China is in the middle of a golf boom. In the past few years, the country has had about 4oo new golf courses built... and most of them are deemed illegal by the Chinese government.
In Dan Washburn's new book, "The Forbidden Game," he follows three people who are involved with the golf industry in China. The new trend is seen as a bizarre activity through the friends and family members of Zhou Xunshu, one of the main characters in the book. Xunshu is from a small and poor village in China and it was when he got a job as a security guard in one of the main providences when he was introduced to the game. The only problem was that he was the only one in his village who knew about golf according to Washburn.
“The rest of his family has no idea what golf is… doesn’t understand it, doesn’t really care. I mean, they all wanted him to be a police man. Nobody in the family has been a police man before... so when he comes back, even if he’s ranked in the top 20 in China in golf, to many he’s still the son that never became a police.”
The game of golf is for the rich and elite of China. While not a lot of people play or can afford the sport, Washburn says the activity is growing in popularity.
“You can still say that statistically zero percent of the population plays golf. But the thing about China – statistically zero percent of one point four billion could still be… you know, a decent number.”
Yet in the midst of its popularity, the Chinese government has been cracking down on the rapid construction of golf courses across the nation. The majority of land used to build golf courses are meant for agricultural purposes. Yet even if China tried to remove these golf courses, there's too many developing to start.
“China is where all of the new golf courses are getting built. Some say, ‘if you’re not working in China in this industry, you may not be working at all. “