Hank Haney: Plenty of reasons to smile


In case anyone is still wondering why Hank Haney gave up on Tiger Woods – or vice versa – consider this announcement from China:

“Mission Hills China – developer of the world’s largest golf club and impetus for China’s golf boom – has partnered with acclaimed instructor Hank Haney to establish the Hank Haney Golf Academy at Mission Hills-Haikou.”

Haikou is a city on tropical Hainan Island off the south coast of China, which is being developed, at breakneck speed, into a high-end Asian golf paradise. More than 20 courses have opened on Hainan in the last couple of years and dozens more are under construction (including a Tom Doak design) or on the drawing boards.

Mission Hills, which already operates a sprawling 12-course resort and residential complex on the Chinese mainland, 30 miles north of Hong Kong, is one-upping itself on Hainan, with 22 courses planned for its 31-square-mile property. Three Lee Schmidt-Brian Curley designs have opened and several more are under construction. Mission Hills-Haikou also features the obligatory hotels (525 rooms so far), restaurants (12), clubhouse, spas and shopping arcade.

Mission Hills is owned by the Chu family – Dr. David Chu made a fortune in Hong Kong real estate; his daughter Carol (who was instrumental in bringing the Olympic Games to China) and sons Tenniel and Ken run day-to-day operations of the two gigantic golf complexes.

The Chus place high expectations on employees and partners, so the successful launch of his Haikou golf academy figures to be a high priority for Haney. Now that golf is an Olympic sport, it’s expected the Chinese government will heavily invest in the development of world-class golfers. That bodes well for the future of golf schools like Haney’s, which also will benefit from the anticipated flood of wealthy novice golfers to Haikou, not only from China, but also Korea, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Viet Nam, Indonesia and the Philippines.

As noted in this space earlier, there was no reason for Haney to continue suffering the aggravation that’s part and parcel of Team Tiger these days. His reputation has been made, and opportunities like Mission Hills-Haikou are a license to print money.


SOURCE: www.examiner.com


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