Friday, October 29, 2010

Hainan Island: China's Answer to Hawaii

I visited Mission Hills Resort in Shenzhen, China a couple of years ago and was very impressed with the massive, 12-course complex. Now, the Mission Hills developers are expanding their golf offerings on Hainan Island. An island the size of Belgium in the South China Sea, Hainan Island is often called “the Oriental Hawaii.”

Here’s some information I received recently detailing some star-studded happenings on Hainan Island:

The world's biggest celebrities and their golfing counterparts have teed off in the inaugural Mission Hills Star Trophy, at Mission Hills Haikou on Hainan Island , China .

Catherine Zeta-Jones, Hugh Grant and Matthew McConaughey were among the Hollywood stars to meet the press today (Thursday) at Asia's leading lifestyle entertainment event, joined by golfers Tseng Yani, the women's world number five, Candy Kung, Zhang Lian-wei, Feng Shanshan, Danny Lee, Rosie Jones and Belen Mozo.

The ground-breaking Star Trophy brings together superstar celebrities and the world's biggest golfing names for the first event of its kind ever played in Asia . In addition to the pro-celebrity team event, the professionals will compete for Asia' s richest individual golfing prize of US$1.28 million.

For Zeta-Jones, the event is a great initiative for golf in China . "As everyone knows, I love golf and have been lucky enough to play in a number of pro-celebrity events around the world. I am sure everyone would agree the time is right to start an event that brings Hollywood and golf together in Asia and to be honest I cannot wait for the action to start."

Grant added: "I am very excited to be in Hainan for the first time. The chance to play golf at such a great new resort and be around some of my golfing heroes is wonderful, as it would be for any who loves the game. This is the closest someone like me can come to playing a professional event, so I have been practising as hard as possible, and hope my team is in contention on Sunday."

Tseng, who is taking a short break from the LPGA Tour to play this week, added: "I did not play very well today (in the Pro-Am), but I will have a new strategy for tomorrow. I am determined to win the inaugural Mission Hills Star Trophy and will use that new approach on the weekend and hope for the best."

Amongst the other announcements today at Mission Hills·Haikou, leading international golf coach Hank Haney announced the launch of the Hank Haney Academy at the new resort, the first of its kind in Asia.

The new academy is a 2,000-square metre state-of-the-art indoor training centre including 10 indoor hitting bays equipped with sophisticated state-of-the-art JC Video swing and SAMS putting analysis equipment, along with 3D motion analysis equipment. It also has designated natural turf practice areas with a comprehensive short game area to help improve every facet of golfers' games.

The Star Trophy field includes celebrities, professionals and selected amateurs, with the amateurs playing with the celebrities and professional golfers today (Thursday) and tomorrow (Friday) in a Pro-Am format.

The weekend play will then be in four-ball stroke play format between 18 teams consisting of a celebrity and a professional, with a 36-hole individual professional event running concurrently on the Blackstone Course. The pro event offers a US$1.28 million first place cheque, the richest individual prize in Asian golf.

The Mission Hills Star Trophy will be beamed to over 150 counties across the world. The TV output will be managed by esteemed broadcaster Terry Jastrow, the veteran sports producer of 68 golf majors and six Olympic Games over his glittering career. Jastrow has won seven Emmy awards and been nominated for 17 times.

The Mission Hills Star Trophy is one of the first major events supporting a government-led initiative to make Hainan a leading international tourism destination in the coming years and reaffirms Mission Hills· Haikou as the world's most memorable golf resort.