Of the 20 or so golf courses in Beijing only one has been developed legally according to a member of the law committee in China’s parliament said.
The Chinese government put a moratorium on the development of new golf courses in 2004 due to concerns over land grabs for well positioned farming land, and they reinforced the ban last year.
The China Golf Association (CGA) puts the number of courses on the mainland at around 500, with most courses centred around the major cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
Sun Anmin, deputy director of the National People’s Congress (NPC) law committee is reported as saying “There are many golf courses in Beijing, but only the one close to the Ming Tombs has been legally approved,”
The first club built, the Beijing International Golf Club, which borders the Ming Tombs reservoir, was built in Beijing in 1986.
The Jack Nicklaus-designed Pine Valley as well as the Beijing Honghua and the CBD International, which have both hosted the European Tour sanctioned China Open in recent years are amongst those courses deemed illegal. .
However there is good news for China’s golfers, Sun has suggested that the developments be given legal status retroactively. His reasoning being that golf courses have helped China’s economy by providing employment and green spaces in urban areas helped improve the environment.