Yalong Bay GC was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jnr, and opened in 2000.
Located in Sanya on Hainan Island, Yalong Bay was conceived as a tropical links style course....
It does have a sandy base, and is shaped to evoke a rolling linksy feel. But there the comparison ends as water plays a major role in many of the holes, and the swaying palm trees and the warmer climate grasses don't really have you considering playing the bump and run...
That aside Yalong Bay was designed as a championship layout, and indeed it has hosted quite a number of significant tournaments over the last decade or so. It is perfectly located.
All the big name five star hotels sit right on the beach, and the golf course is right across the road from them. You can't see the beach, but it isn't far away...
The river that originally ran through the site has been well utilised with water featuring on quite a number of holes.
As a general statement the bunkering dominates the eye on each hole. But the bunkering is also largely strategic- take note- Trent Jones is telling you where you should play... and what your options are.
The greens have enough movement to make them challenging. I found them slow and with plenty of grain so holing out was not so easy.
My favourite hole was the par 5 13th hole- a cape style hole which wraps itself around the water. You choose how much water to take on for the drive and the 2nd shot, and then approach the green perched on a tabletop projecting into the water with a short iron. It is a lovely hole.
The par 5 16th however takes things a little further. Another par 5 with water running down the right side for the first 2 shots, the approach shot needs to clear a wide expanse of water to get to the green. Depending on your length this can mean a very long 3rd shot, and a difficult one.
I thought this hole just a little penal.
Yalong Bay does require you to play every club in your bag- there are short par 3's, and par 3's exceeding 200 metres, driveable par 4's and par 4's only the longer hits can reach- it has them all.
Sanya and Hainan Island are known as China's Hawaii.
The hotels, beaches and climate are wonderful.
If you are heading that way and want to add some golf I would suggest you play Yalong Bay.
You will be well looked after, and enjoy your day.
The Travelling Golfer