‘Sex’, ‘Gluttony’ and ‘Golf’: these are not words that often appear in the same sentence but this week in China the Communist Party has made it clear that participating in gluttony and golf (and sexual impropriety) will be a violation of the code of conduct which all 88 million party members are expected to obey – the first time that golf has been specifically included.
In recent years the Party’s relationship with golf has been uneasy, to say the least, with a national ban on new golf course construction supposedly coming into force more than 10 years ago. Development has continued because some local officials have ignored the ban and it is thought that there are now more than 600 golf courses in China compared with less than 200 in 2004.
Reuters reports Scott Ferrell, president of Gary Player Design which has designed several courses in China, as saying that in the short-term the Chinese government’s position is difficult for the golf industry, which has been “full-steam ahead over there” but Mr Ferrell hopes business conditions will improve.
“Contrary to a lot of what you hear, I don’t think the government is opposed to golf as a game. They are opposed to corruption and they are trying to tackle it any way they can,” he says. “I think all indications are that the government is going to establish a direction and a policy for golf course development.”
No doubt the matter will be thoroughly debated at the HSBC Golf Business Forum, which takes place at Pudong Shangri-La Hotel in Shanghai, 1st – 4th November. Some good copy there, I’m sure!
Geoff Russell, Publisher