Mission Hills, Hainan was an ambitious project in the first place, but the course that stands out as perhaps the most difficult and ambitious design of all is the Shadow Dunes Course.
Not the longest course at the resort, Shadow Dunes comes in at 6428-yards and has a par of 70.
Shadow Dunes, arguably has the most character, in terms of design and is the one course that seems to sit apart from the rest.
So what makes this course so different?
Well, to begin it required an immense amount of earth moving, placed on top of the volcanic lava formations, to create what seemingly is a natural beachside golf course.
Like many of the links courses found on the east coast of Scotland, Shadow Dunes, unsurprisingly considering its name, is a unique environment of massive sand dunes and native coastal vegetation.
It has created a natural habitat for many native species and virtually no lava rock can be seen.
With all of the effort required to create the form that this course has, credit has to be giving to Curley and his team for such a well moulded creation, and that is exactly what it is, a creation.
The fairways are “rippled” much like those of traditional coastal links, and the greens are simply massive, averaging over 11,500 square feet in size.
Get your clubbing wrong to some of these greens and you will be faced with possibly the longest putt you will ever experience.
But it is this variation, diversity and individuality that gives this course its charm.
The only negative would have to be the way the course blends from fairway to green structures, it makes for playing a links-style game almost impossible as the ball needs to be flown onto the greens rather than bumped into them, but this would be a purist’s vision of the design.
The 2nd is a strong hole, a dogleg par four which leads into a monstrously large and undulating towards its centre can create some interesting putts and chips.
A 40000-square foot, triple tiered green awaits on the 5th, with some saying that the green would be better suited to either the 7th or 13th hole.
I disagree and believe that the 13th hole, as is, is one of the best and unsurprisingly it is a par 3, heavily contoured which fits perfectly into the design and position on the golf course.
Some may say that the course has a couple of “mickey mouse” holes on, but it is hard to criticise the design or the construction of the course, considering it took just 3 months to build and complete.
Given time to settle and mature, The Shadow Dunes course, with a few minor adjustments to the contouring will become a firm favourite amongst visitors to Mission Hills, Hainan.