Growing The Game
Growing the game of golf in Asia - fact or fiction? Fascinating proposition! I don’t think anyone
quite knows if there is a serious, concerted effort to grow the game of golf on this giant continent.
This is how I see it - Asia is pretty much in
a state of self-denial when it comes to the
growth of golf. Unlike the US where you
have oodles of statistics and research to
indicate trends, we have zilch in Asia (with the
exception of Japan). I can see that rounds are
generally in recession. Many clubs don’t quite
know how to reverse this trend.
Let’s face up to reality and accept the fact
that like the United States and elsewhere
in the developed world, golf is losing its
shine and relevance as a game and this is
placing pressure on club bottom-lines. Unlike
America, Asia lacks “grow the game” initiatives
like Golf 2.0, First Tee, Tee it Forward,
GetGolfReady, PlayGolfAmerica etc. And
there is very little likelihood that this will ever
happen because of the absence of bodies
similar to the USGA, PGA, CMAA, GCSAA and
Unlike America, we in most parts of Asia,
do not have sophisticated barometers in
place to measure the health of the game
and to provide us with timely statistics. Most
everyone is flying by the seat of their pants
and holding on for dear life in the hope that
Asia will be the savior of the game. We think
this is one big pipe dream!
Japan, by far the most mature golf market is
lethargic to say the least. South Korea seems
to be following the Japanese trend of decline.
China - who knows? There seems to be a
halt to the once frenetic pace of golf course
development in the middle kingdom as the
industry awaits a definitive “white paper”
decision from Beijing. Will it ever come? Your
guess is as good as ours!
As we wait, China’s once booming property
market is going frigid and this will definitely
Growing the game of golf in Asia - fact or
fiction? Fascinating proposition! I don’t think
anyone quite knows if there is a serious,
concerted effort to grow the game of golf on
this giant continent. In fact, I doubt if anyone
even knows if the game is in a state of decline!
These guys obviously
have access to a
poppy field hidden
Let’s leave all the spin-doctoring aside
and look at what really needs to be done,
especially in Asia. Forget all the grow-thegame initiatives that the powers that be
keep making reference to. Get down to brass
tacks - follow the example that equipment
manufacturers are taking to change and
introduce new technologies that make the
game more fun to play. Throw out the growthshackling rules that govern the game for club
players and amateurs – keep the rules for the
professionals. Speed up the game. Reduce
participation costs. Just make it bloody simple
and FUN to play!
We think that golf can grow, but some drastic
measures have to be put in place to make it
more relevant to the NOW GENERATION. If this
call is not heeded, then just be prepared to
accept that golf is not going to grow. It will be
around and eventually, we may have to label it
as an ENDANGERED SPORT!
impact the future of golf course development
because most projects are property driven.
While all this negativism sweeps China, the
China Golf Association is reported to have put
out a bold claim that by 2020, the nation will
boast more than 2500 golf courses and a playing
population of 30 million golfers.Hey, where is
this growth going to come from given the tight
land reforms that China has to contend with and
the growing swell of peasant discontent?
These guys obviously have access to a poppy
field hidden away somewhere!
The Golf Marketing Professionals www.golfindustrycentral.com.au
By Mike Sebastian
Chief Executive Officer