Fine China: This newcomer could be Hainan Island's best layout yet
Mission Hills Resort Haikou (Blackstone) Haikou, Hainan Island, China 7,808 yards, par 73 Green fees: $185-$215 011-86-898-6868-3888 missionhillschina.com The task was daunting: Try to top the Guinness Book's world-record holder for the largest golf club on earth. It hasn't happened yet, but the Mission Hills Resort Haikou is poised to knock its predecessor off its lofty perch. Mission Hills' Shenzhen facility on the Chinese mainland earned the record in 2004 with 10 courses and three clubhouses.
The course count there now numbers 12. Seven years later, its Hainan Island sibling (an hour's flight to the south) is well on its way, with 10 courses. The leadoff hitter at Haikou is China's first true tournament track, the aptly named Blackstone. Architect Brian Curley sculpted a massive layout from ancient black volcanic rock, which borders nearly every fairway, eliminating the need for conventional rough.
The lava rock will challenge teams in the Omega Mission Hills World Cup, to be played here November 24-27. Still, for the defending champion Molinari brothers of Italy and for Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy and partner Graeme McDowell, among others, the primary perils might be the jungle-edged ravines, the gargantuan bunkers ringing the greens and the sheer length itself. If organizers wanted to test the best—as well as smacking around the average resort guest—this is Mission accomplished.