Nowadays, everybody in Lulu's circle plays golf. Just as they were into drinking coffee five years ago, and wearing Nike shoes 10 years ago, golf is the latest craze among young Beijingers. Lulu's friends, Niuniu and Beibei, both play regularly. Lulu - who can't afford to join a golf and country club - feels left out. But Lulu thinks about golf in a more pragmatic way than her friends do. For example, she knows you can't play with just a single club. You need a full set of woods and irons, and a putter. You also need golf balls, golf shoes, tees, gloves and the appropriate fashion. So, before you even set foot on the course, you've already spent a bundle. Taking it down a level, it's still too much for Lulu to spend 800 yuan on a single round of golf. And that's just the cost of getting onto the course. Then, there's the cost of renting a golf cart and the caddie fee. Even paying 100 yuan at a driving range is out of Lulu's price range. She can't even afford to buy a golf club and a glove. Fortunately, she has rich girlfriends. On her 31st birthday, Beibei gives her a Callaway driver. Lulu checks the price with a local retailer. It's 6,000 yuan - about a month's salary for Lulu. Beibei invites her and Niuniu to practise at the driving range. 'My company will pay for it,' she says. 'I'll say I'm entertaining potential clients.' Lulu's first experience at the driving range is terrible. She can hardly hit the ball. And, when she does make contact, the ball doesn't fly straight. Nor does it go far. She imagines everyone's eyes are on her and that they're all critical of her performance. Most people who come to the range are competitive. (Or, as Lulu calls them, 'golf snobs'.) Although Niuniu and Beibei encourage her, Lulu doesn't want to be laughed at. So, she quits. For six months, her expensive golf club collects dust in a corner of her bedroom. About the only use that she can imagine for it is defending herself from an intruder. But one day, she gets up and sees the club has fallen over onto the floor. Under the club, she finds a dead cockroach. 'Aha,' she thinks. 'The club can kill cockroaches.' And, that's how she discovers a use for the club. One day, Beibei and Niuniu come to visit Lulu. They discover the club is covered with the legs and guts of cockroaches and the shaft is bent. 'So, you've been practising your swing on cockroaches,' Beibei says. 'How creative.' 'Sorry to disappoint you,' says Lulu. 'To be honest, I find golfers snobbish and arrogant - even at the driving range. I don't want to be laughed at. Perhaps this game is too rich for me.' 'You've missed the whole point of the game,' says Beibei, shaking her head. 'What do you mean?' Lulu asks her. Niuniu speaks up. 'Lulu, do you know that most golf courses in China don't make any money?' she says. 'Do you know why? Because you're not the only one who thinks it's outrageously expensive. But why do people still build more courses? Because, whenever one is built, real estate nearby skyrockets.' 'So,' says Lulu, 'they build golf courses to attract wealthy home-buyers.' 'Exactly,' says Beibei. 'And for Niuniu and me, golf is just a way of attracting the men who play. Think about it: an expensive game played by rich men with nice homes near the golf club. When you measure the potential return on investment, it's well worth the cost of the game.' 'Well, why didn't you tell me that sooner?' says Lulu. 'Now, it looks as if I'm going to need a new club.' 'So, shall we reserve a tee-time for next weekend?' Beibei asks. The girls clink their wine glasses and toast their plan. 'To golf,' says Lulu. 'And to the men who play it,' says Beibei. 'And to the men who play it,' the others agree. 'For Niuniu and me, golf is just a way of attracting the men who play. Think about it: an expensive game played by rich men'