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Author Topic: China's golf boom not quite proceeding as smoothly as hoped  (Read 1555 times)
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sunjiangyao
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« on: March 10, 2010, 08:54:14 PM »
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Here's something you don't see every day -- a story about how wonderful things are in China turns out to not be quite so rosy after all. No, you see that story only about every other day.

In this case, the subject is golf. You'll recall that last fall, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and others traveled to Shanghai for a triumphant HSBC golf tournament, and word on the street was that golf in China was rallying.

Alas, it's not quite as smooth as advertised. While there are 20 golf courses in Beijing, only one of them has actually been developed legally, according to a Chinese government official. That course, the Beijing International Golf Club near the Ming Tombs, was the first course built in Beijing, back in 1984.

Later courses have included Pine Valley, designed by Jack Nicklaus, and courses that have hosted the China Open.

Since the development of Beijing International Golf Club, however, developers have gone on a mad land-grab for property, snagging acres of choice farmland for new courses. The government put the clamps down on development of all golf courses, allegedly halting them in 2004. But development has continued nonetheless, and the China Golf Association now estimates that there are an estimated 500 courses across the country.  

As with much else in China, the issue is a debate between immediate needs and future planning. Carving up prime farming territory for a golf course may not be the wisest use of resources. And while it's important to note that pro golfers have no culpability in this debate, it would be interesting to see a Jack

Nicklaus or a Phil Mickelson take a more active role in encouraging environmentally friendly golf course development. Sure, it'd be like trying to chip over the Great Wall, but it'd be worth a try.



 
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