Stoneforest International (Leaders’ Peak), Kunming, China
China’s most spectacular course is this 2011 Brian Curley creation high in the mountains of southwestern China. A fistful of holes twist through jagged limestone pillars that resemble a petrified forest, notably the par-4 11th and par-3 12th.
2 of 13No. 16 at Stoneforest / John and Jeannine Henebry
Stoneforest International (Yufeng Ridge), Kunming, China
Nearly as spectacular as its younger sibling, Leaders’ Peak, this 2010 Brian Curley design also boasts a fantasy-calendar layout that features one hole after the next cocooned by incredible rock spires.
3 of 13Brian Morgan
The Club at Nine Bridges, Jeju Island, South Korea
Working under the auspices of Ron Fream’s Golfplan firm, architect David Dale crafted Korea’s top-ranked course and one of the top 50 in the world back in 2002. At times the tumbling terrain resembles Scotland’s Gleneagles. The variety is superb and its tranquility is second to none.
4 of 13No. 6 at South Cape Golf Club / Joann Dost
South Cape Golf Club, South Gyeongsang Province, South Korea
Nestled along the rugged coastline of Namhae Island in southeast Korea, this year-old layout features mountain backdrops and ocean vistas from every hole. It also features a thoughtful Kyle Phillips design that incorporates strategic options, stylish bunkers and granite outcroppings.
5 of 13No. 13 at Anvaya Cove / Tom Breazeale
Anvaya Cove, Morong, Bataan, The Philippines
Less than a year old, this stunner on the West Philippene Sea, 2.5 hours from downtown Manila was designed by Golfplan’s Kevin Ramsey and takes maximum advantage of its multitude of settings. Some holes are draped alongside the beach, others are above it on bluffs and still others zigzag through the jungle.
6 of 13No. 8 at Mission Hills (Blackstone) / Tom Breazeale
Mission Hills Resort Haikou (Blackstone), Haikou, Hainan Island, China
Schmidt-Curley’s 10-course offering at the newest Mission Hills complex features something for everybody, notably its tournament-ready Blackstone, Asia’s first true tournament track. Situated in southernmost China, Blackstone rolls out a relentless lineup of heavily bunkered holes draped atop black volcanic rock, with forced carries over jungle, rock and sand the norm.
7 of 13No. 15 at Mission Hills (Olazabal) / Tom Breazeale
Mission Hills Resort Shenzhen (Olazabal), Shenzhen, China
Twelve courses, three clubhouses, one of them 630,000-square-feet, adds up to the Guinness Book of World Records' biggest golf club on earth. Most striking of the dozen is the Olazabal spread, designed by Brian Curley, with input from the Spanish maestro, which features wild elevation changes and bold bunkers.
8 of 13No. 18 at Bluffs Ho Tram Strip / Tom Eubank
Bluffs Ho Tram Strip, Ba Ria Vung Tau, Vietnam
Greg Norman’s newest design is two hours from Ho Chi Minh City, along Vietnam’s south-central coast and is routed over and around towering seaside sand dunes. Complementing the shoreline vistas is a national forest that surrounds the property.
9 of 13No. 15 at Kawana Hotel (Fuji) / Brian Morgan
Kawana Hotel (Fuji), Kawana, Japan
Japan’s answer to Pebble Beach is this 1936 creation from legendary British architect C.H. Alison, with help from Kinta Fujita that boasts staggering views of snow-capped Mt. Fuji and cliff-top panoramas of the Pacific Ocean. Alison’s superb bunkering and strategies mix with undulating terrain that make it worth the 3-hour trip from Tokyo.
10 of 13No. 17 at Amata Spring / Getty Images
Amata Spring, Chonburi, Thailand
Asia’s first and only floating island green is the product of the Lee Schmidt-Brian Curley design team, both of whom once worked for Pete Dye. Fortunately, Sergio Garcia handled this hole better in winning the 2013 Thailand Golf Championship than he did the TPC Sawgrass version earlier in the year, when he splashed twice in his unsuccessful bid to beat Tiger Woods.
11 of 13No. 2 at Sheshan International / Getty Images
Sheshan International, Shanghai, China
Longtime host to the WGC-HSBC Champions event, where winners have included Phil Mickelson, Martin Kaymer and Dustin Johnson, this 2004 Nelson/Haworth design 30 minutes west of downtown Shanghai sports a vast rock quarry that influences play late in the round. Spare-no-expense landscaping and significant elevation changes further boost the wow factor.
12 of 13No. 9 at Spring City Resort / Getty Images
Spring City Resort, Kunming, China
Robert Trent Jones II designed the Lake course here, Jack Nicklaus the Mountain course. Both are superb, scenic tracks, but the drama quotient is highest on the Jones design, especially the mid-round holes that are cut into a massive hill that looks out over an equally massive lake.
13 of 13Getty Images
Reignwood Pine Valley, Nankou, Beijing, China
Situated 35 miles west of Beijing, this Jack Nicklaus-designed, 36-hole complex was the site of a recent LPGA event, where Mirim Lee edged Stacy Lewis (pictured). Sprawling bunkers, vast lakes, mountain backdrops and stellar views of the Great Wall at Badaling provide the eye candy.
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