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Golf in China

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Golf in China

Mission Hills Haikou in Hainan Province is a golf resort under-construction which will be the world's largest when completed.

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.

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.[3] Around 2008, growth rate of the golf industry is 25 to 30 percent per year.[4] In 2011, the rate is moderated by a much larger base, decreased to 7.5%(45 New courses).[1]

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 Lian-wei and Liang Wen-Chong.

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.[4]


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


The sport was banned up until the middle of the 1980s by the communist party as being too bourgeois.[6]

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.[4]

The first international tournament held in China was the 1995 World Cup at Mission Hills in Guangdong.[4]

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.[4]

Customer costs

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.[4] The green fee for guest golfers is $125 plus caddie on weekdays, and $180 plus caddie on weekends.[4] 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.[4]

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.
Pine Valley Beijing Open 2007 2008 1,200,000
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
TCL Classic 2002 2007 $1,000,000
Volkswagen Masters-China 2004 2006 $300,000
Volvo China Open 1995 RMB20,000,000
WGC-HSBC Champions 2005 US$7,000,000


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


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

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,[7] will contain 22 golf courses and luxury hotels when fully built out.[8] It will be one of the largest golf complexes in the world. The resort became the host of the World Cup starting in 2011.

See also


  1. ^ a b China Golf Industry Report (2011),
  2. ^ a b "Chinese government turns its attention to (illegal) golf - Sport". The Independent. 2011-05-26. Retrieved 2011-06-16. 
  3. ^ Gwinnell, Philip; Han, Bin (2010), China's Emerging Jewel, Hainan, The Definitive Guide, ISBN 978-7-5501-0016-9., p.277
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Sirak, Ron. "Sirak: Ready To Shine?". Golf Digest. Retrieved 2011-06-16. 
  5. ^ Verification of the fact that Golf originated from Chuiwan, Ling Hongling, Professor of Physical Education, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou, P.R. China
  6. ^ "China's Golf Obsession". Foreign Policy. 2010-02-24. Retrieved 2011-06-16. 
  7. ^ Elaine Chow (2010-01-04). "Extra! Extra! A golf club the size of Hong Kong Island ... and other news". Shanghaiist. Retrieved 2011-06-16. 
  8. ^ "/ FT Magazine - Golf’s secret boom in Hainan, China". 2010-01-01. Retrieved 2011-06-16. 

External links

  • China Golf Association, official website
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