The Opportunity: China’s growing passion for golf
While modern-day golfing had a late start in China, in recent decades it has experienced a surge in popularity, spurred by China’s reform and opening-up policies. China’s first golf club opened in Zhongshan, Guangdong Province, in 1984. Since then, golf has grown in popularity in China, both as a leisure activity among an expanding middle class, and as a serious sport among the country’s professional athletes.
Today’s figures put the size of China’s golf market at 1 million consumers, including 400,000 dedicated consumers. Of these ‘core’ consumers, 70% are said to have annual incomes exceeding 500,000 yuan (€65,000).
The number of golf courses in China has grown from 20 to more than 600 in the past 30 years – a 32-fold increase. The sport’s growth in popularity is matched with Chinese golfers’ success in international tournaments. This surge in interest in golf among Chinese consumers represents a unique opportunity for a country such as Ireland which boasts world-class golfing facilities, enjoys increasing levels of cooperation with China and is an attractive destination for foreign tourism and foreign investment. The proposed Tournament hopes to leverage this alignment of interests for the benefit of all parties concerned.