There's little doubt, as we enter the second decade of the twenty-first century, that a substantial part of golf's growth over the next ten years will happen in China.
Despite a moratorium on golf course construction, golf developments are springing up in China at a rate unimaginable elsewhere in the world. And some of those developments are downright audacious. They're the kind of venues that stun even the most blasé of visitors with their grandeur, and make their way into record books for their size. Like sprawling Mission Hills in Shenzhen, where the Molinari brothers recently won the World Cup.
In a fascinating piece for Financial Times Weekend Magazine, award-winning China-based writer Dan Washburn, investigates the country's latest over-the-top golf development, the mysterious place currently known as Project 791.
Though parts of it are nearing completion, it's still shrouded in secrecy. What is known however, is that this development located on Hainan Island, in the South China Sea, will ultimately feature 22 courses along with myriad clubhouses, opulent villas and luxury resort hotels. It will soon be known, the world over, as Mission Hills Hainan, and it will take over as the largest golf venue in the world.
Mr. Washburn who's been living in China since 2002, does an excellent job exploring the history and culture that have led to the exponential growth of golf in the country. He also ventures into the cloistered villages of Hainan and speaks to the indigenous people whose lives will soon be transformed by Project 791. I'd highly recommend his story.
And if you're interested in keeping up with the development of golf in China, Dan Washburn is definitely a person to follow. He's a founding editor of Shanghaiist and currently researching a book on the development of golf in China.