Dale talks China’s golf problem

By |  July 8, 2014 0 Comments

I caught up with golf architect David M. Dale recently, to talk to him about maintaining the designs and depth of sand in bunkers. Look for that piece in this month’s issue of Golfdom, out soon.

David M. Dale, ASGCA, says seeing one of his Chinese projects get trees planted on the greens by the government gives him a "sick" feeling. Photo by Seth Jones

David M. Dale, ASGCA, says seeing one of his Chinese projects get trees planted on the greens by the government gives him a “sick” feeling. Photo by Seth Jones

While I had him on the phone, I asked him about the reported crackdown taking place on Chinese golf right now. Most of Dale’s business is in Asia — he had been back and forth to Asia every week in the month of June — and the restrictions did have him concerned.

“I’ve got club managers over there who are telling me they can’t afford $50,000-a-month in water taxes,” he says. “Meanwhile, the water source is so polluted that you couldn’t drink it, but you could use it to irrigate a course.”

Dale told me that business did seem to be diminishing internationally, yet he still had a full slate of meetings he had to make in Beijing this week. Some of those meetings were troubleshooting routing problems to avoid penalties on ongoing construction projects.

Reports have been that there are arrangements with most courses, with officials looking the other way. Not so, says Dale, who has had at least one of his projects “snuffed.”

“We had a best new course in 2007, Qiandaohu Country Club in Hangzhou, it was a sparkling jewel. The government not only shut down the course but they planted trees on all the greens,” Dale says. “It gives you a sick feeling. It’s an emotional thing, when you’ve done all that work on a course and they plant trees on the greens. People moved into this community, it was a nice place, successful. They just say, ‘Sorry, it’s too close to a reservoir,’ despite the fact that we had biofiltration all around the golf holes.”

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About the Author: Seth Jones

Seth Jones, a 25-year veteran of the golf industry media, is Editor-in-Chief of Golfdom magazine and Athletic Turf. A graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Jones began working for Golf Course Management in 1999 as an intern. In his professional career he has won numerous awards, including a Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) first place general feature writing award for his profile of World Golf Hall of Famer Greg Norman and a TOCA first place photography award for his work covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In his career, Jones has accumulated an impressive list of interviews, including such names as George H.W. Bush, Samuel L. Jackson, Lance Armstrong and Charles Barkley. Jones has also done in-depth interviews with such golfing luminaries as Norman, Gary Player, Nick Price and Lorena Ochoa, to name only a few. Jones is a member of both the Golf Writers Association of America and the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association. Jones can be reached at sjones@northcoastmedia.net.

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