Named for the son of a dragon king in Chinese myth, Yalong Bay Golf Club sits on the resort island of Hainan-known as the Hawaii of China-30 minutes from the Phoenix International Airport. The first of two courses at Yalong Bay has already earned international accolades and hosted major tournaments.
Robert Trent Jones II created a links-style course that encompasses waterfalls, coconut palms, and other tropical features. Ninety-eight bunker "beaches" compliment the nearby ocean beaches, and a river winding through the course proves an additional hazard on a number of holes.
Describing the architectural concept for the course Robert Trent Jones, Jr., says, "We set out to create a championship linksland resort course. The gentle, rolling terrain has been transformed by use of native sands mimicking ancient natural dunes. A golf course carefully designed to include native grasses and coastal vegetation appears to grow out of spaces that nature formed. We created the lakes and marsh areas to catch and retain rainfall runoff so as to make a sizable contribution to building and maintaining the underground aquifer."
RTJ II has been creating environmentally responsible golf courses for more than 40 years. At Yalong Bay we actually improved upon natural conditions. As Jones, Jr. explains, "The created environment will not only clean the air every day but add enough oxygen to support several hundred people. It will also provide new habitat for birds, fish, and other wildlife."
Jones has already figured new ways in which the second course at Yalong Bay can help the environment. "The second nine will use existing trees, fauna, and watershed deltas to reduce the loss of fresh water to the sea and also reduce soil erosion from the adjacent mountains," he says.