Sandbelt Trails is the no 2 course at Mission Hills Haikou, and the concept is kinda cool.
With a kangaroo on every hole sign, it is clear the course is trying to replicate the look and feel of the famous Melbourne sandbelt.
Brian Curley from Schmidt Curley has done that by using sand faced bunkering, with rolling fairways, and rolling undulating greens.
So far so good!
The surrounding black lava is not featured as significantly as it is with some of the other courses, so the focus off course is more on the tropical vegetation and the occasional water hazard- all without a gum tree in sight...
It is probably fair to say that the design team wanted to keep the golfer's focus on those rolling fairways and greens , and sand faced bunkers...
It is also probably safe to say that selling this concept to a Melbournian well versed in the attributes of Royal Melbourne, Kingston Heath, Victoria etc is like selling ice to eskimos.
The bunkering just did not do it for me with most being way to shallow to evoke that sand belt “feel”...
Forgetting the name tag and concept for the moment, Sandbelt Trails is a pleasant course in good condition.
A couple of the shorter par 4's in 3, 7, and 13 were quite interesting, but all the par 5's seem similar too me, bar the shorter 18th hole which features water up near the green.
The longer par 4 6th hole with water in play for the approach shot was in my opinion the best hole on the course.
Unfortunately Sandbelt Trails will not feature on my best course lists, pleasant as it is.
However there are 10 courses at Mission Hills Haikou including Blackstone, Lava Fields and Stone Quarry- and they are worth travelling to play
If you are intending to stay at Mission Hills Haikou use Trails as a warm up course- it is enjoyable if not remarkable...
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