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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Collins

Golf’s prevailing easterly winds here to stay

Updated: Jun 10, 2019

China may have found their own Tiger Woods in the 17 year old Andy Zhang, but there is much more for China to be optimistic about. We took a look at the key trends in China’s growing golf industry including the boom in youth participation, the effect of the growing middle class and appetite for luxury sports, the Asia women’s tour and the how tourism shapes China’s golf market.

Here are some key trends to look for:

– The participation boom in children playing in China and India is set to produce more stars, players like Shanshan Feng and Andy Zhang. There are now Chinese academies for young golfers to nurture talented youngsters from as young as five that are growing in popularity.  The China Junior Golf Open Tournament held in Chengdu, capital of China’s southwestern Sichuan province, and sponsored by HSBC, continues to grow in popularity, along with other junior golf events.

– Asia & China’s prosperity is exposing golf to more players with an increased appetite for leisure activities. It is only a matter of time before the sport is dominated competitively by Asian players. The recent success of emerging Asian talent at international tournaments, including Shanshan Feng, Yani Tseng and Andy Zhang plus the emergence of new Chinese stars, is likely to drive the wider popularity of golf in celebrity-crazed China and other Asian markets.

– Woman’s Golf is tracking global feminisation and the Asian Tour is the dominant tour.

– Golf’s inclusion in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will increase its appeal because of the high regard and interest which the Chinese have for the Olympics.

– The continuing boom in golf tourism, particularly in Asia and golf’s positioning as an upmarket sport has meant that it has benefited from the continuing surge in spending by the worlds most affluent. Golf tourists represent the top end of the tourist market and when that is the case, investment, brands and a change in thinking are sure to follow. China’s Hainan Island is one of the areas being developed by the Chinese authorities as part of a planned tourism strategy, and there are plans for up to ten courses on it. Some of the demand will come from within China but some demand will come from elsewhere in East Asia. China’s proximity  to strong golf markets in Korea and Japan, and competitive pricing is likely to see continual growth in Chinese inbound golf tours.

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