Of course, we all have our favourite golf courses, and I’ve spoken about a few of mine around the world before here. Some we love for their spectacular setting, others for their technical challenge, and others still for the memories we associate with spending time on them with friends. But it’s a course that is much closer to my home here in Hong Kong that I’m going to focus on this time around. It has a special place in my heart, for many reasons.
The Deep Water Bay course is a part of the Hong Kong Golf Club, and is situated down on the south side of Hong Kong Island, ideally located right across the street from the white sandy beaches of Deep Water Bay. It’s straightforward to get to as well – just a short drive through the Aberdeen tunnel from the north side of Hong Kong Island or easily reachable by public transport.
A handy, local course
This accessibility makes it a great place to squeeze in a quick round before work. The Deep Water Bay course offers a very different challenge to the 54 holes over at Fanling – it’s an 18 hole short course with eight par 3’s and one short par 4 on each nine. There are only nine greens too, so each hole has two tee areas to offer some variety between the front and back nine. One of my favourite things to do is to get their early, tee off once you can see your golf ball in the morning light and get around in about a couple of hours. In the summer the sun is already up by 5:30, so it still gives you plenty of time to get into the office by 9am. There is also a lovely clubhouse that serves breakfast and has all the facilities you need – I’ve been playing there every week for well over a year now and it’s simply a fantastic way to start the day.
If you don’t need to rush off to work, then visitors can play anytime after 9am on weekdays for HK $650 (you’ll need valid Hong Kong ID though) – weekends are for members only. One tip – if you fancy coming along to play it’s well worth checking beforehand if the course is open – there are often quite a few maintenance days (usually Tuesdays), so be warned.
Something different every time
For me, one of the best aspects of being able to play regularly at Deep Water Bay is the constantly varying challenges of the course. A big factor in this is the weather – in the winter, there can be a brutal easterly wind that blows over the front side of Hong Kong Island, down the canyon and onto the course, which can make for 2+ club differences compared to a calm day. It’s can also be pretty chilly – I’d certainly recommend bundling up when the temperature drops into the teens or lower. Contrast that with the summer and the usually still conditions (assuming there are no typhoons nearby) when you can finish playing, put on your swimmers, cross the street and go for a swim in the South China Sea.
The setting then is perfect, but it’s also a course that can really test you sometimes – the long par 3 9th in particular is a challenge – and especially on those days when the elements are conspiring against you. In my experience, the course is always immaculately kept too – the greens are fast and it’s a great place to try and hone your short game too. Recently I’ve found that Deep Water Bay is the ideal course to try and focus on those little details of the game that a longer course may not be so well suited too – for example I’ll often have regular discussions with my playing companions about areas that have questionable lies and we spend a lot of time analysing whether certain areas get free relief.
So, Deep Water Bay is becoming a firm favourite of mine – while it might not be one of the world’s most challenging courses, it’s close by, provides a varying challenge depending on the weather conditions, and it’s in a beautiful setting. I’m a huge fan, and I’d recommend any visitor to Hong Kong to come along and check it out.