Chinese Ski resort to feature 5 courses

Five 18-hole, championship-length golf courses will provide summertime entertainment for what’s being billed as the largest ski destination in Asia.

The place is called Secret Garden, and it’s being built in an area of Hebei Province (in a village called Sitaizui) that’s already home to several smaller ski areas. When it’s completed, Secret Garden will be able to accommodate 18,000 tourists a days (many of them will come from Beijing, a three-hour drive to the southeast), and its developed area alone will spread over nearly 5,000 acres.

Secret Garden is being developed by Lim Chee Wah, a member of the family that owns Malaysia’s powerful, wealthy Genting Group. Genting operates dozens of casinos and resorts on several continents, and it has numerous assets (among them, Norwegian Cruise Lines) all over the planet, including the United States. It owns a golf course at its Genting Highlands resort in metropolitan Kuala Lumpur.

Lim commissioned Ecosign Mountain Resort Planners to master-plan Secret Garden, and the Whistler, British Columbia-based firm didn’t need to look far for inspiration. Ecosign has modeled Secret Garden on Whistler, one of North America’s premier ski towns. At build-out, it’ll have too many houses to count, lots of hotel rooms and other overnight accommodations, meeting space, a theme park, an equestrian center, sports academies, a winery, and plenty of other four-season attractions.

The first phase of Secret Garden, a village called GohTong Highlands, is expected to open next year. It’ll have houses and condos, a lodge, several hotels (2,700 total rooms), a “traditional” Chinese market, an indoor entertainment center, a spa, and a wellness center.

GohTong Highlands will also have Secret Garden’s first golf course, an 18-hole, 7,103-yard track that’s been designed by Santa Rosa, California-based GolfPlan. The course is scheduled to open in the spring of 2013.

Two 18-hole golf courses are planned for Secret Garden’s Great Wall village, and single 18s are on tap for Genesis Garden and the Prince’s Village. A “world-class” golf and tennis academy will also be built somewhere on the property.

Lim, the youngest son of Genting Group’s late founder, attended the London School of Economics and is the president of VXL Group of Companies. VXL is currently trying to develop the Cambodia-Vietnam Friendship Golf Resort, which will occupy 467 acres in Svay Rieng, Cambodia and Tay Ninh, Vietnam, with nine holes of its golf course in each country.

This story originally appeared in the World Edition of the Golf Course Report, in a slightly different form. For a sample copy of the World Edition, call 301/680-9460 or write to

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