Mar 29th, 2016
Chinese crackdown on golf courses continues
Three more Shanghai courses are bulldozed
Words: James Greenwood
President Xi Jinping has been conducting an anti–corruption campaign since taking office in 2013, and his focus has been on banquets, gift–giving and golf.
Last year spirit producer Diageo saw their share price fall to an 15 month low, when the government targeted the giving of Baijiu, the premium white spirit favoured by Chinese Communist party officials, and regarded as firewater by many expats.
Now it is the turn of golf, which has been a favoured activity of some officials, even though it is still associated by the ruling Communist party with Western decadence.
In 2015 the Central Government’s ministry of Land & Resources confirmed that 66 “illegal” courses had been closed. Last week it was the turn of the nine–hole West Shanghai Golf Country Club to face the music. The bulldozers were called in and the course returned to farmland.
Pan Zhongguang, the owner of another course – The Shanghai Orient Golf Club – also confirmed that the diggers had been brought onto his course. He said he was suing for compensation because the course was built in 2001 with the agreement of the local government, which now claims it is too close to a waterway.
“My company will use legal means to demand government compensation,” he said. Media reports say he demanded 300 million yuan (£3.2 million).
A third Shanghai course is also due for destruction in the city, according to the Shanghai Daily, without identifying it.
Other courses to be demolished around Shanghai include the 36-hole Sun Island club, nine holes at the inland Shanghai International and Shanghai Country Club, the first golf club opened in the city in the modern era in 1991. The Robert Trent Jones II-designed layout was built for US$18 million under a deal arrange by Prescott Bush, brother of former US president George Bush Sr, with funding provided by Japanese interests.