Schmidt-Curley Course Opens in China

Schmidt-Curley Design has announced that Dragon Valley, its second golf course design on China's Hainan Island, is open for play.

Located in the resort area of Sanya, Dragon Valley offers mountain backdrops and panoramic views of the island commonly referred to as "China's Hawaii." The par-72, 7,173-yard layout is carved out of volcanic hillsides and dotted with natural lakes and streams. The back nine opened in November, while the front nine will debut in February.

A "core" course, Dragon Valley has no residential properties within its boundaries. Its greens are grassed with SeaDwarf Paspalum, while the tees, fairways and roughs are Salam Paspalum. Both strains are noted for their rich color, resistance to wear and strong tolerance to drought and over-watering.

"Dragon Valley has been well received by members and visitors alike," says Lee Schmidt, principal of Schmidt-Curley Design. "Although challenging for the better player, it's also enjoyable for higher handicappers as we've incorporated generous landing areas and many flat-bottomed bunkers."

The 439-yard, par-4 18th hole is a particularly memorable. A large boulder discovered while clearing the property, and a banyan tree, guard the inside of the dogleg-right. The second shot must negotiate bunkers front and back to find the undulating, clover-shaped green.

Seventeen is another gem. The 163-yard par-3 features a small peninsula green jutting into a lake. Club selection must be spot-on, as swirling winds through the valley wreak havoc with shots.

"Hainan Island is a region of great priority for our firm," says Schmidt. "Our office in Haikou is extremely busy and we'll have many additional exciting projects to announce in 2010."

Schmidt-Curley master-planned the massive Mission Hills Golf Club and is architect of record for 10 of its 12 courses, including the acclaimed Olazabal Course, site of the Omega Mission Hills World Cup. From 2002-04, the firm oversaw perhaps the most ambitious golf course construction project in history when five Mission Hills golf courses were completed in a 14-month span.

For more information about the firm, visit or call 480/483-1994.