The Sky Oasis Golf Resort design creates a sense of uncertainty when playing the hole from the elevated tee making it a wicked hole for more than one reason. With a lake in front of the green, the tendency is to hit too long, even though the vertical drop is only about 40 metres – compared with a 400-metre drop for the extreme hole at the Legend Golf and Safari Resort in Limpopo, South Africa. It is not part of the regular golf round and will be viewed by serious golfers as a gimmick to earn cash off players who know no better and view the sport as an outdoor casino experience.
The hole is open only to Sky Oasis Golf Resort members to play for a fee of RMB 200 (approx. $US30) for two balls, with the chance to win a jackpot starting at RMB 200,000 (approx. $US30,000). As more players try their luck at the hole – and presumably fail – the jackpot will increase much like the electronic slot machines at casinos. The public relations firm paid to promote this gentle form of gambling says the extra hole at the 36-hole golf resort, the Eagle hole at Sky Oasis Golf Resort promises to put golf in Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province, on the map internationally.
That is PR hype as there are very few direct international flights to Kunming to fly in even avid Asian golfers, let alone golfers from Australia, Europe and North America. But it will gain a twirl in the media and satisfy its promoters who have just launched a new golf marketing group in the region, Golf Kunming (www.golf-kunming.com) of which Sky Oasis is a member. Sky Oasis Golf Resort, which opened in 2009 and was originally known as Skyait Golf Club, is popular with Chinese golfers living in east coast mainland China cities.
Kunming relies almost entirely on the major cities of the eastern seaboard to supply its steady flow of tourists, but very few international tourists visit Yunnan province as it involves connecting to domestic airlines already packed with local traveller. More direct flights from Hong Kong, Bangkok, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur the obvious points to connect with this far northwest Mekong region province would be needed to attract international visitors.
Airline fares, hotels rates and a round of golf cost considerably more, too, than the going rates at golf resorts elsewhere in the region.
Members of the Kunming Golf Group include three of Kunming’s leading courses: Spring City Golf & Lake Resort, Stoneforest International Country Club and Sky Oasis Golf Resort, as well as Brilliant Resort & Spa on Lake Yangzonghai.
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