Designed by a former touring professional from America, the Shanghai Silport Golf Club is a celebrated championship venue situated in the Qingpu district west of Shanghai, on a site cut by a series of canals and waterways connected to the Dianshan Lake. Much of the surrounding area appears reclaimed and man-made, which is also the sense one gets golfing at this establishment.
Aside from catch basins through fairways, the terrain is very flat and many holes are set between soft mounds that give off a dated and 1980s residential-type feeling. The bunkering is also flat, and a mix of shallow traps offset to the side of playing areas, and large sand waste hazards that punish mediocre golfers but offer little by way of challenge for good players. Overall there is a lack of elegance with the bunkers, both in style and positioning, particularly within the fairways. The same is true of the water holes, only some of which are effective at forcing decisions from the tee. One with a hidden pond marked by a red flag on the outside of the fairway is particularly poor.
The greens are Sliport’s primary defense, and mostly inoffensive. For professional tournaments they run them very fast and tuck pins to the sides. They also tighten fairways by altering mowing lines. None of this disguises the fact that the land is of only moderate interest, and the design lacks polish and inspiration. Shanghai Silport isn’t a terrible course, but it has little appeal for seasoned golfers.