What Should China Do About Golf Course Construction?

China has a ban on unauthorized golf courses, but that has apparently not stopped them from being built. China’s Rapid economic growth and increasing living standards has spurred the 14% increase of facilities.

By the end of last year, the country had added 10 new courses last year, bringing the total to nearly 500. But, only 10 of the facilities have been approved and given licenses for business by China’s Government. Only 10? There are more golf courses in a 25 mile radius from where I am sitting than that! The rest of them are illegally built and operated.

It would seem as though the Chinese government doesn’t favor golf in the way that its people does. This, however, isn’t necessarily the case. China’s Ministry of Land and Resources banned the construction of golf courses back in 2004 in order to prevent the illegal use of farmland and make sure that the country is able to feed itself.

The Government set a threshold of 120 Million hectares of farmland needed in order to feed the 1.3 billion people currently living in the country. But in the past 12 years the farmland shrank by 8.33 Million hectares including the 18309 hectares used last year for golf courses and other illegal projects.

Most of the illegal golf courses have been built using the names of country clubs, greenbelts and parks, omitting the use of the word golf in their names or anywhere on their planning documents. Others have been illegally renting rural land for the construction of golf courses as a way to usurp the approval process.

The local governments have been turning a blind eye to such practices because the golf courses will likely push up property prices, and in turn increase revenue for the fiscally stretched governments.

Do you think the Chinese government should lift the ban on golf course construction? Or should they impose larger penalties on violators?


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