Discovery Bay Golf Club
This Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed course on Lantau Island is a twenty-seven-hole facility (in 1992 a new nine joined the eighteen that opened in 1984) consisting of the par-36 Diamond course (3,325 yards), the par-36 Ruby course (3,348) and the par-35 Jade course (3,257). The Diamond-Ruby is the original layout, set seven hundred feet above the South China Sea and offering spectacular views of Hong Kong's harbor and the Central skyline. It's a tough mountain course whose narrow fairways invariably encourage shots toward trees or deep gullies. The first hole on the Diamond is representative of what follows: A par four of only 369 yards, it features a yawning hazard on the right side of the skinny fairway--an intimidating prospect for the first shot of the day. The wind can be fearsome, and with the course's array of effective hazards there is a good chance you won't finish with the ball you started out with. Carts, but not caddies, are available; pull-carts are free. After a round, there are four restaurants from which to choose, and the lounge near the eighteenth green (called a "spike" bar because you can wear your golf shoes) and the veranda offer great views of the course and the sea.
How to Get a Tee Time: Call at least two days in advance. Nonmember play is restricted to Monday, Tuesday and Friday. Your concierge can make the arrangements. The phone number is 011-852-2987-7273. (Clubs and shoes are available for rent, but it's best to arrange for them when booking your tee time.)
Directions From Hong Kong: Take the Lantau Island ferry from the Star Ferry pier in Central, a twenty-five-minute trip. Hovercraft service is also available. For the schedule, call 011-852-2987-7351.
Sand River Golf Club
Most of this Gary Player-designed course is on land reclaimed from Shenzhen Bay. It opened in 1995, with a final nine of the twenty-seven-hole facility to be ready for play this spring. Water is everywhere--in play on all the holes but one--so accuracy is paramount, but the fairways are generally flat and usually in excellent condition. The Bermuda greens are heavily bunkered, and putting surfaces tend to be fast. Typical of a Player course, the par fives play short, but with surprises awaiting those who try to reach the green in two. The Championship eighteen measures 7,271 yards and is being considered as the site for a number of upcoming professional tournaments. A theme park serves as backdrop to the Academy nine (par thirty-six, 3,271 yards). On your approach to the par-five fourteenth, you will be hitting toward a replica of the Eiffel Tower, one-third the size of the original. The Academy has lights, so this facility has the distinction of offering the first night golf in China.
How to Get a Tee Time: In Hong Kong make arrangements ahead of time by calling (or having your concierge call) 800-938-079, or call the club in Shenzhen at 011-86-755-690-2211. Weekdays are best for visitors. (Clubs and shoes are available for rent.)
Directions From Hong Kong: Call 800-938-079 from Hong Kong to book a seat on the Sand River shuttle that leaves from Central. It will take you to the Lok Ma Chau transit station, where you pass through immigration and board another shuttle bus for a forty-minute ride to the club.