A recent report by CNN has shed light on how the Chinese government’s recent campaign against corruption is beginning to target the greens.
While a moratorium on the construction of new golf courses was officially enacted in 2004, hundreds of golf courses have popped up across China over the past decade. Now it looks as if the central government is no longer willing to turn a blind eye.
CNN reports that as of late, 66 golf courses deemed illegal have been shut down, and that this might only be the tip of the iceberg, with another 100 being considered for closure.
Dan Washburn, author of The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream, said that golf was “an elitist pursuit enjoyed by very few in China, so if you’re looking to make a populist move, it’s pretty low hanging fruit.”
In an interview with members of an elite golf club in downtown Beijing, most seemed unfazed by the recent crackdown on the sport, arguing that golf and corruption were two separate issues and adding that the Chinese government would still need skilled golfers to compete at the Olympics.
Despite the golfers’ seemingly relaxed attitude, there is no doubt that officials are serious curbing the unchecked growth of the sport. On Friday a video made rounds on Chinese social media of a clash between caddies and police at a golf course in Guangzhou.
It is not clear what transpired immediately before the start of the video, but according to the uploader, caddies at the Sino Golf & Country Club began to create a commotion and demanded their wages after arriving at work on March 27 to find that the golf course was to be immediately shut down.
By Dominic Jackson