Suzhou Jinji Lake International Golf Club will host this year's Volvo China Open, to be held from 15th to 18th April. Located in the showpiece Suzhou Industrial Park about 90 minutes drive from Shanghai, the club is one of the most exclusive in the world with membership being by invitation only. Jinji Lake opened in early 2006 under the full management of IMG, the world's largest sports, entertainment and media organization, and straightaway picked up an award as the best new golf club in China. Since then, a series of other awards has followed.
Designed by golfing legend Gary Player, the layout is highly distinctive in that it features three nine holes courses with markedly different characteristics, one in stunning links style, one with numerous ponds and creeks, aptly called wetlands, and one where the emphasis is on trees, forest style. The Open, which is on the schedules of the European Tour and the new OneAsia Tour, will be played over the wetlands and links.
"We're very proud to have the country's Open Championship coming to Jinji Lake," said Michael Gu, the club's general manager. "Suzhou Industrial Park, of which the club is a part, is the largest economic and technological co-operation project between the governments of China and Singapore. Our club is already renowned for its first class facilities, exceptional standard of service and luxurious privacy it provides for members. We're confident that the course, the facilities and our enviable location in Suzhou can help lift the status of the Volvo China Open to a new higher level and will attract some of the world's best known players to compete here."
In addition, Volvo has announced that prize money for the Open will be boosted by another US$300,000 to US$2.5 million further emphasizing its position as the richest event on the OneAsia Tour schedule.
"We're very excited about bringing the China Open to Jinji Lake," said Per Ericsson, President & CEO of Volvo Event Management. "It's a truly impressive venue in a beautiful location by the lake. We looked at a lot of potential venues in China but, on visiting Jinji Lake, we could see straight away that this was easily the most suitable for this year's Volvo China Open. Watching the players battling it out down the final stretch on a very scenic and challenging links layout will be reminiscent of golf's oldest championship, The (British) Open. So it will be very fitting for the Open Golf Championship of China."
Ericsson also announced that, in a new arrangement agreed with the China Golf Association, Volvo Event Management has now taken over as promoter of the Open from Richtone Worldwide.
"We've had 21 years of promoting the Volvo Masters in Europe and been involved in golf in China for 15 years, so it's a natural progression for us," said Ericsson. "It's been understood for some time between Richtone, China Golf Association and ourselves that, at some appropriate point, Volvo Event Management would extend its role from title sponsor to promoter for the Open. With the details of a new contract recently being worked out, this was the appropriate time."
Zhang Xiao-ning, head of China Golf Association, said, "The structure of golf in the region is changing. In OneAsia we see the start of an exciting new Tour that will unite professional golf across the Asia Pacific region. The closer co-operation between Volvo and ourselves will open doors of opportunity that will be highly beneficial to the Volvo China Open and its status in golf, not only in China, but also across Asia Pacific."
For more information please visit the official website www.volvochinaopen.com