Haikou, China: Schmidt-Curley’s award-winning Blackstone Course at Mission Hills will once more be thrust into the global spotlight when it stages this week’s Mission Hills World Ladies Championship.
A spectacular 350-acre core golf course that weaves through a striking landscape of mature trees, thick jungle vegetation and expansive lakes and wetlands, the Blackstone Course was opened in 2010.
As well as being named Asia’s ‘Best New Course’ by GOLF magazine in the United States, the Blackstone Course is a two-time winner of Best Championship Course in Asia Pacific in the Asian Golf Monthly Awards.
Host to the 2011 World Cup of Golf and the Mission Hills World Celebrity Pro Am, it also staged last year’s Mission Hills World Ladies Championship and welcomed Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy for The Match at Mission Hills.
Brian Curley, Principal at Schmidt-Curley Design, believes it will become ‘one of the premier tournament courses in the world’.
Curley said: “In a short space of time, the Blackstone Course at Mission Hills Haikou has established itself as one of the ‘must play’ venues in Asia. Easy green-to-tee relationships and easy terrain render the course very walkable. Difficult, long (at over 7,800 yards) and with risk/reward opportunity at the final holes, this course should prove to be one of the premier tournament courses in the world today
“The dominating site characteristic is the bed of lava rock which was capped with material located 25 miles away. The naturally rolling terrain sees dramatic elevation change and great care was taken to find as many natural holes as possible to avoid cutting the rock and to preserve the magnificent Lychee trees.
“Adding to the look are wild, irregular bunker edges and transitional sand edges that effortlessly work into native lava rock.
“Fairways sweep across the landscape, conforming to the natural terrain with an emphasis on surface drainage rather than contained low drain inlets. The result is a magical blanket of turf with soft irregular edges and a lack of hard lines as there is only fairway cut (no rough, even at bunker faces).
“The lava bed is incorporated into forced carries creating dramatic contrast and the lava rock walls and village ruins created years ago remain as a testament to the site’s past.”
Serving as the Ladies European Tour’s (LET) fourth stop of 2014 and co-sanctioned with the China LPGA Tour, the Mission Hills World Ladies Championship has attracted a stellar field, led by Korean world number one Park In-bee, Norway’s Suzann Pettersen, China’s Feng Shanshan and Thai Ariya Jutanugarn.
“With live international television coverage it will be an inspirational showcase of high performance sport,” said a spokesperson for the LET.
The World Ladies Championship is unique in professional golf in that it consists of three events in one – an individual professional competition, a professional team championship in which countries are represented by teams of two and an individual amateur tournament, all played simultaneously over 72 holes of stroke play.
*Schmidt-Curley Design is a Charter Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation. For further information, please visit www.schmidt-curley.com