Hong Kong golfers switch from clubs to public courses in downturn

November 24th, 2008 - 3:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Hong Kong, Nov 24 (DPA) Wealthy Hong Kong businessmen are switching from expensive private golf clubs to public courses to keep their handicaps up during the downturn, a news report said Monday.The number of people using the city’s public golf course on Kau Sai Chau island shot up by 48 per cent in October compared to the same month in 2007, the South China Morning Post reported.

Hong Kong’s public courses, where playing a round costs only $50 to 100, have seen a surge in popularity as the economy has worsened, course operators told the newspaper.

Meanwhile, trips to expensive private courses in neighbouring China and south-east Asian countries by Hong Kong’s avid golfers have tapered off sharply because of the recession.

“Golfers tend to be more price-sensitive during hard time,” a spokeswoman for the Kau Sai Chau course told the newspaper. Driving ranges have also boomed in popularity at the expense of private clubs.

Property prices in Hong Kong have fallen sharply since the onset of the global financial crisis and the city’s blue-chip Hang Seng Index has dropped by almost 40 per cent in the past two months.

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