Woods and McIlroy Playing golf on volcanic lava rock at Mission Hills Haikou

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy competed over the Blackstone Course, one of the 10 18-hole course at Mission Hills Haikou built on black lava rock. Also capable of hosting international tournaments is the Lava Fields course just next to it.

An estimated 10,000 years ago, the Qiongbei volcanic cluster in northern Hainan Island erupted, spewing lava across the northern part of the province. Mission Hills Haikou has since made the most of this unusual rockbed, building 180 holes atop a bed of solid lava rock and setting a new benchmark in the history of golf.

Brian Curley of Schmidt Curley Design, which created all 10 courses at Mission Hills Haikou, said he enjoyed the challenge of working on a bed of lava rock, which is easily recognisable due its ‘pockmarked’ surface.

“Building on lava rock is not easy, but with a 320-acre core golf site we were able to find holes and avoid unnecessary cuts and fills. The site is far from flat and offers a nice variety of elevation change,” Curley said.

“I was insistent on weaving holes through the site with a huge emphasis on walking, not only for the tournament players but also for everyday players who, despite making use of carts, are able to tee off and walk the lava trails if desired.”

Mission Hills Haikou was built by:
 Preserving 15,385 acres of pristine, black lava rock
 Building golf courses on top of solid volcanic beds that run 20 metres deep
 Conserving 20,000 trees while planting an additional 50,000
 Sand-capping the lava rocks with 30 million m3 of soil
 Conserving a 50-kilometer-long lava wall and 88 lava huts