Golf has taken a beating in China this past year with the Chinese authorities literally shutting down and even going to the extent of demolishing some golf courses and tearing down club-houses. The drastic action by the communist regime has sent shock waves through the international golf industry, especially those with contracts and projects in the Middle Kingdom.
One man who has been watching this development unfold is Brian Curley, principal of Schmidt-Curley Design Inc., arguably the most active golf course architect in China. According to Curley, the situation is both “grave and fluid” and constantly changing. He will share his thoughts on what he expects to be the final outcome at the 2014 Asia Pacific Golf Summit to be held at the iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore on November 14 and 15, 2014.
Over the past year, courses that have been shut down have been turned into eco-friendly parks and one has even been converted into a tea plantation suggesting the government could finally be cracking down on developers who have long ignored a 2004 ban on building new golf courses. The ban was originally imposed to protect China’s shrinking land and water resources in a country home to a fifth of the world’s population but which has just 7 percent of its water. The only place exempt is the southern resort island of Hainan.
The government said its actions served as a warning and an attempt to educate “would-be” violators. A few weeks later, the national auditor joined in, publicly shaming two big state-run enterprises for building golf courses.
Developers are said to have built 639 golf courses across the nation up to the end of last year, tripling the total since 2004.
2014 Asia Pacific Golf Summit www.golfconference.org