Golf in China
Golf in China is a growing industry, with numerous golf courses being established, especially in the province of Hainan. There are around 358,000 core players (Aged over 18 and play more than 8 rounds a year) among Chinese population, with a growth rate of 7.5%. That figure is projected to grow to about 20 million by 2020. For the general public, golf is considered to be prohibitively expensive. However, it is seen as the top recreational sport for businesspeople and officials.
Despite a ban that limits the number of golf courses in China due to environmental impact concerns, the number has more than tripled since 2004. At that time, only 170 courses existed. By 2009 there were almost 600. Around 2008, growth rate of the golf industry is 25 to 30 percent per year. In 2011, the rate is moderated by a much larger base, decreased to 7.5%(45 New courses).
The sport attracts both foreign investment and overseas golfers, who come from such countries as South Korea, Australia, and Japan for the relatively inexpensive fees.
At the 2007 National People's Congress, acknowledging that the construction of new golf courses is not only a waste of public money, but also an illegal use of space, Premier Wen Jiabao said to the Congress that contracts in building new golf courses should be highly discouraged. The government currently imposes a 24 percent tax on golf clubs.
The sport was banned up until the middle of the 1980s by the communist party as being too bourgeois.
The first international tournament held in China was the 1995 World Cup at Mission Hills in Guangdong.
China's first regularly scheduled tournament was the 2004 BMW Asian Open. In 2005, the Volvo China Open was held in China, followed by the HSBC Champions in 2006.
Green fees and memberships in China are often expensive relative to developed nations. Average green fees for non-members are usually at least $100 USD, and often far more expensive. For example, at the Tomson Shanghai Pudong Golf Club, home to the BMW Asian Open on the European Tour, the initiation fee $170,000 with $1,800 a year dues. Condos sell for $22 million. The green fee for guest golfers is $125 plus caddie on weekdays, and $180 plus caddie on weekends. At that particular club, however, out of the 700 members, 300 are from overseas. At Shanghai's Sheshan International Golf Club where such tournaments as the HSBC Champions is played, the initiation fee is $230,000.
Clubs and courses
There are currently about 500 golf courses in the country, the first of which was constructed in 1984. Mission Hills is one of the leading firms, owning courses around the country. Its Mission Hills Golf Club near Shenzhen has 12 courses, making it the world's largest golfing complex.
|Club or Course name||Province||Year opened||Holes||Notes|
|Hong Kong Golf Club||Hong Kong||1889||63|
|Mission Hills Shenzhen||Shenzhen||1992||216||With twelve courses, it was the world's largest golf facility in 2004|
|Mission Hills Haikou||Hainan||180||When fully built out, the resort will have 22 courses (396 holes).|
|Sheshan Golf Club||Shanghai|
|Yalong Bay Golf Club||Hainan|
|Caesars Macau||Macau||Owned by Caesars Entertainment Corporation|
Competitions and tournaments
|Tournament||Established||Final year||Prize fund||Notes|
|Omega Mission Hills World Cup||1953||US$7,500,000||First held in China in 1995; China became the regular host in 2007.|
|BMW Asian Open||2001||2008||$2,300,000|
|Grand China Air LPGA||2007||2008||$1,800,000|
|Luxehills Chengdu Open||2008||2010||US$1,000,000|
|Midea China Classic||2007||2010||US$1,000,000|
|Mission Hills Star Trophy||2010||$1,200,000|
|Qingdao Golf Open||2008||2008||US$500,000||Challenge Tour|
|Suzhou Taihu Ladies Open||2008||€200,000|
|Volvo China Open||1995||RMB20,000,000|
Numerous world-class players have emerged from China, including:
- Liang Wen-Chong is one of the top Chinese golfers, and the first to win a top pro event. In 2010, he won the Chengdu Open.
- Shanshan Feng became the first Chinese golfer of either sex to win a major championship when she won the 2012 LPGA Championship.
- Christopher Tsui
- Li Chao
- Zhang Lianwei
- Guan Tianlang, who won the 2012 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship at age 14, and in the following year's Masters, while still 14, became the youngest player ever to make the cut at a men's major championship.
Mission Hills Haikou golf complex
Under construction since 2006, the Mission Hills Haikou is a multi-billion-dollar project. This 80 km² complex (1.5 times the size of Manhattan), opened in 2011, will contain 22 golf courses and luxury hotels when fully built out. It will be one of the largest golf complexes in the world. The resort became the host of the World Cup starting in 2011.
- China Golf Industry Report (2011), http://www.forwardgolf.com.cn/en/newsshow.asp?id=1109
- "Chinese government turns its attention to (illegal) golf - Sport". The Independent. 2011-05-26. Retrieved 2011-06-16.
- Gwinnell, Philip; Han, Bin (2010), China's Emerging Jewel, Hainan, The Definitive Guide, ISBN 978-7-5501-0016-9., p.277
- Sirak, Ron. "Sirak: Ready To Shine?". Golf Digest. Retrieved 2011-06-16.
- Verification of the fact that Golf originated from Chuiwan, Ling Hongling, Professor of Physical Education, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou, P.R. China
- "China's Golf Obsession". Foreign Policy. 2010-02-24. Retrieved 2011-06-16.
- Elaine Chow (2010-01-04). "Extra! Extra! A golf club the size of Hong Kong Island ... and other news". Shanghaiist. Retrieved 2011-06-16.
- "/ FT Magazine - Golf’s secret boom in Hainan, China". Ft.com. 2010-01-01. Retrieved 2011-06-16.