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Yangtze Dunes reopens near Shanghai following sweeping renovation

Yangtze Dunes

Yangtze Dunes, the newly renovated links course at 36-hole Lanhai International Country Club in China, reopened to member play on June 23rd. Following a far-reaching, 12-month renovation directed by Melbourne, Australia-based Ogilvy, Clayton, Cocking & Mead (OCCM).

The renovated 18 reopened as a walking-only course, a rare renovation decision (exceedingly rare in Asia) that necessitated the removal of some 8 kilometers of concrete cart paths.

Jay Porter, general manager at Lanhai International CC, explains why:

— Our members were on board with these changes from the beginning. They understood that a traditional links is best enjoyed on foot, with caddies. They were ready for that aspect; it was honestly not that controversial.

— What they weren’t ready for was just how good, how unique the new course has revealed itself to be. They’re over the moon about what OCCM have created here. The new 18 holes at Yangtze Dunes course are still quite young, still growing-in to maturity. But the members love it because it’s unlike anything in Shanghai, anything in China. Unlike anything in Asia, frankly. The walking-only aspect is but a small aspect of the transformation that has taken place here.

Yangtze Dunes in the river delta

Located on Chongming, an island in the Yangtze River delta, Lanhai International CC was founded in 2009. It quickly took its place among the top clubs in Asia on the strength of its 36 holes, the second 18 being the Woodlands Course, a Nicklaus Design.

It’s renowned for the elegant Tuscan-style clubhouse, and have a distinguished membership drawn from nearby Shanghai. In late 2016, new club ownership commissioned OCCM to create a golfing experience that would stand alongside the very best.

— The mere fact that we’ve created a true links track at Yangtze Dunes makes it stand out from nearly every golf course that currently exists in Asia. For whatever reason, cultural or climatic, Asian developers have not chosen to build many courses in the links tradition, said Ashley Mead, the OCCM partner who directed renovation activities on Chongming in the shadow of the towering Yangtze River Bridge (top picture).

The developers also gained approval for the creation of a sprawling, contoured putting course to replace an auxiliary practice green that once sat between the 1st tee and 18th green. The Chuiwan Course drew its inspiration not from the Himalayas at St. Andrews, nor the Punchbowl at Bandon Dunes. But from the ancient Chinese game of the same name. First mentioned in the book Dongxuan Lu, written by Wei Tai in the late 10th century.

Yangtze Dunes

EXTENSIVE BUNKERING: Some pf the bunkering at the finishing hole at Yangtze Dunes. Both photos: Lanhai International Country Club