Greg Norman Talks Golf Development In China, Says World Tour Is Inevitable
Golf HOFer GREG NORMAN was named an advisory coach to the Chinese National Golf Team in March, and said he thinks a world golf tour is "inevitable," according to a Q&A with Pete Madden of GOLF.com. Below are excerpts from the Q&A.
Q: What's the biggest challenge standing in the way of the development of the game in China?
Norman: Building sustainable golf courses. There's talk of building [10,000-15,000] golf courses in China, and that's a huge undertaking. It's like a drop in the bucket for them, but they have to build these courses in a sustainable fashion that allows the grassroots access, not just the wealthy, but the not so wealthy. That's the hardest part for them to understand. The elitist image is absolutely damaging.
Q: Is China the lynchpin of the golf's growth and continued success? Are the Olympics?
Norman: The Olympics was the accelerator, but China is not the lynchpin. With the recession, disposable income is eliminated, so you drop your golf course membership, but we'll find that the game of golf will pick up again in the U.S. It's an amenity that people love.
Q: How far away are we from making the World Tour a reality?
Norman: I think it's inevitable. Everybody's fighting for water from the same well. Most corporations are sponsoring both tours, so there's golf 24/7, everywhere in the world. At the end of the day, it made sense to me to get both institutions together and come up with a better scheme (GOLF.com, 12/13).