The China Business Review reports a boom in golf courses in recent years, with estimates of the total number of courses at around 600, according to sports writer and blogger Dan Washburn. Even though the construction of new courses in China is technically illegal, the ban is reportedly loosely enforced, as China is one of the few countries building new courses to meet demand.
The number of golf courses in China reached 500 in 2010 and is expected to double by 2020, according to a China Golf Industry Report from 2011. Three decades ago, there were no golfers or golf courses in mainland China, the New York Times reports. “Today there are around 400,000 regular golfers, a number that could easily double by 2020.”
The PGA Tour is planning to open its first office in Beijing later this year, The China Business Review states, and the PGA Tour will hold the HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai this year. China may also see a boost in the sport now that golf is officially recognized as an Olympic sport for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Among China’s best championship-level golf courses:
The Dunes at Shenzhou Peninsula, Hainan, China
Located in the resort region of Hainan, this is considered one of the country’s best new courses. PGA legend and renowned course architect Tom Weiskopf designed three courses, featuring gorgeous views in a natural setting.
Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club, Hong Kong
With coastal views and a dramatic setting, Hong Kong’s Clearwater Bay Golf and Country Club is often compared to California’s Pebble Beach. While the club is private, you can book tee times on weekday mornings.
Spring City Golf & Lake Resort, Kungming, China
This prestigious course has earned top nods from Golf Digest and Golf Magazine. The resort features luxury villas and two championship golf courses — the Mountain Course designed by Jack Nicklaus and the Lake Course by Robert Trent Jones Jr.
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