf design in Asia. The walking only layout is a marvel in linking man’s imagination in concert with the qualities the site provided. The 11th has been transformed into an unrivaled hole where beauty and challenge are melded together.