Golfers can drive for miles at Shenzhens Mission Hills

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SHENZHEN, China -- Its a long way to go to play golf, but if you get a yen to hit a few drives when youre in Hong Kong, its only a half-hours drive to the Mission Hills Golf Resort, where you can choose from 10 championship 18-hole courses.

The irregularly shaped Mission Hills Golf Resort, which is long and narrow, snakes some 50 miles from end to end across Shenzhen and broadens to about 10 miles at its widest.

Twice the size of Manhattan, the golf resort is the largest in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records, proof that the golf boom has not overlooked China.

Ten years ago, Mission Hills had just one course.

We got 100 golfers a month, if we were lucky, said Carol Chu, executive director. Today the resort has 10 courses, and we have 1,500 golfers a day on weekdays, and up to 2,000 on weekend days.

Mission Hills courses were designed by top golfers and instructors from five continents, including Jack Nicklaus, Ernie Els, David Leadbetter, Annika Sorenstam, Jumbo Ozaki, Jose Maria Olazabal, David Duval, Vijay Singh, Nick Faldo and Greg Norman.

The Nicklaus course served as the venue of the 41st World Cup of Golf in 1995. Mission Hills was also the setting for the Johnnie Walker Super Tour in 1998 and the Tiger Woods China Challenge in 2001.

It was the first in China to be accredited by the U.S. Professional Golf Association (PGA) Tour.

Visitors can also improve their game with a session at the David Leadbetter Golf Academy, which has a facility at Mission Hills. Instructors coach students based on Leadbetters methods.

Aside from golf, Mission Hills is a resort, a spa and a conference center. The resort has 315 rooms, including 12 deluxe suites and one Imperial Suite, and the 7,000-square-foot Spa La Quinta at Mission Hills, which features both Eastern and Western therapies.

The conference center includes a variety of venues, including the 4,349-square-foot Grand Ballroom and three function rooms -- each more than 1,000 square feet in area -- that can be combined into one 3,000-square-foot space. 

Mission Hills Golf Resort also houses seven restaurants offering both Asian and Western cuisine, meetings and events rooms, a 24-hour business center, a billiards room, a gym equipped with Cybex training equipment, indoor and outdoor badminton courts and playgrounds, 51 championship tennis courts, two swimming pools and an archery field.

To contact reporter David Cogswell, send e-mail to [email protected].

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