The television screen on the treadmill that I got into this evening displayed the SBS Golf Channel. The show’s title is Golf Academy. A Korean Pro is teaching golf on television using the screen golf. Of course, I understand little of the Korean language but the terms used in golf are almost the same in Korean and English so I stayed on in the channel.
Golf is just one of the many things that manifest how Koreans would strive for perfection once they set their eyes on something. There are very few land areas here in Korea that could be converted to golf courses… but there are many professional Korean golfers these days. Aside from sending potential Korean golfers to countries with good golf courses, many entrepreneurial Koreans have provided screen golf for the enthusiasts. This allows them to play here in Korea regardless of the season. The technology is also proving to be more economical to golf enthusiasts compared with playing in the fairways here in Korea. I have not asked about the fee details but a Korean friend whose family is into golf gasped when she learned hubby and I brought along our golf sets here. Her family goes around Asia for some days just for golf. Only her Dad has the luxury to play in the fairways here in Seoul. Yes, it is $$$ expensive!
The Philippines is one country frequently visited by Koreans for playing golf. Yes, Koreans flock to the Philippines not just for English studies… and honeymoons. Some of them… even the inexperienced ones… go to the Philippines for golf. There are many golf tour packages being offered by travel agencies for these select group. Good thing, the Philippines offer very good golf courses that most of these golf tourists go back and forth. Some even say that a golf tour package is less expensive compared with playing in the fairways here in Korea. Funny how some of these Korean tourists would maximize their trips in the golf courses in the Philippines – Filipino golfers would actually do 18 holes in a leisurely pace… and you see some Koreans doing 36 holes! That’s duh! Spas in the Philippines benefit from this practice… a good, hard massage comes next:-).
While in the fairways in Lakewood (Cabanatuan) during the Christmas holidays, I saw a tiny girl playing gracefully. I was told by the caddies that she is an 8-year old Korean. She had been in the Philippines for 2 months already and she plays everyday! She’s there for golf training… not English studies:-). When I went back to Lakewood for my driving lessons, she was also in the driving range. My Pro would tell me, “Look at her. She has a perfect and a very smooth swing”. Duh! She had been training daily for 2 months. How humiliating could it get when you’re asked to observe and follow an 8-year old? LOL. Hubby envied her aswell… for the time she gets to spend in the fairways.
Since coming over here 3 years ago, playing golf had been a constant deprivation for my husband. He can only play during business trips in the Philippines… when and if he had the time to spare. Holidays were also not so generous for golf. Lucky him if he could spare 3 to 4 days in the fairways during a two-week vacation.
Some golf courses in the Philippines have their own Korean liaison officers just to address the influx of Korean golf players. This move was also a way to address conflicts that often arise in the golf course. There was a time when the golf course where we have a membership in banned Koreans from playing. No offense but most of them have never played in the fairways here in Korea so they do not know the etiquette in the golf course. Greens were destroyed because of temper showdowns from these Korean tourists. Hey, golfers respect the greens! But then again, Korean golf tour packages mean good business. So, a Korean for Koreans were put in place:-).
While our golf membership in the Philippines is waiting, our golf sets here in Seoul have never been put to use:-). Though we have never played in any of the screen golf around here, hubby’s colleague informed him that some screen golf fee already includes the golf set. I am actually intrigued by the screen golf concept. Imagine playing golf (as if you’re in the fairways) in an airconditioned/heated room, sitting down in a sofa while waiting for your turn… free of the sun or the rain and spared of walking for miles for a 9-hole or an 18-hole golf game.