By Michael Rand
Paige Bromen, a junior on the U of M women’s golf team, is exploring the globalization of sports in China as the country prepares for the 2008 Olympics. She checks in with Part V of her report:
Today, I was treated to one of the best golf experiences of my life. This morning, a retired Naval officer took me to Grandeur South Golf and Country Club just outside of Beijing. I had no idea what to expect and when we pulled into the front entrance, I practically had to remind myself not to gasp. The place was massive!
After changing into my golf shoes and perusing the locker room — there was a twenty person Jacuzzi near the showers — we left the clubhouse and headed to the first tee. The golf course itself was a fusion between a Minnesotan and Floridian loop. Almost every hole was lined with water hazards, sand bunkers, and an array of different types of trees. But the most impressive part of the course was the meticulously condition in which it was kept. I couldn’t find a divot that wasn’t filled with sand or a ball mark on the green that wasn’t repaired. I think this can be attributed to everyone having a caddie and the cheap price of labor in China. The round was rather pitiful on my part, but I pulled it together a little on the back nine … let’s just say I had five birdie opportunities and only converted one. On an aside, the golf etiquette was largely similar to the States’ code of conduct; however, talking on your cell phones during the round is permitted and after you are done putting, you leave the green — as a general rule a person does not need to wait for their playing partners to putt out.
The round was fantastic and I was actually relieved not to have to worry about my performance for once. One thing I did forget to mention above though is that neither my playing partner nor our caddies spoke English. The round had a different twist to it as a lot of hand gestures took the places of words and a lot of time lagged between conversations. But what an experience!
OK, that’s about it. Tonight a bunch of us are going to meet up with the Beijing Sports University students again for dinner. Tomorrow, we are playing softball with the Beijing University baseball team; it should be another great day in Beijing!