The Vijay Course at Mission Hills, China was designed and constructed principally by Lee Schmidt and Brian Curley with input from former World Number 1 golfer, Fijian Vijay Singh. Although called the Vijay course, Singh actually had very little to do with the design.
Overall the course is very much an innovation with some interesting design features, you will need to play from the back tees to really enjoy these features which generally do not come into play from the forward tees. Although for the average golfer, playing from the back tees could pose a challenge too strong to actually get any enjoyment from it.
At 6,883 it is not long by todays standards, but the strategic positioning of bunkers and the use of water hazards makes for a tough game.
It is a very flat course and it is the use of the deep bunkers, which in some instances requires the use of stairs to enter and exit and the water hazards which aid with the visual aesthetics of the course.
As with many of the Asian courses a caddy service is available and although they are not obligatory it is necessary to use a buggy to get around the course.
The greens are extremely difficult with steep slopes and undulations, which depending on the pin positions can make putting almost impossible, which is one of the features of this course.
Hole 3 a par four is where you will find the first distinctive design feature of the course a bunker that runs 150 yards along the side of the water creating a “beach bunker”.
Singh took some of his ideas from his vast experience of championship courses and tried to integrate them in to the course at Mission Hills Golf Club, and in general they have worked.
Perhaps the most impressive of these designs innovations is the green complex on the par 5 tenth. A crescent shaped hole with water to the left the hole sweeps it way around to the green which is perched on the top of a rock wall, creating a visually impressive green which is guarded by bunkers.
Unusually the 10th is followed by another par 5. The hole has a double fairway and offers a chance to get home in two. If you choose to lay up ensure that you miss the long, deep fairway bunker some 150 yards short of the green to allow a relatively straightforward approach in to the green.
Coming home you play up towards the hotel, where you can enjoy fine cuisine. The 18th stretches up hill to the hotel and requires both length and accuracy to avoid wrecking your scorecard on the last. Bunkers protect the green on both sides so to ensure a chance of par finding the green is a must.
The course is perhaps not one of the “best” courses at Mission Hils Golf Club but is certainly worth a visit.