The Worldwide Virtual Tour, from WorldwideVirtualGolf.com, highlights the world’s most interesting courses and individuals.
In stark contrast to our first Worldwide Virtual Tour post, we’re moving on from the poorest and most dangerous golf club in the world to the largest and richest club on the planet. Mission Hills Golf Club, located in Shenzhen, China, holds the Guinness World Record for largest golf club. With twelve courses and a total of 216 holes, the Chinese club surpasses the Pinehurst Resort by 72 holes. It’s courses are all designed by some of the greatest in golf: Jack Nicklaus, Vijay Singh, Nick Faldo, Ernie Els, Pete Dye, and others. The resort cost $1.5 Billion to design and build, and it’s still growing.
Check out this satellite image of the facility to get a grasp on how huge this place is:
China hasn’t historically been a place we associate with golf, and for good reason. Golf was banned by the Chinese government until the 80’s, as it was seen as too “bourgeois” by the communist party. Nowadays, the government is simply limiting the number of courses due to environmental concerns, but that hasn’t stopped the industry from rapidly expanding. This exceptional growth is why Ken Chu, CEO of Mission Hills Group, is betting everything on the sport’s success in China.
When his vision is complete, Mr. Chu will own both of the world’s largest golf clubs. His second club, Mission Hill Haikou, will host a ridiculous 22 courses when completed and will occupy an area 1.5 times larger than Manhattan, easily stealing the world record away from his Shenzhen course. The man’s goal is to simply keep up with current demand for golf in China, which says a lot about the sport’s future.
Mission Hills Group doesn’t only focus on cramming as many high quality golf courses into one area as possible. They want to attract as many profitable golfers as they can with upscale real estate, fancy restaurants, and lavish facilities. The Pro shop is the size of a mall and the hotel is five stars. The army of 3,000 caddies makes up only a small part of workforce needed to run this club. The scale of Mission Hills is absolutely astounding, but it’s still not big enough for the golfers of China. Future plans for the company include an amazing “Fantasy” course, a unique course that looks like the offspring of a regular golf course and a mini-golf course. To give you an idea of what that means, one of the holes is an island green that’s centered in a giant bowl of noodles, chopsticks included.
Mission Hills doesn’t just cater to the richest Chinese, either. Business tourism is a major part of Mr. Chu’s company, which he recognized by saying, “…We understood that golf could be a medium to link the east and the west. That means we have to do more than just golf. We need a lot more fine dining, luxurious, comfortable hotels. So a businessman could use the golf club as a platform to enhance their business, their relationships.” Mr. Chu envisions massive opulent resorts as golf’s future, and with how fast the industry is growing in the country, he could be right.
The number of golfers in China is expect to catch up with the United States within the next ten years, reaching 20 million by 2020. China is currently home to the two largest clubs in the world, the fastest growing golf industry, it’s attracting the highest amount of investment, and it will one day be the country with the largest number of golfers. Mr. Chu and Mission Hills hint at a bright future for golf in the modernized country. Are you ready to someday soon call China the Golf Capital of the World?
Worldwide Virtual Golf is a brand new Tournament Hosting website that allows players to compete against other golfers from (almost!) any course in the world. Set up Private Tournaments between any number of golfers, compete in the weekly Worldwide Tournaments, and sign up for the four major Pro Tournaments to play against the pros themselves! Learn more at WorldwideVirtualGolf.com…