Almost a decade (since 2007) has passed since the launch of the joint educational program of HSBC and the China Golf Association, the CGA-HSBC Junior Golf Program. It is supervised by a development committee that has representatives from HSBC, the CGA, IMG and The R&A. Recently, HSBC reaffirmed that they will continue to support the program for another 5 years until 2020.
One of the latest visible results of this program is Jin Cheng‘s participation in the latest Masters (unfortunately he missed the cut; he is the 2nd Chinese golfer to participate in the tournament after Guan Tianlang). It is also very positive that more than 80,000 children participated in the CGA-HSBC Junior Golf Program.
Not to mention, of those professional golfers who are participating in the Asian Tour (Hu Mu, Liang Wen-Chong, Wu Ashun, Zhang Lian-Wei), the European Tour (Ye Wo-Cheng), the U.S. Open (Andy Zhang) and the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions (Hoa Tong Li).
What are the challenges of the CGA-HSBC Junior Golf Program?
Even if I consider the historical, economic and cultural background of China and the above-mentioned achievements, I think the participation number is not so rosy. Just as a comparison, more than 10 million people participated in the First Tee program since the foundation (1997). Furthermore, when I see this number, a question arises why other companies are not joining this program.
At the same time, the Experimental School of Foreign Languages Affiliated to East China Normal University (ESFL for short; a government-supported primary school) with ties to two Chinese colleges. Since the second school semesters in 2015, the school has run a compulsory golf course to be taken by all of its first- and second- grade students, twice a week on Monday and Thursday. Why aren’t they joining the CGA-HSBC Junior Golf Program????
Unfortunately, for most Chinese students, extracurricular athletics still means badminton, ping-pong, basketball, or volleyball.
The Chinese economy‘s situation is also not facilitating the growth and popularity of golf as we would wish. China’s growth target for 2016 is 6.5%-7%. At the same time, China is struggling to adapt to the slower growth rate, even though we can find massive layoffs.