Mission Hills, Norman Course

Mission Hills Resort - Annika Course

China, Guangdong, Shenzhen
4.7 (6)
Course Opened: 2004

The Mission Hills Golf Club is located in Shenzhen in China about 45 minutes to the west of Hong Kong. The resort and residential development was founded with the opening of the Jack Nicklaus-designed World Cup Course and is now home to a world-record 12 layouts. With the exception of the Norman and Nicklaus courses, the other ten were designed by the Arizona-based firm of Schmidt and Curley with a celebrity golf identity attached and labeled as 'designer' to each track. This is mass-produced signature design on a huge scale, and not surprisingly the golf is very ordinary.

Unlike the main Shenzhen courses, the Dongguan tracks are built into attractive hills and incorporate some natural features like gullies, creeks and ravines into their routings. The Norman and Leadbetter courses are the highest on the Dongguan property, and the most interesting, while the Olazabal, Duval and Annika courses are nestled beside each other and down on the slightly duller ground. The big problem with these three courses is that the best and worst land is almost equally divided between the three layouts, and further each course has holes that bare striking resemblances to the others alongside it. The result is three very average courses, rather than one or perhaps two of the highest order. They also get intertwined which is a confusing and appealing feature of golf through this part of the Mission Hills complex.

The Olazabal course, after a slow start, has a string of nice outlooks and lots of natural movement late in the front nine. The course loses its appeal shortly after and becomes gimmicky, particularly with regards its use of sand - one par five that bends around a lake has 24 bunkers supposedly because Oly was such a great bunker player. The Duval course starts poorly before some decent holes through the middle of the round while the Annika course, which is probably the best of the three, gets higher into the hills and features a number of exciting tee shots and a terrific par three 15th hole.

All three courses end with a long par three followed by a killer dogleg left par four, the Duval and Annika 17th are almost identical while the Olazabal and Annika 18th holes are essentially exactly the same, except for the lake on the left of the Olazabal. The 17th are even staggered beside each other, no attempt made to disguise the fact that this is signature design en-masse and that any originality is purely accidental.


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