Golf is eyeing China as a lucrative market, the sport's PGA tour planning to double the number of events there while predicting that Chinese golfers will triple in coming years. Tara Joseph reports
Betting that China could be a hole-in-one. Golf businesses hope that China will be its next cash cow... ...as the country basks in the glow of a bronze medal in Rio for Feng Sanshan and the Communist Party softens its position on a sport once seen as synonymous with lavish spending and corruption. SOUNDBITE (English) TARA JOSEPH, REUTERS, SAYING: "Golf's PGA tour says its planning to more than double the number of events in China in the coming few years - and is predicting the number of Chinese golfers will triple. The bet on golf is extending to product makers too. Honma, maker of the world's most expensive golf clubs, making its debut on the Hong Kong stock exchange on Thursday with a 162 million dollar listing. The company is controlled by a Chinese businessman and is preparing to expand on the mainland." Beijing's anti-corruption drive last year threw cold water on a sport that had already started to become popular... Communist Party members were officially banned from playing Hitting the sport's popularity....and closing down more than 100 courses. But Beijing has since backed down - saying officials could play as long as they did it on their own time and dime. That's good news for the global golfing industry. Interest has dropped in the west… And major sportswear makers such as Adidas and Nike are backing away from the sport…. Today, analysts say China is now set to be one of the world's fastest-growing markets for golf products… With some estimates predicting it to grow by a third by 2019.