Golf construction on hold in China, Dyes wait patiently


China, once the world’s hottest golf market, is now all but frozen stiff, thanks mostly to the latest ban on construction that threatens farm land, which the Chinese view as one of their most vital natural resources. For now, developers, contractors and architects are waiting patiently for the central government to issue new policies to regulate golf construction.

“I’m very concerned about the new crackdown, but it’s needed,” said O’Brien McGarey, one of the principals of Englewood-based Dye Designs Group. “It’s about time they had some regulations.”

Nobody wants golf construction to resume as much as the Colorado-based wing of the Dye family. The Dyes have 11 projects in various states of design and construction in the People’s Republic, and not one of them is currently active.

McGarey married into the Dye family. He’s the husband of Cynthia Dye-McGarey, who, as the niece of Pete Dye, grew up in the golf business and has been designing courses in China for the better part of a decade. In fact, these days the couple’s three sons also spend most of their time in China, designing and shaping courses and tending to the family’s business.

So far, Dye-McGarey has two courses under her belt, West Coast Golf Club on Hainan Island and 27 holes at CTS Tycoon (Shenzhen) Golf Club in Guangdong Province. She has projects-in-waiting all over the People’s Republic (not to mention work in Azerbaijan, New Caledonia, and Portugal), but she’s staked out a special claim in Yunnan Province, with four projects that carry a potential total of 99 holes.

Her highest-profile commission in the province has arguably come from Skyait Golf Club, an emerging golf mega-center in Xundian County, roughly an hour’s drive from central Kunming. At build-out, the 10,000-acre community will include a slew of houses, a resort-style hotel with a conference center, restaurants, various recreational amenities, and a record-approaching 10 golf courses.

“It’s all a matter of status and perception,” said McGarey. “They all know the Mission Hills story.”

Skyait is being developed by Tianshi Tourism Development Company, Ltd., a privately owned group. The company has already built the community’s first two 18-hole courses, the Lake View and Whole View (or perhaps “Hole” View) tracks.

The Dyes have been hired to produce Skyait’s next two 18-hole courses, and possibly a nine-hole, par-3 course as well. Dye-McGarey will design course number three, a stand-alone, tournament-worthy venue to be known as the Championship course, and she’ll lend support to Matthew, one of her sons, who’ll design the fourth course, the Community course. The latter, which will be flanked by houses and a hotel, will be Matthew’s first solo project.

“It’s time for him to earn his wings,” quips his father.

Tianshi Tourism had planned to break ground on Skyait’s third course in late 2011 and on its fourth in the fall of 2012, but it can’t begin until the central government resolves its issues with golf.

This story originally appeared in the World Edition of the Golf Course Report, in a slightly different form. For a sample copy of the World Edition, call 301/680-9460 or write to



A view of Golf in China 2006 By Brett Johnson. Australian PGA Member The Golf bubble is ever increasing in China, looking back to 1994 when I first arrived in China to assist China’s first hand full of Professional Golfers in Shenzhen. Thinking about how these guys are very determine to success. Listening to them through a translator, they basically had very little golf background skills. But their smiles and hearts were unbelievable they wanted to learn golf. I think back then there were 8 golf professionals and 20 golf courses in China. Now after 12 years the picture is clearer but not completed, full of uncertainties! Brett has Developed and Implemented 3 opening Golf Clubs in China as the General Manager Perspectives are on the doorsteps; China is the biggest destination for foreign investment currently and knows the third largest trading country in the world. Witnessing global business community and continuing to invest millions of funds into a growing country. The economy is like a sprinter, the rising income gap is reaching an unrest concern. A country of 1.4 billion in the coming years China is in demand and golf is no exception. But be careful, 1st understand how the business culture is done. Over the years the golf phenomena is being put forward in many valuations a loose term it’s being tested surely, but defined as a creation of expected greater growth in all areas of golf. The past we have seen an explosion of the golf market in all providences in China an increasing challenges for the Multi Ball Games Administrative Center of General Administration of Sport. Where golf is officially listed under their control! China Golf Course Real Estate has characterized the industry with purloined speculative buying market many of these properties were quick investments unreasonable centerpiece high prices and money making avenues for the investors. Is the term of Landscaping, Green Opium, Parkland and Resort an avenue for golf course developers to gain approval from! Yes it is, by not using the term / name of Golf Course means a lot in China. At the moment China is still finding a way to sustain its harmonious environment ways, Bureaucrat’s sensitive issues are not easy! Governments had announces no more construction of golf course, but where is the official documentation to show this notice. Was this because of the golf housing taxes concerning issues or not sure on how to handle the overall concerns of golf! Along with the farmers voice of concerns. Still not there, increasing the bubble with the number of golf courses ever increasing over the years it is easy to see there maybe 500 or even 1500 new golf courses within 15 to 25 years. Could the bubble burst causing many these golf courses to fail? If we have so many failed golf course how will this be handle! We don't have the clear guideline on Golf in China of who can make the directions and control the future of golf in China! We could have a much difficult times ahead. I am very confident that a sensible solution to this will be found. But no one has come forward to provide any answers. Golf is making so much money for the Government and this money is supporting the other 8 small balls Multi Ball Games Administrative Center of General Administration. So why stop this! Chinese Government don't support golf but play the game and have Memberships, it has the highest tax bracket of any sport and is classed along side KTV as a business entertainment and not a sport. The Government still to this day has inspections of golf courses through out China. It has closed some of these courses down and also given others greater support in their needs to move forward. The more money you have the more powerful you become. Golf is very expensive in China for the lower class Chinese. As we know there is a huge depth of wealth in China and these people can afford up to 3 to 5 Golf Membership at different clubs. Some buy for face value or to do business dealing with in, but the last report is only 68% of Membership sold is used for actual golf play. USD100,000.00 for a Membership is the average fee which is being paid throughout China. Many clubs are close for Membership sale as they are full! Professional Golf Tournaments in China is increasing each year. This is given us a good awareness of what Tournaments is all about. Big names and big prize money, it isn’t an easy thing to do as many co-ordinate operational permits are required before you can receive permission to go ahead. There is a large sum of money which must be pay before conducting any sporting event. Permit money for the tournament is big. One feels that Administrators are chasing this money and not the real picture of future golf in China. Don’t be fooled by accepting that return on investment should dominate all aspect of that tournament. Chinese Professional Golfers needs more education and training on Pro events. They can not grow by just staying in China and playing less then a hand full of International events against world class pros. 2 This will become an embarrassment to them and CPGA. Gaining a visa and solid backing is needed. We must see more Chinese Pros playing on the Asian Tour on a full time bases with Chinese support from the top. China needs to find the next Yao Ming in golf. Golf courses are falling into what I would call either a semi private, public position. By the Owners, they will have to realize sooner or later on the conclusion the difference between a member and membership! A membership has a source of greater revenue money up front, where many Owners are focusing on only. Is it true that a high percentage of Owners want the golf course more for themselves then the club? Do they feel in a relinquished control position? Because they don’t wish to loss control over daily green fees! There is probably more then 50 percent of golf courses losing money from incorrect infrastructure and implementations which must be address before it’s too late. A good sound Owner or Manager will never ever criticized another course or club. But will judge their own course based upon their yesterday results. Currently the gap of building the courses and the correct business management for these projects say Software is poor. Golf Courses are still going to need the experience foreigners to operator such project until the locals can conduct the scope of work correctly. Don’t get me wrong not all Operational personal are the same but finding the balance is hard! For China’s Golf to go forward we must set up a better infrastructure of educational management practices. Using the same concepts of other strong golfing countries like of, Australia, Europe and USA their PGA where programs are the best. Basically golf is a new game for them. We are not fully establishing or maintaining the clubs operations criteria with respect. Been lulled into a concept of return on investment is for the golf course only. Otherwise you made become a static number of failures. What is important now for them is money! There has been some strong work progress being made in China by individuals and groups with a so call get together China Golf Clubs General Manager meeting, Asian Golf Course Owners Association, Golf Professional Tournaments, Children’s Golf Events and Golf Shows. I am at least 1 of 3 General Manager from Australia PGA who has spent a long time in China. But what is really missing is the Direction of what decision wills the Multi Ball Games Administrative Center of General Administration of Sport make! They know the problem, how to solve the problem is the problem!!!! One believes that golf is an uphill climb for the current Administrates and this concern is just too big now to control. But just like the skies in China this sport has the same color! Many golf course owners make a huge mistake by starting their project with out controlling 100% of land or a permit from Beijing. Where they think money is power and this will push the farmers out. These farmers are fighting back and their word of concern is very strong to the Government. Water taken from the framers is also a big concern as the framers feel they don’t have enough water for the crops to support their needs. But then the Owners are then forced to pay corruption money for support. There is a very special way in doing business in China and one must be careful in doing so. People love their golf and want to learn more about, What is Golf? To play golf in China is great fun and an experience to do so. Just choose carefully to where and when you wish to play. Concerns could range from sand storms, air pollution, cold, poor air quality and extreme heat. Pick the countryside and not too many the cities as we all know that Beijing is not a good place to complete outside for any form of sports most of the time. In saying this one should go and visit China to see what its like at 1st hand. Best time to visit is March through to May and October to December. That would be their Spring and Autumn. It’s very hard to cover such a big country in a short time. But I would like to say, please visit these places for your golf. Where you will find some of the most attractive courses to play such as Qingtao / Shanghai / Hangzhou / Kumming / Hainan / Shenzhen and Guangzhou. Golf fees range from RMB 500 to RMB 1,800 per person including Buggy and Caddy service. The End>>>>>…………………………………

Hi, what you talked about is truly golf situation in China. I come from linking, I know how the golf courses there have been controlled by government. Hope the dream comes true that there will be another Yao Ming in golf in china.

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