The new Rose-Poulter course is the latest addition to the Stunning Mission Hills Dongguan complex that also offers the designs of Jose Maria Olazabal, Annika Sorenstam, David Leadbetter and Greg Norman. Set within a stunning valley of age old trees and jungle vegetation, the new addition has been designed to create an exciting risk/reward opportunity on many holes and is a great venue for a match play format where players are asked to take chances along the way with less regard to overall medal scoring.
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The course demands much more of the players skills than most courses as the angles of attack must take on dramatic bunkering, often along the center lines of play. The course evokes a much more natural feel with a significant amount of the bunker complexes transitioning into native vegetation, creating a much more flowing and integrated relationship with the outside vegetation and towering mountains.
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Great care has been made in producing a series of unique holes with their own individual character to create a very memorable experience. Massive tee complexes are offered to allow for excellent turf conditions year round. Greens vary in size and shape and from relatively flat to wild and undulating including difficult edges that will repel shots poorly placed.
Quite often, hazards cross the line of play and, despite wide fairways, the direct line of attack is often the best approach. Aggressive play will yield better angles of attack, and in many cases, will result in shots finding speed slots that add significant additional roll and shorten the holes in length. Five par fives are featured and four of them are certainly reachable in two for those who are able to take on the cross bunkering, streams and potential lost ball tree lines. Also integrated to the routing area at least three drivable par fours that will challenge the longer players to execute aggressive tee shots to receptive but dangerous green complexes. Five par threes are offered with a drastic range of lengths from very short to very long.
This is the kind of course that players will enjoy for the ability to produce plenty of low numbers if they bring their “A” game. Aggressive play coupled with poor execution will be punished. At the same time, the smart plodder of a player who selectively maneuvers his way through the holes and brings a sharp short game will often walk away with birdie while the bomber sticks his ball in his pocket and walks to the next tee.
The course is a worthy addition to the Mission Hills complex and may soon be hailed as the best and most challenging.
532 Yards Par 5
A relatively easy opening hole playing from elevated tees. The tee shot plays sharply down hill to a level landing area some 225 yards out from the green before falling quickly. This slope will run the ball closer to the green but the lie and uphill shot will prove difficult. It may be better to lay back to have a go at the green in two. Bunkering is pulled back from the green and leaves a narrow run up fairway cut to an undulating green with tight mow surrounds of shard drop offs. Although relatively short, the hole will yield few birdies.
220 Yards Par 3
Another downhill tee shot makes the well guarded green site appear small. Strong transitional bunkering left will punish balls long and the slightly raised green will see balls run off if not properly placed. An expanded green surface will hold plenty of tee shots but putts are not easy with a strong cross slope to the right.
346 Yards Par 4
The first of many driveable par 4 options on the course. Although playing slightly uphill, a tee shot that aggressively hugs the right tree line and clears a stream can be launched to the green. A new fairway tongue extends out from the green to allow run up shots to roll towards the green. The green is heavily bunkered left and right and a large bunker complex short right in the landing area makes lay-up tee shot location very important. Helpful hint: Take a look at the pin placement while walking off # 1 green to best play your tee shot on #3.
582 Yards Par 5
Another mid-length par 5. The tee shot can aggressively take on a huge, gaping bunker at the turn that is some 5 meters deep. Tees shots up the right side will pay off with a strong forward roll to gain extra length. A wicked series of cross bunkers cuts off the fairway about 75 yards short of the green asking the payer to lay up or take it on. The downhill second shot will sucker players into the aggressive play and the green is set up to accept any kind on shot from a towering ball that drops from the sky to a hot , running bullet that navigates the slope and bunkering. The green is relatively easy but massive bunkering right of the green will certainly punish errant balls that drift right. Great birdie opportunity.
403 Yards Par 4
This hole has seen the introduction of a massive fairway bunker along the left side that requires a strong carry to set up a great angle to the green. The fairway has been significantly tightened and the penalty for missing is much greater. The green is set above the stream crossing the fairway and has a huge bunker short right with plenty of nasty islands and native grasses. Misses to the left will run down a severe fairway slope away from the green, leaving an uphill and blind recovery. The green is, thankfully, quite level and longer putts have the chance to fall. A short but very penal hole.
234 Yards Par 3
A long, slightly uphill par three that is well bunkered short, right and left. Bailout misses are best left short but the optimum tee shot plays to the right edge or even just off the green to find a strong slope that kicks the ball left to the green. Much more dramatic in its presentation with increased bunkering and less room for error but the kick slope has been increased to allow for balls to take some strange bounces. Balls hit directly at the pin will hold unless you over club, leaving a tough up and down.
544 Yards Par 5
The third par 5 on the outward nine is another risk/reward opportunity. The stunning view tee shot plays from high above the wide landing area with a strong series of bunkering up the right side and left of the turn where the fairway necks down to a narrow thread. Bombers will be tempted to fly the bunkers long left to catch a huge drop in elevation and a massive amount of roll, rendering this par 5 into a par 4. The fairway is cut off 100 yards short of the green with a chain of wicked bunkers that ask the player to lay up or blast away. The green is very open at the front and balls carrying the cross bunkers will roll with a strong left to right cross slope to the green. Bunkering at the right side and long must be factored in. The green has a significant amount of movement in the center making long putts and chips difficult to keep close. Another birdie or eagle opportunity for aggressive play.
145 Yards Par 3
The shortest of the five par threes plays from a new, massive tee complex offering plenty of options for yardage. The angled green is almost completely surrounded by deep bunkering that transitions into native vegetation making this a very delicate tee shot to a postage stamp sized green. Very beautiful but very demanding despite its length.
417 Yards Par 4
A very dramatic tee shot with a huge view starts this hole off from the expanded tee surfaces. A huge, long, deep bunker migrates from the right side of the hole to the center line of play asking the player to bite off as much as he wants. Balls left will kick right but the best angle of attack is an aggressive play up the right side of the fairway where strong slopes will send the ball running. The best angle to the green is from the left but strong cross slope will kick balls to the lower right side. The green is set in at a left to right angle with a very deep bunker short right. The back left edge of the green has a saving slope that slightly rises to keep balls on the green surface. Once again, players facing the steep fall off past the landing area may want to lay back to a more level lie for their second shot. The green itself is quite receptive and generally level so attacking the pin is a good play.
384 Yards Par 4 (Signature Hole)
This mid-length par 4 plays left to right into its own little valley creating a very scenic tee shot. Heavily bunkered short right and long left, the best play is towards the bunkers long left to give you the best angle into the green. The cross bunkering that starts well short of the green extends up the right side and a new pot bunker protects the front pin placement on this long thin green. Tee shots right will need to contend with the green side bunkers as well as the tree line along the right edge. On this hole, from the tee, “left” is “right” to best attack any pin.
374 Yards Par 4
Another driveable par 4 opportunity. The hole plays from elevated tees so the yardage will play much shorter. Lay ups need to carry a long cross bunker up the right edge that extends into the fairway. Balls too far up the center will find a deep grass hollow of rough cut and will be well below the green surface; better to lay further back as it is only a wedge approach. Aggressive drives up the right side can fly a centerline bunker and fairway cut short of the green. Left side of the green is a series of deep bunkers and the green is very severe at the front and right edges. Pins along the left edge bunkers can be attacked. Another hole for longer players to attack for the risk /reward payoff.
521 Yards Par 5
Once again, the commanding views from elevated tees allow a huge, long view of the valley below. The fairway seems wide but the left side will present tree trouble for second shots if not properly played. The right edge of the fairway has a long series of bunkers that, if found, will present an easy recovery but a difficult choice for those who wish to carry the stream on their second shot. From the prime landing area, the player is faced with a split fairway decision. The right side is an easier play with less forced carry but leaves a blind third shot from behind a newly introduced ridge of slope and sand. The left side requires more carry but the angle to the green is much easier and the view is open. The green is very severe with the entire left edge rolling off into a strong swale. Bombers will attack directly at the green but long shots will drift into the slope of sand and native grasses. Great risk/reward opportunity here.
448 Yards Par 4
Options abound from this elevated tee on the sweeping right to left hole. A large bunker extends from the left side into the center line of play creating one option of playing up the left side with as much as the player wants to cut off. Balls right will gain roll but end up short of a series of cross bunkers long right, slightly blinding the second shot. Bombers can attempt to fly the long right bunkers and find a fairway extension that pulls up the slope behind, resulting in a huge slingshot of forward roll and shortening the hole by a few clubs. The second shot plays to a well guarded green with a strong backdrop of slope that sees the green surface pulled up to act as a feeder slope to back pins. Strong false fronts along the left edge will pull any balls left creeping along the left edge.
177 Yards Par 3
This medium length par three plays from a large tee complex along the stream edge to a strongly angled green set above a newly introduced bunker complex that extends from the right stream bank. A small pot bunker short left protects the left lobe and a long back bunker and grass swale will swallow balls hit long. The far right pin will prove to be one of the most difficult on the entire course as there is little room for error.
593 Yards Par 5
This long, uphill par five will be a true three shot hole for all except the longest of players. The tee shot plays slightly downhill over the stream to a wide fairway, protected left with bunkering and, in the center, with a small pot bunker that creates two fairway options. Second shot options will need to factor in a strong cross bunker complex that allows play short, over and left but one should factor in the pin placement on this elevated green. The face of the green has no bunkering but the strong slope will require a shot be delivered all the way to the green surface. The surrounds are in rough cut so balls will hang up and leave a manageable recovery to this relatively flat green but balls hit long will find grass lows and bunkering behind. Third shots need to exact accurate yardage to hit and hold this perched green.
400 Yards Par 4
Another short, slightly downhill, drivable par 4 risk reward hole. This one plays left to right to a landing area with a series of flats and slopes that will require proper placement to achieve a level lie. Bunkering narrows down the landing area on both sides but smart, well executed shots will find a speed slot that could propel the ball to just short of the crossing creek with just an iron or rescue club. Aggressive tee shots can be launched to the green, over the creek to a very accepting green/fairway complex. Left of the green sees a large bunker extending from the stream but the right side is very open to play with a back stop of slope in turf. The green us tricky and has some very difficult pins but this is a great opportunity to make a low number if smartly played.
201 Yards Par 3
Very demanding, long par three to a green set above a valley low. Deep bunkering surrounds the green on most sides and a vicious, deep pot bunker is set in the slope at the front. The green is not overly sloping and quite large so finding green surface is key. Not much room for error here and recovery from the edges and side bunkers will be quite difficult on this final par three.
479 Yards Par 4
Long and uphill, this closing hole will seem like a short par five for many players! The tee shot plays slightly uphill with bunkering along the right side that closes in on the center line of play demanding an aggressive angle and carry. The fairway is very wide but play to the right side will result in a difficult second shot as the green is quite elevated and well bunkered on the short right side. Fairway sweeps along the left of the green but few balls will see the strong slope allow any run-up; lofted second shots must fly to the surface to hole this undulated, two-tiered green. Par here is a great score and poor play will result in some big numbers, especially for those who fail to get above the false front edge of the green. Probably the most difficult hole on the course and no lead is safe with this brute of a hole as a finisher!
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