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Home >> Life
UPDATED: 14:18, October 17, 2006
Compulsory golf courses drive debate in Chinese universities
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A southeast China university looks set to become the latest round of a national debate on the benefits of demanding that all its freshmen learn to play golf.

Xiamen University in Xiamen, a coastal city in Fujian Province, has established a new golf practice ground, which will host classes as part of the compulsory curriculum in two months, said Zhu Chongshi, president of the university.

He told a forum on collegiate cooperation and development in Jinan, capital of east China's Shandong Province, that his students majoring in business management, law, economics and computer software would be required to take golf as a compulsory course.

Zhu said golf was an important part of "elite" training, which in his eyes, was "the perfect embodiment of higher education for public good".

He is one of many in China to claim that golf has become a globally common business activity and an access route to those with power and influence.

But opponents argue that "elitism" is not a buyable commodity that comes with power, wealth and golf skills.

Xiamen University has followed Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, which become the first college in Shanghai to offer golf lessons for its freshmen.

"The aim is to help the students find good jobs in the future," said Prof. Chen Xiao of the sports teaching sector of the university.

"After graduating, our students will have more opportunities to contact business people. Many Chinese business deals are clinched on golf courses," Chen added.

In late August, the prestigious Beijing University revealed that a golf practice area would be laid out on campus. The area, 90 meters long and 40 meters wide, would allow 30 students to train at a time and 100 to practise each day, said a university sports teacher.

Some students at the university made a posting on the Internet, commenting that golf is a sport for today's "aristocrats" and is inappropriate for students.

But supporters stressed that the sport is conducive to joining social activities.

It has been reported that Shanghai University, Shanghai Fishery University, Shanghai Electric Power College and Shanghai Financial College have expressed intentions to offer golf lessons.

Source: Xinhua

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