Golf in China

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Mission Hills Haikou in Hainan Province is a large golf resort

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%.[1] That figure is projected to grow to about 20 million by 2020.[2] For the general public, golf is considered to be prohibitively expensive. However, it is seen as the top recreational sport for businesspeople and officials.

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.

China holds such tournaments as the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, TCL Classic on Hainan Island, the Volvo China Open and the BMW Asian Open.

Among the country's most successful golfers are Zhang Lianwei and Liang Wen-Chong.


The Xuande Emperor playing a game that looks like golf, called chuiwan

Chuiwan, a stick and ball game with some similarities to golf was played in China as early as 1000 AD, with evidence existing from the Song dynasty.[3]

The sport was banned up until the middle of the 1980s by the Communist Party of China as being too bourgeois.[4]

The first golf course constructed in China opened in 1984. It was the Chung Shan Hot Springs in Zhongshan, based on a design by Arnold Palmer.[5]

The first international tournament held in China was the 1995 World Cup at Mission Hills in Guangdong province.[5]

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.[5]

Despite a ban in 2004 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.[6] Around 2008, growth rate of the golf industry is 25 to 30 percent per year.[5] In 2011, the rate was moderated by a much larger base, decreased to 7.5% (45 new courses).[1] The number of courses rose further to 683 by January 2017, when the government ordered 111 of them closed due to water and land conservation concerns. At that time, all of China's province-level divisions except Tibet had at least one course in operation.[7]

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.[5] In October 2015, the Chinese Communist Party banned all its members from joining golf clubs among other displays of extravagance as part of China's anti-corruption campaign.[8] Several months later, the party clarified its position in an editorial in China Daily, stating that party members were not to accept free memberships or rounds.[7]

Customer costs[edit]

Green fees and memberships in China are often expensive relative to developed nations. Average green fees for non-members are usually at least US$100, 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.[5] The green fee for guest golfers is $125 plus caddie on weekdays, and $180 plus caddie on weekends.[5] 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.[5]

Clubs and courses[edit]

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[edit]

Tournament Established Final year Prize fund Notes
World Cup 1953 US$7,500,000 First held in China in 1995; China hosted from 2007 to 2011.
Pine Valley Beijing Open 2007 2008 US$1,200,000 Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour
BMW Asian Open 2001 2008 US$2,300,000 Asian Tour and European Tour
Grand China Air LPGA 2007 2008 $1,800,000 LPGA Tour
Luxehills Chengdu Open 2008 2010 US$1,000,000 Omega China Tour and OneAsia Tour
Midea China Classic 2007 2010 US$1,000,000 OneAsia Tour
Mission Hills Star Trophy 2010 US$1,200,000
Qingdao Golf Open 2008 2008 US$500,000 Challenge Tour
Suzhou Taihu Ladies Open 2008 2013 €350,000 Ladies European Tour and Ladies Asian Golf Tour
TCL Classic 2002 2007 US$1,000,000 Asian Tour and European Tour
Volkswagen Masters-China 2004 2006 US$300,000 Asian Tour
Volvo China Open 1995 RMB20,000,000 European Tour, OneAsia Tour, Asian Tour
WGC-HSBC Champions 2005 US$9,750,000 PGA Tour, European Tour, Asian Tour


Shanshan Feng during a practice round before the 2009 LPGA Championship, June 10, 2009, Havre de Grace, Maryland.

Numerous world-class players have emerged from China, including:

By province[edit]


Hainan is exempt from the nationwide ban on the creation of new golf courses. In the province, the leader in course construction is Mission Hills, having created 10 courses.[2]

Mission Hills Haikou golf complex[edit]

Under construction since 2006, the Mission Hills Haikou is a multibillion-dollar project. This 80 km² complex (1.5 times the size of Manhattan), opened in 2011,[9] will contain 22 golf courses and luxury hotels when fully built out.[10] It will be one of the largest golf complexes in the world. The resort hosted of the World Cup in 2011.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b China Golf Industry Report (2011),
  2. ^ a b "Chinese government turns its attention to (illegal) golf - Sport". The Independent. 25 May 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-16.
  3. ^ Verification of the fact that Golf originated from Chuiwan, Ling Hongling, Professor of Physical Education, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou, P.R. China
  4. ^ "China's Golf Obsession". Foreign Policy. 24 February 2010. Retrieved 2011-06-16.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Sirak, Ron (13 July 2008). "Sirak: Ready To Shine?". Golf Digest. Retrieved 2011-06-16.
  6. ^ Gwinnell, Philip; Han, Bin (2010), China's Emerging Jewel, Hainan, The Definitive Guide, ISBN 978-7-5501-0016-9., p.277
  7. ^ a b "China swings back at golf, shutting down 111 courses". ESPN. Associated Press. 24 January 2017. Retrieved 2017-02-01.
  8. ^ "China golf: Communist Party bans club membership". BBC. 22 October 2015. Retrieved 2015-10-22.
  9. ^ Chow, Elaine (4 January 2010). "Extra! Extra! A golf club the size of Hong Kong Island ... and other news". Shanghaiist. Retrieved 2011-06-16.
  10. ^ "/ FT Magazine - Golf's secret boom in Hainan, China". 1 January 2010. Retrieved 2011-06-16.

External links[edit]