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It appears the growing Chinese market is one being fostered by a version of supply side economics. While the calendar is dwindling down for 2008, on the other side of the international date line, the European Tour began its 2009 campaign dubbed the Race to Dubai in Shanghai last week. The HSBC Champions heralded the start of another golf season on the European Tour and the backdrop for the event is being touted as one of a few growth pockets for golf. It appears the professional event is being used to spark interest within the local community towards the game in the country and its working, according to Deputy Director Shanghai Sports Bureau, Qui Weichang.
“We located the HSBC Champions in Shanghai and we do see progress every year. The high concentration of these world-class golfers is very special and unique and I believe this world-class golfing event will facilitate golf in Shanghai,” the Deputy Director said. “I was at the site of Champions over the past three years, and at the very beginning, the local fans did not observe the courtesy on the golf course. We heard the mobile phones ringing very often in the first year, but we do see progress of the courtesy.
“At the same time, I think HSBC Champions is what we need, like the Chinese Masters Cup and the Formula I Grand Prix. I think this presents a good platform to facilitate the communication between China and the rest of the world. At the same time, the HSBC National Junior Championship was held successfully (at Shanghai's Sino-Bay Country Sports Club) with the support of the China Golf Association. I think this is also conducive to the cultivation and fostering of the new rising stars in Chinese golf, given the financial crisis at the moment, we really appreciate HSBC's dedication to this championship. The class of the Champions has not been compromised by the financial crisis,” he continue.
“I really appreciate that HSBC Champions will facilitate the image of Shanghai, and as we all know Songjiang District is the heart of this HSBC Champions. So the location and presence of Champions will improve the profile of the Sheshan International Golf Club and also Songjiang District.”
It remains to be seen whether western ways, in this case the pastime of playing the leisure sport of golf, will ever gain traction with the Chinese people. The attraction is obvious as the People’s Republic of China is considered the largest populous nation on the planet. By showcasing some of the best players in the world, it may peak the interest of locals to try their hand at the game. In the meantime, it represents an irresistible opportunity from golf course management companies, architects, golf professionals as well as equipment companies (to name just a few) to potentially cash in on a bonanza if the Chinese were to embrace golf. China boasts one billion more citizens that the United States, which is currently golf largest geographical region.