Malaysian group to build golf complex in China

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

Called Secret Garden, the 5,000-acre development is being built in Hebei Province – about three hours from Beijing – that’s already home to several smaller ski areas.

Behind Secret Garden is developer VXL Capital Group of Malaysia, which said it wants to create a healthy getaway for the 27 million residents of Beijing and Tiajin who endure oppressive heat and pollution each year from May to September. When completed, Secret Garden is expected to accommodate up to 18,000 tourists daily, the company said.

VXL was established in 1993 by Lim Chee Wah, who is the youngest son of the late Lim Goh Tong, founder of the Genting Group. Lim Chee Wah is a former executive at Genting, which owns the Genting Highlands golf resort in Kuala Lumpur.

VXL hired Ecosign Mountain Resort Planners to design the four-season resort, 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.

Phase one construction is currently underway. The GohTong Highlands Resort is expected to open in 2012, which will include homes available for purchase, 331 hotel rooms, lodge and traditional Chinese market.

The development’s first golf course, Prince North, is scheduled to open in spring 2013. The 7,103-yard course will be designed by Santa Rosa, California-based GolfPlan, and will be followed by more courses in adjacent resort villages. Two 18-hole courses are planned for Great Wall village, and 18-hole courses are on tap for both Genesis Garden and Prince’s Village.

A golf and tennis academy also is in the works.

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