Some People Love Golf

Chinese Golf Courses

The Chinese sure do.  They build Mega courses.  Consider Mission Hills Club where there are 12 courses all in a row on the mainland across from Hong Kong.

John Bender, a Florida videographer, said, “I was there to film for the Golf Channel.  To see these U.S. designed courses all in a row at Mission Hills, is unbelievable.”

According to a couple of Australian golfers who commented recently on Trip Advisor about Mission Hills in Shenzhen: “Played 8 rounds in 11 days.  Favorites were the Olazabal, Norman and Osaki but the Sorenstam/Rose/Poulter night course was just as good and an incredible experience.  Also played the Faldo, Peter Dye, World Cup and Zhang Lei Wei courses”  Chris R. also said about cost: “It depends upon the course but expect at least $200 Australian dollars.”

Gloria, also from Melbourne, said: “I went to Mission Hills for one week and played five different courses.  I booked through China Golf Experience.  Everything was organized and trouble free from the transfers from Hong Kong airport to . . . ”

Another golfer said on Trip Advisor, “216 holes of golf.  Unbelievable.  The condition of the course I played was very impressive.  The whole experience is one I will never forget.  A great day out for golfers of all abilities.  A must if you have the time and money.”

Thirty years ago there wasn’t a golf course in China.  Chairman Mao called it a sport for the bourgeois.  However, when President Carter greeted Chinese leader Deng Ziapoing in the U.S. in l979, Deng knew that if Americans were to invest in China they’d need to travel there and would need a course.

So when Carter introduced Deng to Robert Trent Jones Jr., a world top golf course architect, Deng asked him, “What is golf?”

“It’s a small ball hit over a big field into a hole.  People gamble about it and buy each other drinks.”

“Of perfect,” pronounced Deng.  “Chinese will love it.” and went home to build the first course.

On Bender’s visit to film U.S. business men who work in China and play golf, he met the man who invented the sweat-proof grips for tennis rackets and golf clubs.

When Chinese build a golf course, or any other type of project, the workers all move to live on the site just as is expected to happen with projects coming up on their New Silk Road.

Now the Chinese are thinking differently about golf.  Many were built were on valuable farmland and others used too much water in parched areas of the country.  Most were private, exclusive to businessmen who often invited local government officials to play.  As a result says Rob Schmitz as heard on NPR’s Main Edition, “The government has shut down 111 courses, one fifth of all courses in China and is banning construction of new ones.

This becomes challenge for Chinese players.  Party officials in one province are forbidden from playing during working hours.  Government official inspection squads show up at clubs to look through computers to check day by day how much a player spent and who they were playing with.

The rise of Chinese golfers such as Feng Shanshan, one of the best women players in the world who won a bronze for China at the Rio Games, leads the way for other young Chinese golfers, who play not to complete a business deal, but because they enjoy hitting a small ball over a big field into a little hole.

“If you have a golf academy, a pro shop, a golf course, you need to promote, do some marketing.  But at the same time, you have to stay under the radar and not promote the fact that you’re in the golf industry,” says Gareth Winslow, head coach at Shanghai’s Junior Golf Academy.  “Promoting golf in China can be tricky.”