Haikou, China: China’s pioneering Chu family has been honoured with a special Legacy Award in the inaugural IAGTO Excellence Awards for 2014.
The family operates the Mission Hills Group, whose huge Mission Hills resorts at Shenzhen on China’s mainland and at Haikou on the tropical island of Hainan have transformed China’s golf scene.
The award recognises their work in not only helping to put China on the world stage as a golf destination and establishing golf tournaments that have attracted the world’s best golfers but also in developing golf within China and encouraging youngsters to take up the sport.
Sponsored by Etihad Airways and held at the gala dinner during the third annual IAGTO Asia Golf Tourism Convention at Mission Hills Haikou, organised by global golf tourism industry organisation IAGTO, the IAGTO Excellence Awards recognise the vision and contribution of golf tourism leaders as well as the outstanding achievements of golf courses in the Asia Pacific region.
They form a new addition to the annual IAGTO Awards, awarded each year at the end of the International Golf Travel Market.
The IAGTO Legacy Award has been designed as an occasional award, presented only to individuals who have made the greatest impact in the world of golf tourism. The Chu family are the first recipients of the honour.
The award, shaped like a double helix, bears the inscription ‘Golf in their DNA’ and was received by Mission Hills Group Vice Chairman Tenniel Chu at the gala dinner, held at the Mission Hills Haikou resort in front of an audience of 500 golf industry professionals from all over the world.
Tenniel and his older brother, Mission Hills Group Chairman and CEO Dr Ken Chu, are continuing to build on the achievements of their late father, Hong Kong-born industrialist and visionary Dr David Chu, who established the group more than 20 years ago and who is fondly remembered as ‘the Father of Golf in China’.
IAGTO Chief Executive Peter Walton said: “In recognition of their pioneering vision and leadership; for quite simply putting China on the map as a golf destination; and for their continued dedication to shape its future and secure its destiny it gives me enormous pleasure to present the inaugural IAGTO Legacy Award not to just one individual but to a truly remarkable family.”
In his acceptance speech, Tenniel Chu said: “I am deeply honoured and humbled to accept this award on behalf of the Chu family. Mission Hills has been fortunate enough to receive many accolades but when, as a family, we are recognised by our peers in the golf industry, it is truly special. Of course, this award belongs primarily to the late Dr David Chu, our father. Golf’s phenomenal growth in modern China is due primarily to his incredible drive, passion and ambition.
“He was a visionary. The more people doubted him, the more he believed. The more people laughed at him, the harder he worked.
“And his dream lives on in the Chu family. There is never a day when we don’t think of him and what he achieved. His memory drives us on and is the reason Mission Hills will never stand still. I would like to thank IAGTO for this Legacy Award and the many people who work so hard to make Mission Hills the special place it is. But most of all, I would like to thank, with all my heart, one man. Dad, this is for you!”
The IAGTO Excellence Awards also included Diamond, Platinum and Pearl Awards, with the sister Mission Hills Haikou and Mission Hills Shenzhen resorts each winning a Diamond Award accolade – given to courses assessed by IAGTO which offer the best possible experience to the visiting golf traveller – while Mission Hills China won the first-ever IAGTO Platinum Award for Exceptional Achievement, for creating the World’s Outstand Golf & Spa Resort in Haikou.
Mission Hills Shenzhen, situated just north of Hong Kong, comprises 12 golf courses as well as hotel and spas and was accredited as the World’s Largest Golf Club by Guinness World Records in 2004. Mission Hills Haikou, built on a lava-strewn landscape on Hainan Island and opened in 2010, offers 10 courses, volcanic mineral springs, Hainan’s only aquatic theme park, a volcanic rock spa and a 518-room hotel.
The other Diamond Award winners in the IAGTO Excellence Awards were the Pan Pacific Nirwana Bali Resort in Indonesia and Vietnam’s Danang Golf Club. Recipient of the first Pearl Award was Kullatorn Mesommont, President of the East Coast Golf Course Management Association in Pattaya.
Hoi An, Vietnam: Hoiana Shores Golf Club has earned GEO Certified Development status from the Scotland-based GEO Foundation, the golf industry’s international standard-bearer for sustainable course design and construction practices.