Lifetime Achievement Award for Dr David Chu
The rapid development of golf in China was in the spotlight again today when Dr David Chu, the founder of Mission Hills China, was awarded the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ at one of the golf industry’s most important events, the KPMG Golf Business Forum, in Dubai.
Established by KPMG in 2006, the Lifetime Achievement Award is dedicated to ambassadors of the game and the business of golf. Chu joins an all-star cast of past honourees which includes the 2010 recipient Greg Norman, along with Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer who won in 2008 and 2009 respectively. The first two winners of the Lifetime Achievement Award were Gary Player (2006) and long-time European Tour Executive Director Ken Schofield (2007).
The award affirms Chu’s contribution to the golf industry and sees him as the first Asian to be so honoured. It was also the second major public event for Mission Hills just this week, with Tiger Woods, fresh from finishing fourth in the Masters Tournament, visiting the club for the second time just last Tuesday.
Andrea Sartori, KPMG's Europe, Middle East and Africa Golf Advisory Director, praised Dr Chu as ‘an idealist and a man of vision’. “Dr Chu is a true global ambassador of golf. He was the one who brought the Chinese golf industry to the world. Giving our highest honour to Dr Chu is our tribute to his vision and contribution to China golf.”
Chu thanked KPMG for this honour. “With the popularisation of golf in China, it has helped promote golf as a true global sport. I am honoured, together with Mission Hills, to have witnessed the development of the game over the past 30 years, to see how China has opened up and become the important stage for development in the world of golf.”
Nicklaus, the 2008 winner of this award, paid tribute to Chu. “David Chu has been a true visionary and a driving force for the growth of golf in China. I believe one publication once wrote that the World Cup course we designed for David and Mission Hills back in the early 1990s was one of the most influential golf courses of the last 20 years.
“David had the vision and plan to use that course as a springboard for the maturation of golf throughout his country and Mission Hills and its world-record number of courses now stands as representation of that phenomenal growth. David has a true commitment to the game, and with his guidance and inspiration, his sons, Tenniel and Ken, are continuing that commitment to grow and nurture the game,” said the 18-time Major winner.
The winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006, Gary Player, said: “The success of new industries in emerging markets has historically always depended on a visionary pioneer to pave the way. Dr David Chu has quite simply changed the face of golf in China with his bold moves at Mission Hills and now on Hainan Island.
“I have visited Mission Hills during several trips to China and the scale of their accomplishment is incredible. All of us doing business in golf in China are now benefiting from Dr Chu’s hard work and perseverance,” said the ‘Black Knight.
The KPMG Golf Business Forum is widely regarded as the most important international golf business-to-business event and brings the golf industry together from developers and investors to operators and journalists to meet, learn and exchange ideas.
Chu’s bold plans for golf development in China in the early 1990s have blossomed into the world’s largest golf complex. Its 12 courses were designed by the game’s greatest players and architects and – along with two five-star resorts, three world-class spa facilities and residential developments – spread across an area of over 20 square kilometres from Shenzhen to Dongguan in southern China, just 30 minutes from the border with Hong Kong.
Devoted to developing golf in China, Chu drove Mission Hills to host the first international golf tournament ever held in the country, the 1995 World Cup of Golf, and, in 2001, brought Tiger Woods’ to China for the first time, one of the game’s most important recent landmarks. He also secured hosting rights for the Omega Mission Hills World Cup for 12 consecutive events from 2007.
Dr Chu’s latest Mission Hills project in Haikou continues his ground-breaking achievements. The development is central to a larger, government-backed urban planning initiative to make tropical Hainan Island one of the world’s leading tourism destinations by 2020. Chu’s proven track record transforming barren land into economically productive enterprises make his involvement crucial to the program’s success.
Mission Hills Haikou hit the spotlight in October 2010 when it hosted Asia’s first international pro-celebrity golf tournament, the Mission Hills Star Trophy, featuring golfers such as Greg Norman, Colin Mongomerie, Lorena Ochoa and Annika Sorenstam; global sports and entertainment stars such as Michael Phelps, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Hugh Grant, Matthew McConaughey and Christian Slater.