Thursday, November 19, 2009

Would Scotland put a golf education ahead of

reading and writing ... I don't think so!

SAYS COLIN FARQUHARSON has been providing a platform for a debate about what should be done to help talented Scots youngsters fulfil their potential in the pro ranks.
China, with many, many millions more of a population to draw on, is attempting roughly the same objective from virtually a standing start with a view to making an impact as golfers in the Olympic Games now that the sport will be added to the programme in 2016.
Interesting to read in the Reuters article below that the Chinese plan to single out their best prospects and send them off to "special schools" for several years. Their education will suffer but golf lessons almost morning, noon and night over an extended period adds a new dimension to the words "child's play!"
Could we?... Do we want to go along such a route in Scotland in attempt to produce more golfers on the world stage who would reflect well on the Home of Golf. I think not.
E-mail your comments to if you want your view to be published.

Single-minded Chinese plan golf schools to produce

potential gold-medal winners at Olympic Games

By Nick Mulvenney
Reuters Agency staff man in Beijing, China
China has already begun to throw the considerable weight of its state-run sports system behind the game of golf after the sport won a place at the 2016 Olympics.
With the Soviet-inspired system almost single-mindedly dedicated to Olympic success, the Copenhagen vote was always going to have far more impact in China than other countries.
"The state-supported system has proved a huge success over the past 60 years," deputy sports minister Cui Dalin told local media at a women's tournament in Xiamen last week.
"Golf is an Olympic sport now and we will make full use of the system to develop the game."
Development Chinese-style involves selecting children with aptitude for a sport at a young age and training them like professionals at special schools around the country.
They then feed up through the pyramid structure via inter-provincial competition with the best reaching an elite national squad where they will focus on Olympics achievement.
"First, we want Chinese to get to the 2016 Games and then we will aim for good results at following Olympics," Cui told the China Daily.
"If we want to have a bright future, we have to start the work at the grass roots level. We will set up more golf tournaments for young people and also send some of the youngsters abroad."
Cui was also at the launch of the $7 million WGC-HSBC Champions, where Tiger Woods said he thought the Olympic vote key to China becoming a power in the game.
China Golf Association (CGA) boss Zhang Xiaoning, also in Shanghai, agreed.
"It will increase the popularity of golf in China and it will become a more popular game for everyone, instead of a game for the privileged few," he told reporters.
"No matter what, the government's policy will change the perspective in China."
The sports ministry is already working on ways to change the perception of golf in China, starting with an attempt to reduce the tax paid by the country's 500 golf courses, presumably so the often exorbitant green fees can be reduced.
"Golf is widely seen as game for entertainment and thus the business tax rate is 22 per cent for golf clubs," Cui said.
"Adding the land-use tax, a golf club has to pay almost a 30% tax rate. That will not boost golf's popularity here and has to be changed."
Even before the Olympic announcement, the China Golf Association was already looking for help in developing golf in China from the established heartlands of the game.
The US PGA and European Tours, with an eye on a huge potential market, have been courting China and both wheeled out their top officials in Shanghai.
They are both also co-sanctioning the $5.5 million World Cup of Golf at the 12-course Mission Hills complex in Shenzhen next week.
But, however rich the tournaments the tours co-sanction in China, and however big the foreign names they attract, the ultimate goal for Zhang is to produce his own Tiger Woods.
China's top current men's player is 31-year-old Liang Wenchong, who was Asian Tour champion in 2007 and is now ranked 46th in the world.
As was the case in tennis, however, Zhang thinks that China's best chance of finding a talent to take on and beat the best in the world in golf will come in the women's game.
There, 20-year-old Beijinger Feng Shanshan has impressed in her first two years on the LPGA Tour, while Zhang Na is a consistent performer on the lucrative Japanese Tour.
"I am sure we will see that day very soon but we are very likely to see a lady Chinese 'Tiger' in the future faster than a male Chinese 'Tiger'," he said.



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