Diversified Development of Chinese Golf Industry
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.