Number of young golf players steadily increases in China
Published: Jun 10, 2024 05:08 PM
Chinese youth golf players Photo: Courtesy of China Golf Association

Chinese youth golf players Photo: Courtesy of China Golf Association

The number of young athletes participating in golf in China has been steadily increasing in recent years, according to the first official national youth golf development report released by the China Golf Association (CGA) during the Dragon Boat Festival. 

The report highlights a rapid development of China's youth golf. As of 2023, nearly 126,000 youth golfers were registered in China, among whom, approximately 84,800 regularly participate in sport events. In 2023, the CGA hosted a total of 648 ranking events for young players.

In 2023, 18,345 new youth golfers were added to the lists of players, representing a 28 percent increase from three years earlier. The top six provinces and cities with the most active youth golf participants are Guangdong, Shanghai, Beijing, Jiangsu, Shandong, and Zhejiang. Among them, Zhejiang has seen the largest growth in youth golfers over the past three years, with an increase of 72 percent.

From 2021 to 2023, 14 universities and colleges nationwide established special undergraduate programs for golf, with admissions rates of 44 percent, 54 percent, and 48 percent respectively over the three years. In 2024, a total of 13 universities across the country organized admissions for golf players.

Wei Qingfeng, Secretary General of CGA, told the Global Times that promoting the development of youth golf is a top priority for the association. 

"In recent years, youth golf in our country has experienced rapid growth. In 2014, there were only 400 registered youth golfers with the CGA. We could list all the names of the golfers nationwide on a single sheet of A4 paper. At the time, we didn't have an information system and everything was done manually," Wei said. 

In 2023, a total of 648 ranking events were held nationwide. This year, the points system has been further optimized, and the number of events is expected to increase, Wei noted. 

South China's Guangdong Province hosted the most youth tournaments last year, accounting for about one-fifth of the total 648 events nationwide.

"In May, during the CGA's visit to the Masters Tournament in the US, we discussed the development of youth golf in China with international organizations. The International Golf Federation, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, and other international bodies highly praised the development of youth golf in China, saying the CGA's youth development program a model for the Asian region. They also proposed plans to resume the China-US Youth Team Competition and promote international youth golf exchanges with Chinese players," Wei said. 

Through meticulous analysis, the CGA identified the current problems, bottlenecks, and challenges in the course of youth golf development. The efforts have improved the youth competition system, enhanced the quality of events, reduced event costs, alleviated the burden on players and parents, and strengthened the integration of sports and education, according to Wei. 

In addition to the inaugural report on youth golf, the CGA, teaming up with university experts and golf stakeholders, is also compiling the first Chinese golf industry report and the environment, and governance report of Chinese golf, which will be released later this year. 

The industry report is the first comprehensive assessment of the national golf industry, driven by the urgent needs of the industry's development. This report will serve as a tool to amplify the stakeholders' voice, and foster collaboration both within and outside the industry.