The challenging Olazábal Course at Mission Hills Golf Club will once again play a starring role in the Omega Mission Hills World Cup when 28 competing nations converge upon the venue in Southern China, November 26-29.
Encompassing more than 4,500 acres (18 square kilometers) – roughly the equivalent of five of New York’s Central Parks – and developed on China’s most breathtaking terrain, 12-course Mission Hills is a remarkable place and the epicentre of China’s golf boom.
The Olazábal Course, a par-72, 7,320-yard layout designed by two-time Masters Champion Jose Maria Olazábal in collaboration with Scottsdale, Arizona-based architects Schmidt-Curley Design is Mission Hills’ longest course and one of Asia’s most acclaimed layouts. Characterized by majestic vistas of untouched jungle and crystal-clear lakes, the course boasts 163 bunkers in tribute to Olazábal’s reputation as a master bunker player.
“The Olazabal course is the optimal tournament venue,” says Tenniel Chu, Executive Director of Mission Hills Golf Club. “Not only is it a strong test for the players, but its proximity to the world’s largest clubhouse helps facilitate the complex operations of the event and is key to our mission of bringing the golf experience to a whole new level.”
According to Robert Karlsson and Graeme McDowell, who will be among the favourites to lift the trophy for Sweden and Ireland, respectively, the Olazábal Course’s thought-provoking design will play a significant role in determining this year’s champions.
“It is a very good course and one that is perfect for the World Cup’s format,” said Karlsson, who won the title in partnership with Henrik Stenson 12 months ago.
“All of the par-5s, for example, are odd numbers and that can really help you in the Foursomes format. You can use that to your advantage as we did last year. I teed off on all of the par-5s and then Henrik has the longest 3-wood in golf so we could reach every green.”
Emblematic of the Olazabal Course’s stellar collection of par-5s is its signature hole, the 555-yard, 15th. It doglegs right-to-left around a large lake and is framed by 24 bunkers. A solid drive in the fairway makes reaching in two a possibility, but caution is advised as the green sits on a peninsula jutting out into the water.
“I like the course’s design, it is very visually appealing: it looks stunning,” said Karlsson. I would imagine it was a very difficult piece of land to work with because holes 8 to eleven are down in the valley but José Maria has done a great job there.”
McDowell, who tackled the Olazábal Course last year with Paul McGinley, is relishing the opportunity to return to the biggest golf complex in the world alongside his Irish teammate, Rory McIlroy.
“The course will suit Rory and I because of the way he drives the ball and the power he brings to our team,” said McDowell. “We will have a massive advantage on the par fives and I think we will be strong partners given the course set-up.”
“It looks great and is the biggest golf resort on the planet so the whole experience of going to Mission Hills is awesome.”
“Olly’s golf course is very impressive. The par-5s will be key, and the par threes are tough but fair. You really have to drive the golf ball well; if you can keep it on the fairway off the tee then you will have a great chance.”
Olazábal takes great pride in his Chinese creation. He said: “I am very proud of the course I designed here at Mission Hills, and am confident it will present a stern, yet enjoyable, test for the field. It is quite an honour that it was chosen from among the 12 world-class courses at Mission Hills to host the World Cup.”
European Tour Media Release