Tim Hung spreading the word of golf in China at Mission Hills - world’s largest club
MEMBER of Hampshire golf club Haylings and Bournemouth University student, Tim Hung, is spending a year at in China at Mission Hills – and is doing is bit to spread the word of golf in the country while he is at it.
An admirer of the resort after being able to play it with his uncles in 200, a lasting impression was left on the teenage Hung. “Since then I have always dreamt of working here and saw it as a benchmark in tourism golf.”
His opportunity came from the placement required by his degree, which coincides with a time that Mission Hills are looking to entice visitors from abroad.
Hung, able to speak both English and Mandarin, was seen as an excellent candidate. “At the time they were looking for international employees, as they were trying to promote themselves as an international tourist attraction” said Hung. “Speaking Chinese Mandarin and English gave me the perfect chance to work with both foreign and local clients.”
Although there was no formal link between Bournemouth University and Mission Hills, Hung was driven to spend his placement there and contacted the resort himself. A number of interviews on webcam followed and Hung’s qualifications and passion must have shone, as Hung recalls, “they were keen to accept me right away.”
Being accepted to Mission Hills has allowed him to meet some of the biggest names in film and sport, actor Ryan Reynolds and former tennis player Pat Cash have been particular highlights, but it is the array of golfers, including Danielle Montgomery, Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Matt Kuchar and Rory McIlroy, that have excited Hung. “It’s such an honour to meet the people we see everyday on TV, and to witness what they have done for the game of golf.”
Hung is an impressive golfer himself, playing with a four handicap, and on the rare occasions he is not working or stargazing he has found time play at least some of the 22 golf courses that are part of Mission Hills. “I haven’t had much time to get out there and play, but my favourite has to be Blackstone Course in Hainan Island,” said Hung.
“It’s a monster of a course measuring 7,800 yards. We recently held the Mission Hills Celebrity Pro-Am Tournament on there last October, as well as hosting the Mission Hills World Cup every two years.”
The resort has recruited some of the world’s greatest course architects as designers, so it comes as little surprise that the cheapest membership here will cost you over £35,000.
Membership at Mission Hills is obviously the top end of golf in China, but the way the game is viewed there is something Hung believes is harming the game’s growth in the region. “Many people here see it as a game for the wealthy and only the rich can afford to play,” said Hung. “Whereas the average earning guy cannot get close to the game, let alone the young juniors.”
It is in working with youngsters that Hung enjoys the most. “My passion that I have found is deeply within the game for the juniors. Assisting them with the right knowledge and pathway into golf is a strong influence on growing the game.”
Hung has had some incredible experiences during his time at the Mission Hills, and they have only increased his desire to “grow the game of golf” on graduation, but he is also looking at adding some more qualifications, “a masters degree or even doing my PGA qualification” before he starts to spread the word again.