Anyone for a round of golf? 4



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Despite there being a ban for 10 years on the construction of golf courses in China, the number of golf courses has increased from 170 to over 1,000. Developers got around the system by not mentioning the word golf in their development applications (an area for walking and hitting a ball into a hole?). Some Chinese golf courses have been constructed illegally. Johan Nylander in Forbes Asia reported earlier this year that the Chinese authorities had closed 66 golf courses with up to a hundred courses in all to close in the year. Golf is considered to be too bourgeoisie to be approved by the Chinese authorities.

The game/sport of golf has been around for hundreds of years in one form or another and seemed to have developed in different countries. Maybe this is not surprising as given a piece of wood and a round stone, hitting the stone into a hole would represent more of a challenge then endlessly hitting the stone nowhere in particular or seeing who could hit it further than anyone else.

Since then, hitting a small round ball into the hole has developed into a sport in which probably about a thousand people worldwide can make a living out of it. The rest, being millions of people pay for the same thing, making them poorer and the makers of golf equipment and sponsors richer. There have been continuous arguments whether golf is a sport or a game. However, evidence was found that walking around a golf course uses enough calories to be called a sport. It may be good for your health but probably does nothing for your fitness or aerobic capacity. To my mind perhaps running or at least jogging between the tees carrying the weight of a minimum number of golf sticks would qualify it as a sport.

There are approximately 35,000 golf courses worldwide with an average size of 30 hectares per golf course. The USA of course has the largest number of golf courses. Australia has about 1500 courses some of which form part of the rural makeup of small towns. One of the drawbacks with golf courses is that they need to be green. It is estimated that it takes 63cm to 152 cm (25-60inches) of water annually to keep a golf course in good condition. It has also been estimated that there is a 20% to 50% overuse or wastage of water on golf courses. It does annoy that when we are suffering drought, our gardens are dying and there are water restrictions that there are still some green golf courses. Not many golf courses maintain their natural flora with the subsequent loss of native animals and influx of non-native species.

On the average of 30 hectares per golf course, Australia has about 45,000 hectares of golf course which we could put back into natural reafforestation, restore the balance of nature, reintroduce native species, make the land available to the general public for recreation, help with climate change and save precious water. Golfers could take up more health improving activities and reduce the expenditure on health. Taken worldwide this would rehabilitate an amount equal to the forests being destroyed in Indonesia each year.

The banning on golf courses in China is a bit like the prohibition era in the USA and obviously has not worked. The 1.2 million golfers in Australia need not worry. Your golf courses are safe. For now!

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Michael Whitehead

Michael Whitehead attended uni as a mature age student in his 50s, completing multiple postgraduate degrees in health science and psychology. He has a canoe, a pushbike, a bodyboard, a tennis racquet and a fishing rod. He uses them all. Michael is now enjoying retirement after a wide range of careers, most recently as Manager of a Family Support Service.

  1. I gave it a go when I was young mainly for the social aspect but never enjoyed it, I’d much rather go for a good walk.

  2. I gave it a go years back, kicked off the main green as I made too many holes on the green lol – actually live on a golf course estate – never hv taken it up again. Maybe I should😃

  3. Perhaps you should have mentioned the efforts golf clubs have gone to/are going to … on water consumption – such as turf varieties, water reccyling, water storages, desalination plants etc.

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