China cracks down on golf: Courses closed, playing restricted

The Main Point

China finally begins to enforce 10-year-old regulation banning golf course development.  Environmental concerns, including water consumption, are the stated reason for the ban.  Cutting down on perks and entertainment for government officials as part of the anti-corruption campaign is also likely a factor. 

Key Events

  • Golf course ban in 2004: A ban on new golf courses was imposed in 2004 but rarely enforced.   The ban was imposed ostensibly to protect country’s shrinking land and water resources.
  • Enforcement stepped up: The central government last year ordered the demolition of courses built by five mainly little-known developers, the first real sign of enforcement of a 2004 ban.
  • Closing more courses: Closing 66 courses seems to be further indication of renewed effort to enforce the ban.
  • Less entertainment for officials: Anti-corruption campaign has emphasized that officials should be spending less time and money on entertainment and gifts. Crackdown on golf is consistent with this emphasis.

Sources for this Story:  

China closes 66 golf courses to save on water and land


China declares war on ‘forbidden game’ of golf


China Southern ends free golf for big clients amid crackdown on corruption