Golf in Xinjiang: An Elite Sport in a Poor Province

Dan Washburn, among others, has written about the social, environmental and economic implications of the increasing popularity of in China. Far West China blog now looks at elite golf courses that are popping up in :

Karamay is a small, young city by China standards (pop: 200,000, 50 yrs old). It is located in northern Xinjiang about 4 hours away from Urumqi and boasts one of the highest standards of living anywhere in China thanks to the booming oil industry.
A golf course in Karamay, Xinjiang

An empty golf course in Karamay, Xinjiang

Part of the excess money that has poured into the city thanks to oil has been spent on a million-dollar city park, incredible water attractions, and – now – a golf course. Every day people young and old flock to the park and every evening hundreds gather to watch the water and light show along the man-made river.

Not once in four years did I ever see anybody play on that golf course.

The course is beautiful, well-kept and dotted with lovely fake oil rigs. I was quite interested to play a round of golf there but unfortunately I could find no person to play with me. The cost was too high for my Chinese and Uyghur friends and they didn’t even know how to play.

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