Shangri-La Golf & Country Resort Hambantota, Sri Lanka

For those that like sea, sand, sun and a bit of golf then you should visit Hambantota and stay at the Shang-Ri La resort. In fact you should really make the effort to visit the Shangri La Hambantota resort to see what Peter Haarhoff (golf course superintendent) and Romain Pourveer (The director of golf ) have been up too. Thanks to their efforts that have been transforming a few month old golf course into one that looks like it has been their an age and more so a golf course that carries strong environmental consciousness.

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Hole 16 is played over pineapple groves and then down the other side towards the sea.  What a great golf hole

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Hole 16 towards the sea

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15 000 pineapples and countless coconut trees

Both these gentleman came up with the novel idea of growing pineapples (Sri Lankas’ national fruit btw) in some of the rough areas – but mostly confined to a few holes on the back nine – and the result being something clearly distinctive and refreshing. Add to that this edible rough with 15000 pineapples and roughly the same amount of coconut trees is used at the resort. What a win-win situation. Incidentally I wrote an article piece a few years back for the HK Golfer talking about the benefits of an edible golf course and it was wonderful to see an example in the flesh. See article piece for HK Golfer: http://www.hkgolfer.com/courses-and-travel/case-regeneration

But of course the golf course is much more than this. It is fun to play, a haven for bird and wildlife and just the right distance at a little over 6000 yards (I can never understand why you would want to make a resort course long and tedious anyway) so a round of golf can all be completed in short time leaving you more than enough time to appreciate the other amenities on display including the beach.

This Rodney Wright design is going to get better and better with age and particularly given the work the team on the ground are doing now and the plans they have for the future. As an advocate for good environmental practice it was also grand to see the work being done to the first few holes. Native Savannah grass has bee planted in the rough areas and provides great color contrast, gives good definition and most important requires minimal input. I can never understand why you would want high maintenance rough areas anyway – since they see limited traffic in comparison to the play areas (which should be the focus).

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Savannah grass bounding many of the holes

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The golf course is alive with bird and animal life. This is one of many peacocks I saw on the day

The golf course is a great addition to the others on the island. Its just perfect for those staying at the resort or others wanting a day out from the hussle and bussle of Colombo. See video of my time at the resort and also my spectacular drive along the coastal road from Hambantota to Galle here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IR6QpNXYS7k&feature=youtu.be

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