Must-see sight in China: The Great Wall.

As everyone has probably noticed, blog’s title is “The Future of Golf” – a fascinating subject, isn’t it? Finnish golfers will surely remember the debate from couple of years ago, around commitment & non-commitment playing.

Here in Finland we still are in that fortunate position that number of golfers has increased every year. Someone says number has grown steadily, but I disagree a little bit. Although golf is most played ball game in Finland in terms of registered players, the percentage rate of growth has slowed in last years.

In our dear neighbor country things haven’t gone even that good in last years. Sweden has lost its players, and couple of months I read an excellent summary of the subject. Swedish golf-field influencer (I’m sorry, can’t remember his name right now) said that society has developed much faster than the game we all love. Well said, couldn’t agree more!

We want to play – do we have enough time?

Although the one part I love in golf is the old traditional habits, it should not to be a rocket science to refine a hobby a little with simple steps. A new kind social context on digital society’s era is one of the most important things to noticed, as well as the understand that people seriously doesn’t have five hours to spend on the golf course every second day.

I have one personal request, a simple one: please, offer the 9-hole green fees. I’d love to start my day at 6 am from the 1st tee and play a quick 9-holes, but if I have to pay full green fee of that, it doesn’t make any sense in my mind. This step would be an easy first baby-step and shouldn’t be that hard to implement.

Waiting for Chinese golf’s “Boom-years”

I made my fifth trip to China on July and spent there two and a half weeks. This time it wasn’t a golfing trip but still I could not help myself thinking about the direction in which golf is developing, when this hobby will be possible for all the Chinese people. It will take time though, I know 🙂

Battle of the Island Greens – this one is 16th hole at Mission Hills Resort’s Faldo Course. Looks pretty much the same as the world’s most famous par 3 hole, TPC Sawgrass’ 17th hole.

I made my first golf trip to China in 2008, when we arrange trip to readers with Finnish Golf Magazine. Destination was the famous Mission Hills Golf Resort in Shenzhen, Southern China. There are 12 spectacular 18-hole courses. Best-known is the Olazabal Course, which hosted The World Cup of Golf years 2007–2009. We played 10 of 12 courses in five days in the heath that was almost too much even for me too. But only almost 🙂

Such views like this are waiting for golfers at Mission Hillis Golf Resort in Shenzhen, Southern China. Picture from former World Cup host, Olazabal Course.

I got a memorable chance to change couple of words about Chinese golf with founder of the world’s largest golf resort, Dr. David S.H. Chu (1950-2011).  When I asked how many players and courses they have in China, Mr. Chu laughed and said no one really knows. Most of the courses are built up illegally against the rules and some courses has veiled under the “sports park” title to get the permission to built up.

As you might understand, I was confused, but only minutes. When I heard the amount of farmland in the country on average per one person, I understood the rules have to be so tight. However, I can hugely recommend to all golfers to play in China. It’s not the cheapest option, but courses are breath-taking! And during the summer time one thing is sure: heath is on!

One reminder: second week of the Golf Gamebook Cup has started! Challenge of the 2nd week: The Continent with Better Par 3 Average. Take a part and join us to make a history. Hey Europe, USA beat us in the first week’s contest! Personally I have to take my own responsibility of the loss. I reveal that I manage to made only one birdie during 36 holes. This week I promise to improve my game a lot! Beware, USA 😉

Olli

@OlliLehtonen in Twitter