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China looks to youth to promote golf (2)


09:11, May 08, 2013

Guan is no stranger to the tournament as he has won in many of its matches over the years.

However, while widely popular in the West, golf is still considered a privileged pursuit in China. The popular perception of golf as a game reserved for the rich weakens its chances of really taking root among the public.

Experts say one of the biggest obstacles facing the sport's development in China is the lack of public golf course.

Construction of courses has come in for strong public criticism over their alleged encroachment of farmland and excessive use of water. The State Council, China's cabinet, has suspended approvals of golf course projects since 2004.

Despite strong opposition, developers have sidestepped regulations to build private golf courses, many of which open exclusively to members paying high fees for their use of the facilities.

Han Liebao, director of the golf education and study center at Beijing Forestry University, said the government should take the lead in building public golf courses.

"The government should grant preferential policies in taxes and prices for public courses to make golf more affordable for ordinary people," Han believes.

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