Schmidt-Curley announces new courses at Mission Hills

By November 2, 2010, 7:06 pm

The WGC-HSBC Champions is returning to Shanghai. But that's not the only reason you should give China's golf courses a second look.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Schmidt-Curley Design, one of the world's most active and innovative golf course design firms, announces three new courses have opened for play at Mission Hills Resort Hainan, China, the country's only tropical island which the government announced would be developed into an International Tourism Resort by 2020.

Designed by company co-founder and 25-year industry veteran Brian Curley, the new Blackstone, Stone Outback and Stone Ruins courses are Schmidt-Curley's latest collaboration with Mission Hills China, Asia's leader in sports and leisure development. The firm is architect of record for 10 of Mission Hills Shenzhen's 12 acclaimed golf courses.

Set on tropical Hainan Island – popularly referred to as the 'Hawaii of the East' – and just 15 minutes from Haikou Meilan International Airport and downtown, the courses are destined to be regarded among Asia's finest layouts and the world's greatest collection of volcanic golf courses. The Blackstone Course has already been tabbed to host the 2010 Mission Hills Star Trophy and 2011 Omega Mission Hills World Cup.

Blackstone Course

Blackstone is a 350-acre core golf course that weaves through a striking landscape of mature trees; thick, jungle vegetation; and expansive lakes and wetlands. To make construction possible, the site's dominating characteristic – a dense bed of lava rock – was capped to an average depth of over one meter with soil transported from 20 miles away.

'The volcanic theme is integral to the design,' says Curley. 'Wild, irregular bunker edges and transitional sand areas meld seamlessly into the lava rock framing many holes. Uncapped portions of the lava bed periodically cross the line of play, requiring forced carries and creating a dramatic visual contrast to the vibrant, green turf and sand. We also incorporated lava rock walls and ancient village ruins as a testament to the site's past.'

Dramatic elevation changes punctuate the rolling topography. To preserve the abundant lava rock and stately trees, great care was taken to discover as many natural holes as possible. Paspallum fairways gently sweep across the land and were routed to maximize surface drainage thereby limiting drain inlets commonly found on the region's courses.

'We wanted it to appear as if liquid turf was poured from the sky and flowed along the terrain just as the lava did centuries ago,' says Curley.

'From tee to green, players experience an immaculate blanket of turf – Blackstone does not feature any rough, even on bunker fingers and surrounds,' says Curley. 'The hard-line edges associated with most golf courses are non-existent.'

The course begins in the more heavily wooded portion of the property with a compelling variety of holes and natural amphitheater green settings. It crescendos by snaking through raised terrain, offering excellent spectator vantage points for the closing holes. Intimate green to tee relationships will make the course easily walkable for players and spectators alike when it hosts major international tournaments.

Says Curley: 'At over 7,600 yards and with several risk / reward opportunities on the inward nine, Blackstone will quickly prove to be one of the world's premier tournament courses. We created not only an outstanding tournament layout, but one planned with all the facilities and accoutrements needed to host the sport's biggest events.'

Stone Outback Course

Inspired by the Australian Sandbelt's iconic courses, Stone Outback is distinguished by large, high-flashed bunkers with crisp, thick lips rising above fairway and green surfaces. The gently rolling site is populated with Eucalyptus trees, further evoking its Australian influences of Royal Melbourne, Kingston Heath and Metropolitan Golf Club.

'While some of the bunkers are formal and surrounded by turf, many transition without a clean edge to the native jungle vegetation bordering holes,' says Curley. 'This creates a unique and much more natural landscape.'

Its wide playing corridors – with fairways featuring only surface drainage – encourage second-shot creativity into large, undulating greens. Square tee boxes add to the distinct look. Like the Blackstone and Stone Ruins courses, it sprawls over a huge expanse of land yet offers adjacent greens and tees to promote walking.

Stone Ruins Course

Stone Ruins pays homage to the classic American golf courses built at the turn of the 20th century. It has a distinct, authentic feel – holes were routed to leave the densely forested site as undisturbed as possible – and is marked by quirky features typically associated with revered courses such as National Golf Links, Chicago Golf Club and others. Abrupt mounding; deep pot bunkers; severe ridges; blind shots; varied, sometimes geometric, bunkering; an array of green sizes and wicker basket pins are highlights.

'The oldest course in China is a new course in Haikou,' says Curley. 'Stone Ruins provides a welcome relief from the many cookie-cutter layouts that dominate golf today, recalling an architecture period when experimentation and expression were much more openly embraced.'

For more information about completed and current projects, visit or call 480.483.1994.

About Schmidt-Curley Design

Founded by partners Lee Schmidt and Brian Curley with offices in Scottsdale, Arizona; Haikou, Hainan Island, China and Kunming, China, Schmidt-Curley is a full-service, international golf course architecture and master-planning firm with more than 100 layouts in 24 countries, including the U.S., Thailand, China, Vietnam, Mexico, Egypt, Sweden and Korea. The tandem is responsible for crafting 10 of the 12 courses at storied Mission Hills Shenzhen – the 'World's Largest Golf Club,' accredited by Guinness World Records.

Schmidt-Curley teamed with Pete Dye, Nick Faldo, Jose Maria Olazabal, Ernie Els, David Duval, Annika Sorenstam, Vijay Singh, David Leadbetter and Jumbo Ozaki to create a golf experience unlike any other globally. High profile, award-winning projects from Schmidt-Curley include Bali Hai and Siena Golf Clubs (Las Vegas), Amata Spring Golf Club (Chonburi, Thailand, four-time host of the PGA European Tour's Royal Trophy), Terra Lago Golf Club (Indio, California, site of the Skins Game from 1999 - 2002), Twin Creeks Golf Club (Cedar Park, Texas) and Crosby National Golf Club (Rancho Santa Fe, California).

Schmidt-Curley has also worked extensively with golf's biggest names – including Dye, Faldo, Jack Nicklaus and Fred Couples on numerous high-profile projects – and boasts four ASGCA members (Lee Schmidt, Brian Curley, Grant Haserot and Andy Raugust).

Producing demanding yet beautiful and enjoyable courses, Schmidt-Curley strives to create golf experiences that stir the senses and elevate golfers' appreciations for the land and the game. By balancing classic golf course architecture with ever-changing contemporary technology, Schmidt-Curley places an emphasis on site-adaptive courses, memorable and enjoyable for all levels of play and always designed for cost-efficient maintenance and operations.

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Ortiz takes Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

Former Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Tour Player of the Year.

McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

Memo to the golf gods:

If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.

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Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x