The China Golf Show was held in Beijing MArch 22 – 24, 2013. ATI was represented by Jim Schumacher, President of ATI and Thomas Muller of ATI-China. ATI has attended the China Golf Show for many years and the activity and interest at the show seemed to be greater than in recent years.
Several architects were exhibiting and most of them were extremely busy. The interest in the show can surely be attributed to the success of young Chinese golfers such as:
- Shanshan Feng, major champion on the LPGA tour at the 2012 LPGA Championship
- Andy Zhang, a 14-year-old who qualified fo the 2012 US Open
- Guan Tianlang, another 14-year-old who earned a berth at the US Masters by winning the championship at the , Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Thailand in late 2012.
- Lian Wen Chong, 2007 Order of Merit on the Asian Tour, the first Chinese golfer to make the cut at a major, The Open Championship at the Royal Birkdale Golf Club, and set a new course record at Whistling Straits with his 8-under 64 in the third round of the 2010 PGA Championship.
In addition, Greg Norman, former long time world #1 and winner of two Majors, has
been hired by the Chinese Golf Association (CGA) to act as a mentor and help
develop a training program for its young players as they try to qualify for Rio
Olympics. Golf is obviously trending in the right direction.
Unfortunately, there are still many obstacles to overcome for golf to reach its potential development in China and most of Asia such as land acquisition, development cost and the lack of affordable public golf. During the trip we visited a local driving range to find the facility brimming with new golfers. The cost for 100 balls was $9, not exactly affordable for the average Chinese national or anyone for that matter. Almost all the golf courses in China are private or extremely expensive as with most of Asia. Until these obstacles are overcome golf will never meet its true potential in the region.
We are hopeful that with more success of Chinese golfers the government will join the cause and help provide affordable public golf to its’ citizens such as the many municipal courses available in the USA and other parts of the world.