Our inaugural China golf tour concluded recently after 14 days of oriental delights! The tour commenced in Beijing, where we were based in the city, which allowed us to get out and about in the evenings and meet the locals. There were lots of people exercising in groups to music on the streets, which proved quite entertaining – some of the group even joined in apparently!
Our first day on the ground took us to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, headquarters of the Imperial Emperors for more than 500 years. This area is visited by the Chinese in great numbers, so it's just as well that the areas are large! In the afternoon we got to see the Giant Pandas, much to everyone’s delight. Our first round of golf was at Huatang, just outside Beijing and the caddies wore the smartest uniforms I have seen for a while. It was a good course to play for everyone, albeit the club did run out of cold beer after the round – obviously not used to Kiwi groups! Our last day in Beijing took us to a section of the Great Wall, where we were able to take a cable car up to walk along a length of it. It is an amazing feat of engineering, which I am reliably informed cannot be seen from space! A big 'bucket list tick’ for many.
Next stop was Xi’an, home of the Terracotta Warriors, which we travelled to on China’s version of the bullet train, travelling at 300kph and a comfortable ride it was too. We had two rounds of golf here, along with a day’s outing to see the Terracotta Warriors. An incredible experience to see the size and magnitude of the area that contains the warriors, two thirds of which have yet to be uncovered.
Our third stop was to Shenzhen and the largest Golf Club in the world – Mission Hills, with its 12 golf courses, spread over three areas around Shenzhen and Dongguan. The group were awed by the scale of the resort but settled into the four rounds of golf we had here. Midway through we had a break for a trip to Shenzhen – we were all surprised to see how close Hong Kong was – just across the river. The last course we played is rated the hardest at Mission Hills and with the overnight monsoon rain we had, it made the Norman course one to remember for quite some time! There were plenty of shared meals, an Acrobatic show, a Tang Dynasty show and other memorable times had together, all of which helped to make the tour a great success, not least because of having a wonderful group of Kiwis, all of whom were there to enjoy themselves! If you would like to experience a little of China and get the chance to tick off a couple of bucket list activities, then why don’t you join us next year, when we will be running this tour again? Details will be up on the website in a few weeks time.