Tenuous Golf ConnectionMarch 22, 2016

A class you don't want to skip: School makes golf a mandatory course

We've all been guilty of playing hooky from school to squeeze in a round of golf. In college, I once told a professor I had to attend a funeral, when, in reality, the only thing buried that day was my wedge into a bunker.

However, one lucky group of students won't need to lie to find their way to the links, as a Shanghai, China school has instituted a twice-a-week golf program into its curriculum.

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“Playing golf won’t just improve students’ athleticism," said Experimental School of Foreign Languages principal Xia Haiping to China's The Paper. "It will also train them in international etiquette and improve their character."

Given the school's location, the move may raise an eyebrow. Communist China has held an adversarial relationship with golf; just last fall, the country banned party members from joining clubs.

This icy rapport stems from the party's view of golf as an elitist sport. By teaching children the game at an early age, the school is hoping change its perception, making golf a game of the people.

"There are definitely alternate realities when it comes to golf in China," Dan Washburn, an expert on golf in China, told Golf Digest. "In one, you have the Chinese government shutting down golf courses and punishing Communist Party officials for playing golf. In the other, you have that very same government funneling huge sums of money into its Olympic golf program and welcoming lucrative international golf tournaments into the country with open arms.

"I guess golf in Chinese schools occupies that second reality. You just never know which one you are going to read about from one day to the next. "

At least there's one thing we can all agree on: A golf class beats the heck out of home-ec.


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