A new links layout in China? Where to play it.
BY JOSH SENS — Fall 2018
swath of land along the fringes of sprawling Shanghai has taken on a wispy Scottish look. You notice the resemblance the instant you lay eyes on Yangtze Dunes, a newly renovated course at the 36-hole Lanhai International Country Club that takes golf design in China in a fresh direction. Where most mainland layouts are patterned on the posh, modern country club model — lush emerald turf, man-made water hazards, and fleets of golf carts — this one cuts the profile of a rough-hewn throwback links.
Designed by Australia-based Ogilvy, Clayton, Cocking & Mead, Yangtze Dunes’ holes buck and roll over a rumpled dunes-scape shaped with sand from the Yangtze River delta. Unruly native grasses line the fairways, which are firm and browned in patches, touches that Tom Morris would appreciate. No cart paths thread the course because it’s walking-only, a rarity in China that not everyone embraces. “A couple of people have complained because they’re so used to riding,” says Jay Porter, Lanhai general manager. “But our members love it because it’s unlike anything in Shanghai, or anything in China, frankly.”
The convention-bucking Dunes course covers the old footprint of one of Lanhai’s two original tracks. Its sibling course, the Woodlands, remains unchanged, offering a scenic but familiar golf experience.
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