For many visitors to the Mission Hills Golf Club the standout course is The Norman.
Designed by the “Great White Shark” the course is typical of the challenging designs that Greg Norman has become renowned for. Taking his inspiration from the Sand Belt courses on which he grew up, Normans attention to detail creates simply stunning golf courses that you will never tire of playing and the Norman Course at Mission Hills is no different.
Considered one of the hardest golf courses in Asia, The Norman measures 7,228 yards and is full of challenges. The course winds its way through the dramatic mountainsides and ridges for the first nine holes and then takes advantage of the lush valley for the final 9 holes.
For the traditionalist the course is reminiscent of the great links style courses of Australia and the United Kingdom with large native grasses bordering the fairways creating an artistic frame for the beautifully manicured fairway grass. The splendour of the natural grasses can be enjoyed on the front nine, perched on the exposed ridges the wind silently moves the grass making you even more aware of its peril.
It is here on the front 9 were you really feel as though you have stepped out to a links course in Australia, undulating fairways with humps and bumps create some strange bounces and lies to tackle even the most proficient of golfer.
You have to be accurate here if you want to stand a chance of scoring well as the fairways are narrow and the rough is thick and punishing.
A particular delight on the shorter front nine, the back nine measures 3707 yards from the back tees, is the short par 3 4th. At just 147 yards it is a target hole, the green is little more than 10 yards wide and with steep drop offs you have to find it if you want to make your par. The tee shot will get your nerves jangling as you are forced to play over a ravine.
A golfers striking and short game will be tested to the maximum with the raised and undulating greens requiring the touch of a genius to master.
The back nine is where this course really comes alive with stunning holes twisting through the wooded valley. Water is scarce on this course but when it is used it is used to perfection to create unbelievable holes.
The par 3 11th is a beauty, at 173 yards the tee shot needs to carry the expanse of water to find the green protected by two large bunkers, one left and one right. Whilst the par 3 16th has to steal the show for the vistas.
Two monster par fours and a monster par five are also waiting on the back nine and finally the 18th, a par 5 that doglegs to the right down the hill. The tee shot to the narrow fairway which slopes gentle from left to right will need to avoid the bunkers to leave a second shot to the gently undulating fairway which will need to avoid the creeks that cross the fairway.
The rating of 150 is an indication of how difficult this course is, but it an absolute must play.