Golf Course Architecture: Issue 55 - January 2019

47 Photo: Mark Hollinger The Silver Cloud course in Fuzou, designed by architect Mark Hollinger, never opened the taking of farmland, removal of villagers, preserving forest conflicts and concerns about water contamination and runoff to surrounding lands,” he says. “But with Dalu, for example, in respect of those factors, that course seems the least likely candidate: it was open dunes in a very desolate and remote area, not farmed, no villagers, no forest, and no streams to flow runoff to. In fact, there was (and still is) a strong effort by the government to eliminate the blowing dust that plagues the region, and golf does just that. Also, it is near Ordos, a so-called ‘ghost city’ that needs all the help it can muster to recruit new citizens with things to do. So I conclude that the main reason was conflict for water resources in an arid region. It’s a great shame, as this course broke the mould of the typical golf course in China (really, all of Asia) and could have been used as a poster child for how a course can be integrated with minimal disturbance and with minimal use of water.” (For more on Dalu Dunes, see the boxout on page 51). Curley’s Stone Forest complex in Yunnan was one of the country’s most heralded developments, a remarkable 54-hole golf estate with nine holes in and among some truly remarkable rock formations, a World Heritage site. Many Western commentators, on seeing photos of Stone Forest, were astonished that developers had won permission to build golf in such a sensitive site, and that it has subsequently been closed seems hardly surprising. But Curley says the reality is a little different. I put it to him that, in the West, it would have been totally impossible to win consent to build golf in such a location. “I’m not sure it would be impossible, though certainly it would take a lot of time to process permits,” he says. “What you have to consider is that, as stunning as the site is, it is in an area where that look is dominant all over, including the actual park area nearby. In addition, we really did not alter the site in terms of removing any of the rock. We found holes here and there and incorporated the stone – we didn’t have to eliminate or blow up any rock formations of any significance. So, unlike the filling of marshlands, cutting of trees or hillsides, that may create impacts on such sites, we just integrated a course into the environment. In that context, and as someone who does his best to be a good steward of the land, I would say the impact was minor and would not be unlike creating a park or trail system for people to experience the stone formations, except with a club in hand. The only trees we removed were mostly eucalyptus, a tree that is considered invasive and unwanted. Very few pines were removed. No wetlands or lakes were filled.