Jose Maria Olazabal’s course at Mission Hills is his first in China. The driving design philosophy behind this course was to create a beautiful, unique, harmonious and playable course for all golfers. A strong effort was made to create a demanding tournament venue that stretches to the back tees. Olazabal’s reputation as one of the game’s best sand golfers is reflected with over 160 menacing bunkers. The Olazabal Course is also the longest course at Mission Hills, covering over 7,400 yards.
Hole #1 – 447 Yards Par 4
The opening hole features a downhill tee shot to a wide landing area with bunkers right. Favor the left side and you’ll get a strong kick toward the center of the fairway. The second shot demands accuracy to hit the well-bunkered green, especially on the right side. This is a strong opening hole that foreshadows the challenge presented by the rest of the course.
Hole #2 – 175 Yards Par 3
This downhill par 3 will play substantially shorter than the scorecard indicates. The green is guarded by sand and offers little room for error except for short shots.
Hole #3 – 548 Yards Par 5
The downhill drive will tempt players to carry the bunker complex inside the left turn. If executed, shots will receive an enormous kick forward, raising the option of going at the green in two. The green is slightly raised with deep bunkering left and an open channel cutting diagonally across the front about 30 yards short of the green. An eagle is not outside the realm of possibility.
Hole #4 – 441 Yards Par 4
Slightly uphill with a right-to-left dogleg, this hole is moderately long. The landing area is wide but protected by bunkers and the green will accept run-up shots only to the left side. Two good shots are required to hit this green in regulation.
Hole #5 – 176 Yards Par 3
High atop a hillside, this par 3 plays to a green ringed by bunkers and perched at the apex of a hill yielding spectacular views. Back left pin placements can be attacked by feeding the ball from the center but too much roll will cause it to trickle into a depression off the green.
Hole #6 – 476 Yards Par 4
Perhaps the most difficult par 4 on the course, the drive must be long and straight to find the narrow, rippled fairway protected by bunkers left and out-of-bounds right. The green complex is open to the right and will receive second shots that are bounced in, but the hole is still quite tough.
Hole #7 – 566 Yards Par 5
A double-dogleg par 5 that turns right through a series of bunkers and then back left before dropping down to a heavily-bunkered green. If the green is out of reach for your second shot, play right of the cross-bunkers for the best look at the green. The green site is set at an angle and fortified by several, high-flashed bunkers. Verdant slopes tower above the hole.
Hole #8 – 214 Yards Par 3
From substantially-elevated tees, this one-shotter plays to a very large green site with room to miss left but protected by a series of sinister, deep bunkers right.
Hole #9 – 573 Yards Par 5
Spectacular and downhill from the tee, this long par 5 features a narrow, heavily-bunkered landing area with little room for error. The hole then heads uphill to a green complex guarded by sand left and right. Second shots should favor the right side, but beware the forested hillside that’s precariously close to the line of play.
Hole #10 – 404 Yards Par 4
Wicked, wild bunkering runs up the left side of this uphill hole. An accurate tee shot that finds the left side of the fairway will set up the easiest approach. There’s ample room left of the green for players who pull their short iron second.
Hole #11 – 568 Yards Par 5
A downhill, double-dogleg par 5 that can be played conservatively or aggressively. The bold play off the tee is to challenge the right side, but vegetation and a stream will swallow shots that leak too far right. The stream then cuts in front of the green creating differing lay-up possibilities. The green is protected left by bunkers and a pond. Played aggressively, there’s a chance to shine — or wreck.
Hole #12 – 457 Yards Par 4
Uphill and turning quickly left, this hole offers the opportunity for long hitters to fly it over bunkers and cut the corner. The best angle to attack the green is from the left as the slightly elevated green is well-protected to the right. A beautiful backdrop of lush vegetation frames this strong par 4.
Hole #13 – 241 Yards Par 3
Long and demanding, this hole’s green is the largest on the course. The front of it is protected by a very deep, solitary bunker.
Hole #14 – 401 Yards Par 4
Doglegging right, this short hole is easily negotiated if tee shots are kept left and avoid a long series of bunkers on the right side. The green is well protected but open in front and will accept shots that are bounced in. Very intimidating from the tee, this hole will play easier than it appears.
The signature hole turns strongly right-to-left around an enormous reservoir and features a wild display of bunkering stretching from the landing area all the way to the green. Keep your drive right and use the slope to kick to the center of the fairway. Long hitters will be tempted to go at the green, but will have to clear the water. Conservative second shots should be played to a large landing area beyond a deep open channel. From there, a wedge can be played to the green. Conservative play will yield good scores here; attack only if you are willing to pay the price!
Hole #16 – 432 Yards Par 4
This tee shot is somewhat demanding as the landing area is set on a narrow plateau with deep bunkers left. Aim right toward the target bunker and let the ball feed to the left. Long tee shots will receive even more forward roll toward the green, which is protected by a swath of bunkers. Back left pins can be attacked by feeding the ball from the center of the green.
Hole #17 – 197 Yards Par 3
With Guanyin in the distance, this demanding par 3 plays to a slightly raised green circled by sand. The right side of the green falls away quite quickly and can leave delicate chips. Par is an excellent score here.
Hole #18 – 460 Yards Par 4
Perhaps the most difficult finishing hole in the entire Mission Hills complex. Water intimidates down the left from tee to green and the enormous Dongguan Clubhouse looms on the right. The green is perched above water and yawning bunkers await shots pushed right. An ideal hole to decide the World Cup champion, or settle a friendly match.