South Korea wants to make golf cheaper in an effort to boost consumption in a sluggish economy, with the government urging course operators to drop the requirement that players hire caddies and carts.
If South Korea's government had its way, this little golf lounge in Seoul's Gangnam district might not have any customers... They'd all be out playing on a real green But for golfers on a budget, you take what you can get. (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) 44-YEAR-OLD LEE SEUNG-YEOP SAYING: "Sure, it might not feel real, but it's cheap and convenient." Golf is expensive in South Korea - a public course can charge more than 200 dollars a person And at private clubs, get ready to fork out even more you'll have to rent a cart and hire a caddy But now the government is suggesting a few course corrections..... Like changing the rules to allow players to walk between holes and carry their own clubs. The affordable golf drive is part of a larger government effort to get people spending... in order to boost a flagging economy. (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) SOUTH KOREAN FINANCE MINISTRY'S DIRECTOR-GENERAL FOR ECONOMIC POLICY, LEE HOSEUNG, SAYING: "Golf has an elitist, extravagant image and is very expensive. We feel that making golf into a sport for the public and easing our consumers' financial burden is the right thing to do." Golf is something of a national obsession ...South Korean players fill half the top ten slots on the Ladies Professional Golf Association tour. And the public spends 13 billion dollars a year on the sport. But interest is now levelling off And not everyone is cheering the government's answer to the problem. Industry insiders say that if officials really wanted to help....they would give golf courses a tax cut.