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.
The Leadbetter Course is built alongside the Norman Course on the Dongguan property at Mission Hills. Despite absurdity of a course designed by teacher David Leadbetter, complete with playing tips on every hole, the layout here is actually quite decent and blessed with a more naturalistic appearance than most at this resort. Holes are generally laid across nicely rolling ground, with some attractive virgin hills acting as backdrop on several occasions. The opening and closing holes are a little tame, but the 3rd is a solid par three and the back nine has a number of good moments like the uphill approach into the 12th green and the cross-ravine 16th. Elsewhere potentially interesting holes are letdown by nonsensical design. The wide right traps on the left preferred 7th hole, for instance, spoil what should have been a terrific test of golf.
Generally speaking, though, the Leadbetter Course is an enjoyable track and while it doesn't quite reach the heights the land here deserves it doesn't disappoint as much as the other courses at Mission Hills.