Land issues are central to the development of golf in China, according to a heavyweight panel at the Asia Pacific Golf Summit.
Led by golf architect Brian Curley, whose company has designed many courses in the country, including the huge Mission Hills club near Shenzhen, the panel also incorporated developer TK Pen and Aylwin Tai, the former chief executive of the Ladies Asian Golf Tour.
Panellists agreed that the development of affordable golf is key to the game’s growth in China, but Curley explained that land acquisition issues make this difficult. “True public and affordable golf needs to be near a mass audience,” he said. “Driving out of the city for an hour to get to the golf course is OK for the affluent private club member, but not for a US$50 per round public course. But land close to cities is typically either farmland that can’t be touched, or it is the sort of property that’s very difficult – and expensive – to build golf on.”