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Mission Hills Builds for China’s Golf Boom

Emily Veach

When you run the biggest golf resort in the world and you bring a weak game, you play. Early and often, night and day. That's what Ken Chu did when he became vice-chairman of Mission Hills Group . The company opened the first course on what is now a sprawling 12-course club in Shenzhen, China, in 1994, and is building a 10-course venue in Hainan, the southern Chinese island Beijing is backing as a tourism hub.

Fixing up a shaky swing could be the least of Mr. Chu's challenges. On a recent Wednesday, the Mission Hills resort just an hour or so north of Hong Kong was all but empty following morning storms. Though golf in China is growing with the nation's middle classes, it remains an elitist sport with average greens fees of $160 and memberships as high as 1.8 million yuan ($263,000). At the same time, there's talk of a bubble in Hainan as developers rush in to the resort island.

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