China development on the skids, APGG reports

The Asia Pacific Golf Group, for years an unabashed promoter for Asian golf, has had a change of opinion regarding golf development in China.

The Singapore-based group, best known as the organizer the annual Asia Pacific Golf Summit, has concluded that China’s golf industry has hit the skids and won’t recover anytime soon. “The Chinese dragon seems to have lost its puff,” it writes in the June issue of Asian Club Business.

Such a reappraisal reflects the angst that’s become palpable as China’s golf business falls from its dizzying heights. In its anonymously written cover story, Asian Club Business says that golf course architects are “very disappointed with the pace of golf course development in China, or the lack of it.” It notes that fewer people went through the turnstiles at this year’s Beijing Golf Show, with “a big drop in registered attendance for architects and designers.” It quotes an unnamed architect as saying, “Golf in China has been awful for over two years now” and allows another to complain about “all the crappy Chinese courses built by bad designers that nobody wants to play on.”

Asian Club Business also has misgivings about the future of golf in China, due mostly to the industry’s poisonously close relationship with home builders. Like other analysts, the magazine fears that the nation’s real estate market “may collapse,” a prospect it believes would have dire consequences for golf development because “most golf courses in China are built as an excuse to develop real estate.”

“Golf development in China is rarely connected with a genuine interest to develop and grow the game,” the magazine notes.


Bob, Many have seen this coming for a long time. I sure hope that the remaining developing countries in the rest of Asia learn the lessons and do not repeat the mistakes of the West. Jim

The last two sentences says it all....most courses being built to develope real estate, and golf developements rarely connected with a genuine interest to develope and grow the game. Sounds familiar. Golf deserves better.

As an operator of a golf course in Fujian province, we also hear plenty of scuttlebutt about the course development business in China. An important factor in why there's a virtual standstill comes out of Beijing: Chairman Xi's well-publicized objective of cutting down on government corruption. Not only has our sport been closely linked to real estate development, as well stated in this article, but it's also been button-holed as an elite sport and for those who need to wine and dine local government officials to get their deals (real estate and otherwise) done. Now, local officials who used to play our course are staying away and, of course, not even listening to plans to build other courses. As previously stated, golf deserves better--and so do less well-healed people in China who genuinely want to learn and play the game.

Add new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.
If you enjoyed this article and would like to sign up for a FREE digital subscription, click here!