Crackdown on Golf in China
Last weekend China announced the closure of 111 courses following a multi-year campaign to protect land and water resources. An additional 18 courses were ordered to return land and 47 clubs were told to halt construction. Among these course closures was Stone Forest's extraordinarily dramatic Leaders Peak.
Though building courses had been outlawed since 2004, the number of golf courses has tripled in that time. Developers would often label courses as parks or housing ventures to get approval from local officials, secretly converting the projects down the line.
Brian Curley, Principal at Schmidt-Curley Design, said: “We are certainly disappointed with the outcome on so many projects and all the lost effort and cost to those involved. But we understand completely the situation at hand and why things are what they are.
“China is an amazing place that we were fortunate to see expand at a breakneck pace in our time there; it was quite an experience. We are sad to see some of our best work disappear but feel our efforts are still well represented in the many courses that remain.”
Eric Lynge, Chief Executive Officer, Asian Golf Industry Federation, told GBN.com: “The Asian Golf Industry Federation (AGIF) and its members have been aware of the Chinese Government’s policies for some time now and this formal news is not unexpected.
“What we view as positive is that 496 courses are now completely clear for continued operation. There is undeniable demand for the game in China which now can be served by these courses and new projects which are built under the proper regulatory guidelines.
“The AGIF supports sustainable and environmental construction of golf facilities in all the markets in which we operate. These elements are pillars of our education and dialogue with owners, club managers and turfgrass professionals throughout Asia. We believe in the long-term growth of golf in China and the rest of Asia.”
Schmidt-Curley Design www.schmidt-curley.com
Asian Golf Industry Federation www.agif.asia