Di­ver­si­fied De­vel­op­ment of Chi­nese Golf In­dus­try

China's Foreign Trade (English) - - Contents - By Liu Xin­wei

The Chi­nese gov­ern­ment has is­sued var­i­ous poli­cies against the Chi­nese golf in­dus­try in re­cent years. As lo­cal gov­ern­ments are in­spect­ing and dis­man­tling golf cour­ses to im­ple­ment na­tional poli­cies, Chi­nese golf in­dus­try is fac­ing tremen­dous dif­fi­cul­ties. This the con­se­quence of “bar­baric” growth of the in­dus­try, and also an in­evitable path lead­ing to in­dus­try reg­u­la­tion. “Al­though the pro­mo­tion of golf games has met some prob­lems in China, China has a huge mar­ket with great po­ten­tial.” said David Lead­bet­ter, the world’s lead­ing golf in­struc­tor, dur­ing the 2016 China Golf show held re­centcy.

“Golf + net­work”, Launches the era of In­door Golf

As the net­work econ­omy is grow­ing rapidly, the form, way of ex­pe­ri­ence and en­ter­tain­ment of the golf in­dus­try have also been un­der­go­ing deep trans­for­ma­tion. The in­door golf has be­gun to emerge. On the day when the golf show was held, China golf com­pany Green­joy was launch­ing the City Golf APP, the first of its kind in the world, to show the au­di­ence the beauty and splen­dor of golf life in the era of net­work.

“City golf APP fea­tures mobile net­work that breaks the lim­i­ta­tions of in­door golf in terms of time­li­ness, space and in­ter­ac­tion and brings to golf fans more con­ve­nient, di­rect, ac­cu­rate and amus­ing golf ex­pe­ri­ences.” said Wang Ji­jun, chair­man of Green­joy.

The in­ac­ces­si­bil­ity and high costs of golf games is a very high bar­rier for the pro­mo­tion of golf sports. With the guid­ance of “Net­work+” con­cept, Chi­nese in­door golf op­er­a­tor Run­golf has worked with David Lead­bet­ter to es­tab­lish a net­work-based ed­u­ca­tional plat­form, launch­ing the new era of net­work golf ed­u­ca­tion.

Mr. Lead­bet­ter also be­lieves that in­door golf is the best way to learn how to swing, as peo­ple do not have to worry about the pres­sure of ball. Golf play­ers are able to fo­cus more on the tech­niques than the re­sults.

The model of “net­work + golf ” rep­re­sents the new­est trend of golf games and pro­vides a new plat­form for golf fans. As the thresh­old is lower for learn­ing play­ing golf games, the golf games will be­come more and more pop­u­lar.

As a new em­ployee born in the 1990s, Mr. Liu was at­tracted by the golf games last year. Speak­ing of the rea­son, he said, “In the past when peo­ple talked about golf games, it is more like a sports game for the rich peo­ple. Now things are quite dif­fer­ent as there are more and more golf cour­ses, and some of them are as cheap as the gyms. You could reg­is­ter as their mem­ber and play the games any­time you want. Also, the golf teach­ing soft­ware is be­com­ing more avail­able, and you just sim­ply down­load an app, rather than spend­ing big money on find­ing an in­struc­tor.”

The Chi­nese golf in­dus­try is grad­u­ally re­cov­er­ing, as it is trans­form­ing to­wards a net­work-based op­er­a­tion model that caters to the mar­ket. As more young con­sumers from all walks of life join the golf games, the Chi­nese golf in­dus­try is em­brac­ing fresh op­por­tu­ni­ties. The spring of Chi­nese golf is com­ing.

Golf-sus­tain­abil­ity, win-win sit­u­a­tion for de­vel­op­ment and en­vi­ron­ment

The golf in­dus­try de­vel­op­ment fo­rum, also called R& A (The Royal and

An­cient Golf Club of St. An­drews) Golf Sem­i­nar, was held con­cur­rently with the golf show. This fo­rum dis­cussed the golf course de­sign, ren­o­va­tion, main­te­nance and sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment. Do­minic Wall, Di­rec­tor of Asia-pa­cific, The R& A, said at the fo­rum, “The year 2016 will be a key mo­ment for golf games, as it will re­turn to the Olympic Games af­ter 100 years. The sus­tain­abil­ity of golf games will be an is­sued faced by all of us.”

As the di­rec­tor of Asia Pa­cific, the R& A, Do­minic is liv­ing in Hong Kong and he fre­quently trav­els to the golf cour­ses of Asia, to in­spect the con­struc­tion and main­te­nance of the venue. As for the zon­ing plan of the Chi­nese golf in­dus­try, Do­minic said, “I be­lieve the Chi­nese golf in­dus­try will un­dergo deep growth in the fu­ture, as we may de­velop aban­doned land into golf cour­ses.”

“I re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate that we could play golf games at well-main­tained cour­ses. We shall be far- sighted and at­tach great im­por­tance to the sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment of golf cour­ses and leave the best to the next gen­er­a­tion. I re­ally hope that through all our ef­forts, we shall ex­plore a new op­er­a­tion model with sci­en­tific ap­proach, to get more peo­ple in­volved in the game that will bring life­time ben­e­fits for ev­ery­one.” said Liang Wen­chong, head of Chi­nese Na­tional Golf Team for Olympics.

China Agri­cul­tural Univer­sity pro­fes­sor Hu Lin said there is stereo­type that the golf course takes large floor space, has high water con­sump­tion and con­tam­i­nates the en­vi­ron­ment. As a mat­ter of fact, the con­struc­tion of the golf cour­ses could use low-qual­ity land, such as land for stor­age garbage and bar­ren land. Re­gard­ing the en­vi­ron­ment pro­tec­tion, we could con­trol the use of chem­i­cals to al­le­vi­ate the water eu­troph­i­ca­tion caused by loss of ni­trate. The water quota could also be al­lo­cated for golf cases to con­trol the water ef­fi­ciency of ir­ri­ga­tion within the range of 0.8-0.9, out­per­form­ing most arable land.

“Peo­ple a lway s ig­nore t he con­tri­bu­tions of the golf cour­ses to the en­vi­ron­ment im­prove­ment.” Hu Lin men­tions that the golf course could main­tain the green area of the com­mu­nity, pro­vide habi­tat for wild an­i­mals, im­prove the air qual­ity, ab­sorb and fil­ter rain water, pu­rify the sur­face runoff, im­prove peo­ple’s health, re­duce loss of water and soil and re­pair dam­aged land.

Steve Isaac, di­rec­tor of golf course man­age­ment, the R& A, gave his sug­ges­tions to pro­mote the sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment of Chi­nese golf in­dus­try, “First, build­ing up golf cour­ses with the spirit of in­no­va­tion on the low-value aban­doned land will bring huge ben­e­fits to lo­cal so­ci­ety.”

“Lower the thresh­old of play­ing golf games, but more low-cost golf cour­ses and im­prove the fun of play­ing the game.” Steve sug­gests that it would be bet­ter to choose lo­cal grass va­ri­ety to re­duce the costs of main­te­nance, im­prove the ex­pe­ri­ence of play­ing. Also, it will im­prove the sus­tain­abil­ity of water re­sources.

Steve also said that im­prov­ing the qual­ity of golf course turf and re­duc­ing the space of turf will lower the us­age of water, fer­til­izer and chem­i­cals.

“Golf + tourism” is a new eco­nomic growth point

The rapid growth of the Chi­nese econ­omy and do­ing sports has be­come a so­cial trend. A large group of golf fans have emerged. Now the num­ber of peo­ple reg­is­ter­ing into golf clubs has been grow­ing with an an­nual rate of 10%. The num­ber of peo­ple play­ing golf games has sur­passed 1 mil­lion, which also spurs the de­vel­op­ment of golf tourism in­dus­try.

“Golf tourism is a very di­rec­tional and spe­cific recre­ational tourism. The tourism des­ti­na­tion is the golf course, de­spite the de­gree of trav­el­ers’ in­volve­ment into the golf games.” said Wu Kex­i­ang, deputy pro­fes­sor of Shen­zhen School of Tourism, Ji­nan Univer­sity. The golf course could work with tourism agen­cies to seek busi­ness trav­el­ers with high con­sump­tion abil­i­ties to solve the is­sue of trav­eler source, im­prove the ef­fi­ciency of golf cour­ses, in­crease the op­er­a­tional rev­enue and stim­u­late the de­vel­op­ment of lo­cal tourism and cater­ing in­dus­try.

Hainan Prov­ince has unique ad­van­tage of de­vel­op­ing golf tourism. It is estimated that the num­ber of peo­ple play­ing golf in Hainan has been in­creas­ing in re­cent years and golf has closely com­bined with lo­cal tourism in­dus­try. “Play­ing the golf game Hainan dur­ing win­ter sea­son” has been a big at­trac­tion for golf fans liv­ing in North China, Ja­pan, S. Korea, North Europe and East Europe.

As the gol f game be­comes in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar, it has be­come a new hot spot of Hainan re­cre­ation tourism. Hainan has listed the golf game as one of the top 6 tourism prod­ucts and lo­cal golf in­dus­try has reached a cer­tain scale. The host­ing of do­mes­tic, in­ter­na­tional, pro­fes­sional and am­a­teur­ish golf matches and the de­vel­op­ment of golf tourism prod­ucts with lo­cal dis­tinc­tions have at­tracted a large num­ber of golf fans and tourists.

Xiao Jian­ping, deputy head of the Group De­part­ment of Hainan Cul­ture and Sports Bureau, said that in re­cent years, the host­ing of var­i­ous in­ter­na­tional golf com­pe­ti­tions in Haikou makes it one of the best tourism des­ti­na­tions for golf funs. It greatly en­hanced the in­flu­ence of Haikou golf in­dus­try and at­tracted a lot of peo­ple both at home and abroad to ex­pe­ri­ence the fun of play­ing the game.

“It shall in­volve more and more peo­ple into the Chi­nese golf games, to pro­mote the healthy de­vel­op­ment of the in­dus­try. It shall cor­re­spond to the cul­tural in­dus­try de­vel­op­ment strat­egy ad­vo­cated by the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment, to meet the im­me­di­ate needs of Chi­nese peo­ple for health con­sump­tion.” said Wang Guodi, deputy sec­re­tary of Hainan Golf As­so­ci­a­tion.

Do­ing sports has be­come a so­cial trend. A large group of golf fans have emerged.

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