Golf is one of the most international sports in the world with a growing popularity through marketing by both the PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour. While the sport is becoming more international, some regions have resisted and shut down the spread of the game.
China is one of those areas that is cracking down on the golf boom in their Country by shutting down 111 Golf Courses. Further, 18 courses were required to give back land to the government and 47 others were instructed to halt expansion plans for their courses. This oppression of the game has long been a part of Chinese history.
China is cracking down on the technically illegal golf course boom: https://t.co/eDquKAr1kL pic.twitter.com/hwZD2EyUUM
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) January 24, 2017
Dating back to Mao Zedong’s reign, golf was banned for being “a sport for millionaires.” However, despite being initially banned back in 1949, golf had a bit of a revival in the 1980s under the economic reforms of President Deng Xiaoping and by 1990, there were courses in the country designed by PGA legends, such as Jack Niklaus and Arnold Palmer.
While this revival lasted for awhile, golf has still been looked down upon in China. For example, there was a law passed in 2004 that banned the development of any more golf courses in the country. Current Chinese President Xi Jinping also strongly discouraged any members of the Communist Party to play golf two years ago.
The astonishing thing, however, is that golf is still growing in the country. For example, despite the ban on developing golf courses in 2004, there has actually been an increase in golf courses in the country, growing from under 200 courses to over 600 golf courses in the past 12 years. These courses were typically built under the guise of other projects, such as parks and real estate property. And despite the most recent crackdown on golf, there is still at least one golf course in all of China’s 33 provinces.
The sport’s popularity has also continued to grow in the country among its people. According to Wang Liwei, the secretary-general of the China Golf Association, there are over 10,000 youth golfers. The country also holds over 300 international tournaments every year.
While China continues its crackdown on the sport of golf, it is interesting to see that the nation still boasts much popularity and growth of the game. It will be important to keep an eye on China in the next few years to see if their crackdown will dampen support for the sport or if golf will continue to expand amongst the country.
Cover Photo via Flickr