In China, a land of economic miracles, no feat of engineering or construction is considered impossible. But the explosive growth of southern China’s two Mission Hills resorts, which together comprise 22 golf courses, surely ranks among the Asian powerhouse’s most stunning recent accomplishments.
The twin resorts are the creation of the Chu family, led by Canadian-educated businessman Ken Chu, who says that he — and China — are just getting started building courses. Right now there are about 400 clubs and five million golfers. Chu confidently predicts that China’s golfing population will reach 20 million by 2020.
Established in 1992, the original Mission Hills Resort, located just across the Hong Kong-Chinese border in the city of Shenzhen, is renowned as the world’s largest golf facility. Each of the property’s 12 courses was designed by a famous golf personality, including Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo, Greg Norman, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh and Annika Sorenstam.
Chu, a tireless 38-year-old who sprints between shots when playing golf, consolidated his family’s dominance of the Asian golf market with the 2010 launch of the second Mission Hills resort, this one on the South China Sea island of Hainan. Built from scratch in an astonishing 18 months, the resort includes 10 courses, a palatial clubhouse, Asia’s largest spa, and a five-star hotel with 538 rooms and 12 restaurants.
Located 48 kilometres across the Qiongzhou Strait from the mainland’s southern rim, Hanain Island is rapidly becoming one of Asia’s top tourist destinations. The island’s stunningly diverse tropical landscape includes palm-fringed beaches on the South China Sea, a rugged mountainous interior, mangrove reserves and a protected rain forest. In the port city of Sanya, located on Yalong Bay at the southern end of Hainan, such luxury hotel brands as Sheraton, Hilton, Marriot and Ritz-Carlton crowd a beachfront that just a few years ago was deserted except for the shacks of fishermen.
Together, the two Mission Hills complexes employ 15,000 full-time staff. Chu estimates that his family has so far invested $4.2-billion in their golf properties. Read more in Australia’s Fraser Coast Chronicle.