Golf Digest China has biennially released prestigious rankings of the top courses in China since 2006, following the lead of its parent publication, Golf Digest. After a rigorous two-year evaluation process and employing the opinion and research of 84 qualified judges—influencers in and out of the golf industry, actors, philanthropists, golf course owners, professional golf course managers, designers, planners, industry experts, media representatives, and low-handicap members of the magazine’s readership—an awards ceremony was held in Beijing. During the event, six Nicklaus Design courses (almost a third of the firm’s total in China) received prestigious recognition.
Top-10 Golf Courses in China
Two Nicklaus Design layouts were named to the top-10 in the biennial list of Top 100 Golf Courses in China. The Jack Nicklaus-designed Shanghai Links Golf & Country Club, located in Pudong New Area, Shanghai, was named No. 3 on the list, while Shadow Creek, a Nicklaus Design course, came in at No. 10.
The Golden Bear’s Shanghai Links design, rated the No. 3 Best Golf Course in China, features beautiful sea views, world-class facilities, and professional management. It is one of the most prestigious courses in the area, and variable wind speeds coming off the water make it a challenge. The golf course includes Irish dune-like sand traps and 14 lakes that serve as water traps and storm water drainage for the adjacent Shanghai Links Executive Community. The golf course has hosted a variety of international golf tournaments.
Shadow Creek features numerous ragged-edged waste and greenside bunkers, wide fairways and an emphasis on risk and reward on approach shots. Set on what was previously flat land along the Wenyu River, the par-72, 7,302-yard layout has made good use of the landscape ,with six holes along the water and others beside the mature trees line that borders the property.
Top-10 New Golf Courses in China
In the Top 10 New Golf Courses list, Golf Digest China recognized three Nicklaus Design courses. The Master Course at Lake Malaren, which opened in 2011, was ranked No. 3. Lake Malaren is a Jack Nicklaus Legacy Golf Course designed by Jack Nicklaus, with son Jack Nicklaus II as the lead designer. It was the first Jack Nicklaus Legacy Course to open in Asia. The course is characterized as a “natural parkland” style that incorporates many natural elements, such as trees, natural grasses, lakes and streams, and a strong rolling topography, into its design. The course features a significant amount of elevation change and a wide variety of different golf shots.
Golf Digest China ranked Lan Hai International No. 8 on its Top-10 New Golf Courses in China list. Situated on the western shore of Chongming Island, the course features stunning natural, scenic backdrops of coastline. The winding fairways, concealed sand traps, natural vegetation, and the ever-changing sea breeze provide this unspoiled Links course with abundant challenges and thrills. The Nicklaus Design course opened for play in 2012.
Caofeidian Wetlands International Golf Club came in at No. 10 on the list of the Top New Golf Courses in China. Opened in 2008, the course is located near Tangshan City, 200 kilometers from Beijing. The course is a 54-hole international championship layout.
Best Golf Community
Shadow Creek was also named the No. 1 Best Golf Community by Golf Digest China. The Beijing-based course was designed by Nicklaus Design. With meticulous attention to detail, Shadow Creek stands out among other luxury residences located in the Central Villa District. Residents have easy access to a full range of business and entertainment facilities, including their own exclusive, plush European-style clubhouse plus a salon and spa, a shopping mall, choice of restaurants, a supermarket and other commercial outlets.
Pine Valley in Beijing, featuring 54 holes of Nicklaus Design golf, was named the No. 1 Best Club in Golf Digest China’s 2012-2013 rankings. Pine Valley became the first invitation-only golf club in China when it opened for play in 2001. The club features world-class design, private club space and an international management team. Members include presidents, CEOs and general managers of multinational groups, renowned domestic enterprises and celebrities and elites from various industries.