A rare fine in China, Meadow Lake is a genuine public access golf course outside Kunming, with a modest green fee, attractive set of holes and a routing that players can easily walk. The course was designed and developed by a local golf enthusiast, who used golf books to identify a style of design that he liked and wanted to replicate, and then found an ideal site upon which to build his holes.
The selected property was dominated by tall native meadow grasses and topography that sweeps down toward one of the area’s large lakes and is constantly undulating. The routing is memorable for the holes that fall toward the water, and others where crested drives and naturally elevated plateau greens are part of the challenge. Some of the landing areas are a little awkward because the dimensions don’t quite work, but the front nine stretch from 3 to 5 is very good, as are several features on the back nine, such as the last half of the par five 11th hole.
Meadow Lake is so wrong in so many places, but strangely so right at the same time, being proper fun, public focused golf that caters to all range of abilities. There are some strange areas and silly holes here, but the best bits are terrific and there are enough quality half-holes, sightlines, approach shots and green complexes for it to come recommended over the more high-profile, and more expensive designs in the area.
Adventurous golfers in particular will enjoy Meadow Lake, which is far from a great course but is precisely the sort of fun, sporty, inexpensive and accessible track that the Chinese industry needs more of.