Leaders Peak is the name of course C at Stoneforest International CC.
It is the members course and not available to the public. Course A is known as Yufeng Ridge, and Course B is known as Masters Resort, and both are available for green fees.
All three courses are designed by Schmidt Curley and opened in 2011.
To play Leaders Peak is to embark on a real golfing adventure!
After playing courses A & B, I was not entirely sure what to expect from Course C, but I wasn't disappointed...
The front nine had a rugged beauty, was strategically strong, and always kept my interest.
But there was very little of the rugged Karst rock formations we were expecting after playing Course A.
Instead the course moved up and down through some heavily vegetated and hilly terrain, with Chinese fir trees abundant, and splashes of colour provided by the wild flowers amid the thick undergrowth.
There are a number of holes where one would benefit significantly from knowing the course and where the hazards unseen from the tee were located, but in general the course was rugged but fair.
I thought the standout hole in the front nine was the dogleg par 4 eighth hole with a green surrounded by rocky sentinels, and a relatively small gap from which to approach.
It is a gorgeous golf hole!
Holes 9 & 10 are fine golf holes, both par 5's, with 9 requiring the second shot carry a hazard, and hole 10 needing the third shot to fly the trouble.
And then you arrive on the 11th tee to find that the band has arrived, and the dancing begun...
Seriously folks, it is hard not to get excited when confronted with such a unique and drop dead gorgeous playing field.
I congratulate Schmidt Curley for having the vision to build it, and just wish I could play it more often
Hole 11 is a short perhaps driveable par 4 measuring 309 yards off the blue tees.
The downhill tee shot must negotiate a hazard short of the green which is surrounded by massive Karst rock formations.
The smart play is to lay up and hit a wedge approach, but then the green narrows savagely to a small back platform squeezed by bunkering and the rocks.
This is an "all world golf hole", not adequately described in words.
They say a picture is worth a thousand of them.....
On hole 12 the volume gets turned right up, with an elevated tee overlooking a green completely surrounded by the Karst rock below.
This hole is so crazy good you want to whoop and holler when it dawns on you that the green below is actually your target.
It played 163 yards off the blue tee, but the various tee options ranged from 201 yards to 114 from the ladies tees.
Another unforgettable memory is taking the trek from cart path to green. It is quite a hike, but the path leads down through, under, and between the rocks like a scene out of The Hobbit.
Holes 13 through 16 are also wonderful golf holes, further exploring the Stoneforest Karst landscape with some cracker holes, albeit not with the same intensity as 11 & 12.
This remarkable course closes with 2 holes that move out of the rocks and along a lake...nice, but unremarkable in comparison to what has proceeded them.
Leaders Peak is a course I will never forget. The holes in the Karst landscape captured my imagination.
I cannot recommend them highly enough, and if ever one gets the opportunity to play this private course one should grasp it with both hands!
Certainly I would love to go back and just play a loop of holes 11 to 15 over and over.
Can you imagine how good a composite course with the best of courses A, B, and C would be?
Perhaps I should apply to become a member?
The Travelling Golfer