An authentic recreation of a links golf experience has been designed and opened by Mark Hollinger, ASGCA, hard against the mouth of the Yangtze River a few minutes from the Shanghai Pudong International Airport in China.
The Links Course at Dongzhuang Beach is a 7,430 yard, 18-hole windswept and seaside links-style golf course located directly along the Yangtze River near where its mouth opens into the East China Sea. The course is a part of a 36-hole golf-only sports development which teams a scenic 18-hole Parkland Course with the Links Course, making for a special one-two punch for golf enthusiasts in this region of China.
It has been a busy couple of years working in Asia for Hollinger, principal golf architect and partner of JMP Golf Design Group, Belmont, Calif. He views his new Dongzhuang Beach course as a different playing experience for Chinese golfers.
“This course is quite challenging to all levels of playing skills and to go around it well requires keeping the ball in play and out of the tall grass as well as low, under the wind, which is the key to playing links golf in Scotland and Ireland,” Hollinger said. “It is difficult for most players the first time around it and a true putting stroke is required to save par. There are many elevated tees and massive greens, with the fairways playing low among the man-made dunes, peppered with shrubs similar to gorse and heather found on most links layouts in the United Kingdom. The overall experience is authentic as the wind, long grasses, pushed-up greens and sometimes cool temperatures are quite similar to other famous links land courses…so bring along your best game and your whiskey flask.”
Dongzhuang Beach features four-to-five sets of tees per hole, with mature Bent Grass putting surfaces, lush Seashore Paspalum fairways and an Irish Links seed blend in the short and tall roughs. Wind is a major factor in how each hole might play from month to month, and this course style features wood timber sleepers, pot bunkers and fast and firm turf conditions with sometimes connected and always elevated putting sufaces designed to allow for bump-and-run style chipping to save par. Many golf hole approaches may be played from a variety of fairway angles which must be carefully judged in order to get near the hole.