The Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau, the only public golf course in Hong Kong, was developed with funds donated by the Hong Kong Jockey Club and the government to meet the demand for golf in the region. Located on the rugged island of Kau Sai Chau, the property’s three 18-hole courses share sweeping views of the South China Sea.
The island was once a British Royal Navy artillery practice site; the constant bombardment of shells destroyed vegetation and animal life, resulting in significant erosion. (An unexploded shell was discovered during construction of the East Course.) But repairs made to the scarred land — soil for the course was brought in on barges — have restored the natural wildlife habitat. Prior to construction, 30 species of birds inhabited the island; the most recent count topped 140.
Gravesites located throughout the course command a place of honor. (A Ching Dynasty-era grave is near Hole 12.) Scars from fires caused by the burning of “hell banknotes” — fake notes burned to pay for ancestors’ passage to the afterlife — remain evident on the landscape.
Gary Player designed the championship North Course and the beginners’ South Course, both of which opened in 1995. Nelson and Haworth, a Singapore firm, designed the East Course, completed in spring 2008, with such long distances between holes that power carts are mandatory.
Course Superintendent Christine Chan prides herself on the course’s environmental efforts: recycled water, hardy grasses and a water-desalination system to compensate for shortfall during the dry months. The Hong Kong government closely monitors the use of water and chemicals as well as erosion, which has been dramatically reduced.
Getting to the course is nearly as much fun as playing it. From Hong Kong you hop a taxi to Sai Kung, where you catch the ferry for the 15-minute ride to the island.
Hole 2 (386 yards, par 4)
You hit your drive from an elevated tee box to a level fairway, which descends to the green. Drive your ball down the crest of this hill for a little more yardage. Aim right of the fairway bunker. There is one trap left of the green, which plays faster than it appears. Take in the spectacular ocean view from the tee and green; note the dam of one of Hong Kong’s reservoirs on the horizon. Also note the electrical fence around the course — it is turned on at night to prevent damage by wild boars.
Hole 3 (174 yards, par 3)
This tricky little hole has a large bunker in front of the right side of the green and a sloping hillside on the left. It almost has a slight right turn, with red stakes lining the right approach. A mid-iron should get you there, but there is not much room behind the green. Take note of the view of the pyramidal mountain behind.
Hole 4 (366 yards, par 4)
From the elevated tee box there is a drop-off of nearly 200 feet to the fairway; aim your drive for the trap at the right of the green. From here, you should have only a mid-iron to the green. Prevailing winds can carry your ball off the tee and push it to center. Two traps guard the green left and right, and the ocean beyond makes for a great snapshot. As with the entire course, any balls slightly off the mark are in deep trouble — there is very little rough. Nearly every fairway is crowned at the sides, so errant shots will roll down the cliffs.
Hole 9 (425 yards, par 4)
Ranked No. 3, this hole’s difficulty lies in the ravine that fronts the green. From the tee box, drive your ball to the center of the fairway. I clobbered the ball off the tee straight and true (a novelty on this round) and was in position “A.” The key for your second shot is to take sufficient club, as there is a lot of green behind. There is no rough to catch your ball in front, just a deep ravine frequented by snakes. My shot looked perfect, hit the green and bounced to the ravine on the left.
Hole 13 (209 yards, par 3)
A terrific hole! There are huge yardage differences between the blue tees at 209 yards and the white tees at 125. Carefully control your distance, as there are steep drop-offs behind the green. Compensation for lost balls is in the form of spectacular views of the sea and Sai Kung Country Park.
Hole 14 (366 yards, par 4)
This is the signature hole, considered by many to be the most picturesque in Asia. The entire fairway juts out into the sea like a finger pointing to Hong Kong. The fairway has a slight curve to the left, with a little extra room on the right for shots from the tee-off target. But beware — great shots can become disastrous if they bounce and roll toward the edge; the green is slightly crowned. This hole is so beautiful it will leave you wondering if Pebble Beach vistas can compete.
Hole 16 (522 yards, par 5)
This dogleg left has a blind shot from the tee, so shoot over the aiming pole in the center of the fairway. Any shot too far left of the pole will end up in a huge ravine. I wanted to impress Christine Chuck, golf services manager, and blew a shot left, trying to cut the corner. This ball will remain in Kau Sai Chau forever. Your second shot should aim slightly right on this crescent-shaped fairway. There’s a large bunker on the left 50 yards from the green and two deep ones right of the green.
Hole 17 (441 yards, par 4)
As we approached this No. 1-ranked hole, the sun was setting and we were quickly losing light. We teed off by driving all balls within a few yards of each other center of the fairway, which is elevated above Hole 9. There is a little bail-out room left of the fairway and absolutely nothing on the right — a small trap on the right side will catch balls with a slight fade, and two bunkers on the left side protect the elevated green.
The Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau Public Golf Course
P.O. Box 88, Sai Kung Post Office
New Territories, Hong Kong
tel 852 2791 3388
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
Lufthansa is starting an innovative new carbon offset program, Compensaid, which will allow customers to purchase CO2 neutral aviation fuels. The platform allows customers to replace the fossil fuel of their flights with sustainable aviation fuel.
The Luxury Collection again teamed with artist Sofía Sanchez de Beta to unveil an exclusive capsule collection, this time with 54 pieces inspired by the Arabian Desert and Emirati culture. The ready-to-wear line includes an array of separates created with Dubai’s climate in mind, such as lightweight blouses and tunics, flowing jumpsuits, long skirts and dresses.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
Google announced last month it added additional features to its price comparison tool. The tool helps users plan trips and compare rates. The new features include one that shows whether the price of a planned flight plus accommodations is low, average or high.
Singapore Airlines launched its non-stop service between Singapore (SIN) and Seattle (SEA), Sept. 3. Seattle is Singapore Airlines’ fourth U.S. destination following Los Angeles (LAX), New York (EWR) and San Francisco (SFO) to receive non-stop service to and from Singapore.
For those without accessibility issues, going to the beach can be simple. There’s nothing to do but pack up your gear, head to the shore and walk out onto the sand. For those who may be inhibited, however, the beach poses more of a challenge.