The man who put China on the world's golf map

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 August, 2011, 12:00am


Few sports in history have grown as spectacularly as golf in China.

The mainland's first golf course was built just 26 years ago. Today, there are almost 500 golf venues, many boasting world-class facilities.

At the turn of the millennium, the country had about 300,000 golfers, the China Golf Association says. That figure jumped to one million just three years later. It is expected to hit 10 million by the end of next year.

These amazing developments are largely owed to one man: Hong Kong tycoon David Chu Shu-ho, founder and chairman of Mission Hills in Shenzhen. Chu, who died at 61 this month after fighting cancer for four years, is known to many as 'the father of golf in China'.

'The manner in which Dr David Chu built Mission Hills and transformed it into a world-class golfing facility is truly something China and Asia can be proud of,' Kyi Hla Han, executive chairman of the Asian Tour, said. 'It will be his lasting legacy. Golf in China and Asia owe a big debt of gratitude to Dr Chu for his contribution to the game. He helped put China on the world map.'

Tim Finchem, commissioner of the US PGA Tour, said: 'Thanks to his efforts, Mission Hills has provided a platform for golf in China to take root, grow and flourish - the effects of which are certain to exceed all expectations in the years to come.'

All his life, Chu refused requests for media interviews. Now, exclusively in the Post, his two sons reveal how he built his legend from scratch.