For years my gripe with golf in China, was that moderately talented designers were prolific in the country while the really gifted architects were unable to get their foot in the door. The worm has definitely started turning, with good architects winning plum jobs and the best new Chinese courses much better than those thrown up in previous years.
Leading the way is the new Lava Fields course at the Mission Hills Resort on Hainan Island. Designed by Brian Curley, the mastermind behind 9 other courses here, Lava Fields features the rare (for China) mix of high-quality and sophisticated shaping with really interesting ground movement and strategic design. It’s the best course that I’ve seen in China, and its success serves to condemn those in the industry all too fond of telling me that you can’t create great golf here.