Taking the mission out of Mission Hills

Mission Hills Golf Club in China is officially recognized as the world’s largest golf facility, pipping Pinehurst for the title, with 11 full 18 hole courses and an 18 hole par 3 course. Mission Hills, however, is often overlooked for those passionate golfers looking to explore greener pastures.

The original Mission Hills is located between the cities of Shenzhen and Dongguan. Technically the resort is actually two resorts separated by 10 kilometers with shuttle busses ferrying guests between them. To add to the mass of golf available under the Mission Hills brand, there are also another 10 courses at Mission Hills Haikou in southern China, but we will focus on them later in the post.

The 12 courses are all designed by famous golfers or golf course designers, and the resort has hosted over 50 major golfing events since opening. The 1995 World Cup of golf being the first notable tournament held.

China can be a daunting location to explore given its vast size and foreign language and culture, but as a country that is increasingly golf crazy, Mission Hills represents an amazing diversity of golf, luxury, and excitement

Getting there 

Most golfers will fly directly into Hong Kong International Airport or Guangzhou International Airport and transfer for 90 mins by road to Mission Hills Shenzhen. You can also fly direct to Shenzhen at an additional cost. It is strongly recommended that you use transport providers, especially given that you will not need your own car once you are at the resorts.

The Courses

If you love golf, you may never want to leave. The 12 courses have been designed by everyone from Pete Dye to Vijay Singh to Nick Faldo. And everyone has their favorites. The World Cup Course, designed by Jack Nicklaus, is often regarded as one of the most significant courses of the 20th century, given its importance in the birth of Chinese golf. The courses are all maintained to a high standard and range from comfortable to quite difficult – the choice is yours in most ranking lists of Chinese courses, none feature in the top 10 in the country. However, as far as enjoyable golf resorts go, you will not be disappointed. 

The Rose/Poulter course, designed specifically as a match-play-friendly course, is one not to miss. Lots of risk/reward holes will suit the gambler within.

The Olazabal course is touted as a private course with limited access to non-members and maybe the best course on property.

Be warned – Mission Hills is not your relaxing walk in the park. There can be 3000 golf bags, 1700 golf carts, and 4000 caddies in motion on any given day, and everything moves like clockwork. So Mission hills may not be the place for you if you love the idea of casually being able to make your pick of what course to play after lunch.

Also, and this is minor, some commentators will say there is a certain ‘sameness’ to the resorts’ many courses; however, this is perhaps inevitable when the course share a similar geography.

The Resort

Much like the craziness of the golf courses on offer, the resort is also a hive of constant activity, regardless of what part of the resort you stay in.

There are world-class spas, Asia’s largest tennis facility with 51 courts, function and conference facilities, golf training facilities, and clubhouses that will leave you speechless.

Mission Hills Centreville contains hotels, offices, a 700 room hotel, over 200 retailers, and thousands of homes. It really is a self-contained masterpiece.

Housing is also the other primary revenue creator at Mission Hills, with thousands of houses already built and tens of thousands planned. 

Costs

The costs to visit Mission Hills are surprisingly affordable if you take the plunge to visit. However, I would strongly suggest using a tour operator to cut through the language barriers you may encounter to arrange things yourself. There are numerous tour operators offering rates from $1400 to $2000  for packages lasting 5- 7 nights, including

  • 5 Star accommodation
  • Buffet breakfasts
  • 5 rounds of golf at least including the Olazabel course. 10 round packages tend to be around $2500.
  • Carts and caddies
  • Transfers to Hong Kong airport.

Excluding your flights to China Mission Hills certainly will not break the bank compared to many of the world’s premium courses.

The inside word 

Whilst it may seem like a ‘mission’ (excuse the pun) to visit China, the benefit of doing so is worth every cent and effort in planning your journey.

Make sure you don’t rush your trip. Jet lag may be a factor, and ideally you want to spend a least a week on-site,

Even if English is limited, Caddies will be your best friend in terms of helping you understand the courses and local traditions. Many members are keen to play with tourists if for no other reason than to test their English skills.

Now tell me about Mission Hills Haikou.

Whilst the newer and slightly smaller younger brother (Mission Hills Haikou has only 10 courses on-site), the courses themselves may actually be more highly regarded, with a couple including Blackstone, regularly making Top 10 lists.

Haikou is often described as China’s Hawaii. The setting is more resort-focused with less of a focus on housing and more of a focus on water slides and fun parks.

If you want to do Mission Hills right, spend a week at both! You won’t regret it.

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