Widely considered the best golf instructor in the David Leadbetter has dabbled in course design with the Leadbetter design at the Mission Hills Golf Club in China.
Leadbetter in creating the course was to provide a course where golfers could learn to “play” the game and with that in mind he created a course which he claims will require every club in your bag. This point is up for debate but what can be said of the course is this: I would not say it is a course to learn to play on. At 7117 yards from the back tees the course is long, although it possesses some short par fours and a very short par three the length the course does play shorter than its yardage.
The course is some 20 minutes from the Shenzhen Clubhouse so travel time will need to be factored in to your plans for arriving at this course.
Set in the more mountainous area of the Mission Hills complex the course is undulating with massive changes in elevation which actually makes many holes a lot shorter than what they appear to be on the card. From the golfer’s perspective the elevated tees allow all of the hazards to be seen, helping the golfer to plot their way around this course.
Not as difficult as the Olazabal or Norman, the Leadbetter course offers a variety of shot making opportunities throughout and keeps the interest of the golfer.
The fairways are more than generous but undulating resulting in few flat lies making the approach shot that little bit trickier. A feature of this course is the bunkering, large and impressive the bunkers are used strategically both for the protection of the holes and the aesthetic aspects creating wonderfully artistic shapes.
Most of the greens here are small requiring well struck approach shots to find them although they are not particularly difficult once found, yielding some good scores and rewarding good shot making.
Of the most demanding holes on the course the 12th an uphill par 4 measuring a monsterous 479 yards from the back tees this is almost a par five for most golfers. From the slightly elevated tee the hole bends gently to the right and is well protected by bunkers. Don´t be disheartened by a bogey on this hole, it is tough.
The par three 16th is beautiful whilst remaining challenging. At 183 yards it requires a well struck tee shot to find the putting surface which is protected all around by bunkers. Picturesque with its fabulous backdrop the eye is directed to the creek that runs short of the green and down to the small waterfall.
The Leadbetter course is one of the better courses at Mission Hills and is certainly more enjoyable for the average golfer, well worth a visit.