Shanghai is quickly becoming an international destination for world-class golf contenders. The city attracts multinational CEOs and entrepreneurial jet setters that play as hard as they work. In the past decade, several beautiful courses have emerged and, with them, PGA golfers earning new recognition for the game in China.
Just 40 minutes west of downtown Shanghai lays this 18-hole, 72-par course set amidst a forested hillside at the base of Sheshan Mountain. The home of the World Golf Championship-HSBC Champions tournament (which just returned to the club in 2013), Sheshan set the scene for Chinese favorite Phil Mickelson’s victory over Tiger Woods in 2009. Greats like Francesco Molinari, Martin Kaymer and Lee Westwood have also celebrated major achievements on this challenging course. Designed by Nelson & Haworth, the course is a dramatic 7,143-yard layout spread with numerous valleys and a deep rock quarry on the 16th and 17th holes. The Tuscan-style clubhouse is one of the most exclusive properties in Shanghai with residential real estate, Western and Chinese culinary options including a fine-dining Italian restaurant and recreational facilities that include fitness and dance studios, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis, basketball and squash courts, 10 pin bowling and billiards. When you head back to the city, reward yourself with a visit to Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star The Peninsula Spa by ESPA, Shanghai. The spa’s Bamboo Harmoniser treatment targets sore spots and stress issues.
Sun Island, also known as Mao Island, houses Mao Pagoda, one of China’s five ancient lighthouses dating back to the Tang Dynasty. Today, the area, located about an hour from downtown, has been transformed into a sumptuous resort that meshes golf with holiday villas, international conference halls and hot springs. Comprised of two 18-hole target golf courses, the Old Course and the New Course are generally flat and manicured when compared with more challenging link courses. However, obstacles include water hazards, strong winds and long sweeping fairways. The club is home to the Volvo China Open and has been named one of the “Top 10 Golf Courses in Shanghai” by Golf Digest. If you want to stay in the heart of Shanghai, book a room at Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund — the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel has a fleet of handsome house cars, as well as access to a car service, so you don’t have to worry about navigating to and from the golf course.
Designed by Australian firm Pacific Coast Design, the championship Tianma Country Club covers more than 2,800 acres and includes three courses. The club features rolling fairways, spectacular lakes, mixed level holes while the instant drainage system ensures that inclement weather doesn’t get in the way of a round. The clubhouse, lakeside garden and outdoor entertaining area make this country club ideal for management retreats, and a quick, 30-minute commute from the city makes it a prime location for weekend getaways. When you’re not golfing, head to Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Chuan Spa at The Langham, Xintiandi, Shanghai for a rejuvenating treatment — we suggest the Chuan Feet Retreat that incorporates a soak, oil-and-salt exfoliation, specialized foot mask and some pressure point work to get you back on your feet in no time.
Photos Courtesy of Shanghai Sheshan-International Golf Club, Shanghai Sun Island International Club Pte Ltd and Tianma Country Club