Hainan with it’s beautiful blue skies, warm temperatures and tropical plantations and wildlife, prove itself to be a near perfect location for golf courses. The island boasts many top courses and it is the nature of local businessmen, to recruit the best golf course designers from across the globe, to design their piece of golfing heaven.
West Coast Golf Club is designed by the Dye Group, which boast a portfolio of some greatest courses on the planet, including The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island and The Straits Course at Whistling Straights.
What do these courses have in common? Professional Golf Events. Each of these courses has held either a PGA Tour Event or a Major Tournament. West Coast Golf Club is no different having held The Grand China Air LPGA event in 2008. Helen Alfredsson (pictured with the winners trophy) took home a cheque of US$270,000 with a 54 hole total score of 12 under par!
Turning right via Binhai DaDao or via the high speed overpass, onto ChangTongLu, you will be greeted by an impressive archway, leading up to security gates, in order to enter the golf club. If you can get past the relatively worn real estate owned by Chinese Property Tycoons, you are welcomed to an impressive clubhouse, where inside you will find a reception, restaurant, changing rooms and a pro shop. There’s even a water feature!
To warmup before you're round, you can lash some balls down the 330 yard driving range with enough bays for 30 players. OR fine tune your skills with the British PGA Professionals on site *wink wink*. Get a feel for the greens around the chipping and putting green, of which are regularly a true reflection of the on course playing conditions.
Unlike the majority of Chinese golf courses, West Coast is not designed to leave you battered and bruised after wrestling with it for 18 holes. This course has been designed to be a true reflection of how you play. Not to say that it is my any means ‘boring’. 9 of the holes will test your focus with water hazards. The course has many strategically placed bunkers which will catch you out on a miss struck iron shot, or leaking drive.
Navigate the first 15 holes and your job is not done. The final 3 holes can prove a daunting task, especially if you have accumulated a good score to this
moment. The 16th is a long par three with a large lake short and right of the green, looking to catch out those golfers who are partial to a slice. The green is also well guarded with bunkers both short and long on the left side.
The 17th hole is a long par 5 where the big hitters may be able to reach in two shots, but it comes at a price. A ravine running diagonally through the fairway will swallow your drive, if you leak the ball to the right, where down the left side you have a little more breathing room. The green is surrounded by bunkers and the putting surface itself is extremely challenging.
The 18th is where you quite frankly will happily walk off with a bogey. Incredibly long and the same ravine which cuts through the 17th, makes an appearance on the final hole also. The green is elevated and shaped like a kidney bean, and everything slopes back towards your approach shot. Even reaching green in regulation will not guarantee your par.
Do not let the last three holes scare you from what will be a very enjoyable day out. Play well and you shall be rewarded at West Coast Golf Club.
The restaurant serves a variety of Chinese style dishes or sandwiches for the person who prefers western cuisine! Beef noodle soup is the speciality of the house. Even though the food is of a good standard, this writers advice would be to eat outside the walls of the club, as there are better value options in the city. Bring plenty of water and make sure you protect yourselves from the beating rays of the Hainan sun.
West Coast’s biggest strength, comparing to local competition is the condition of the playing surfaces. Having undergone a green reconstruction in 2016, the ball rolls beautifully all year round at West Coast. The only times where the greens may not be up to scratch is during the essential maintenance seasons, like every golf course has to do. The recovery times of these periods take between 2-4 weeks and then they are practically perfect.
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