Fujian (CHINA): The 2018 Volvo China Junior Match Play Championship is set to give a major boost to golf development and tourism in the region when it is staged from Sunday (December 9) at Southern Wood Golf & Country Club in Fujian, according to Club Chairman Sean Huang.

The four-day event will feature the country’s top 32 junior golfers and will be staged in Fujian for the first time in its 14-year history as the best Chinese juniors fight it out for a place in the 2019 Volvo China Open.

“The Volvo China Open was born in 1995, which is the year my father and I started to develop the Zhangzhou Southern Wood Golf and Country Club in the shadow of the Nan Taiwu Mountain in Fujian so we have a strong affinity with the championship,” said Huang.

“Since the Club was opened in 1996, we have developed a long history in the area and developed to become one of the best golf courses in China. Hosting this prestigious event is not only an ideal opportunity to showcase our excellent facilities and services, it is also a great way to promote junior golf in the province, increase the number of young Chinese golf stars in the future and promote tourism in Fujian.”

The decision to postpone the Volvo China Junior Match Play Championship until December 9-12 posed a challenge to the Volvo China Open organising team. But with the team at Southern Wood Golf and Country Club offering a welcome and established venue, the popular qualifying event is set to celebrate its 14th anniversary in style this week and mark a major sporting milestone for Fujian.

“As one of the oldest golf courses in China, the club has witnessed a great deal of development in Fujian,” added Huang. “When we first opened there were very few players and the local farmers would laugh at us and ask why we were planting grass.

“But with the assistance of people from Fujian who work overseas, the club’s name was promoted in Taiwan, Japan and Korea, which not only helped attract golfers to the area but also business investment to boost the local economy. Today around 80 per cent of our membership are local players with many of those sceptical farmers now also playing golf.”

Despite the steps taken by the club in helping grow the sport in the region, Huang also believes there is still room for growth particularly when it comes to junior golf.

“While we have seen a great development, we are still aiming to reach the level of the top tier golfing cities in China. Now that golf is back in the Olympics, there is much more potential especially when it comes to developing junior golf.

“These young players are the future of the sport and over the years we have worked with many domestic academies to find and develop talented juniors – in fact the 2015 Volvo China Open champion Wu Ashun used to play here regularly from 2000-2003.”

As one of the country’s most prestigious junior tournaments, the Volvo China Junior Match Play Championship allows young stars of the future and their parents to come together, compete on a challenging course and battle it out for places in The European Tour-sanctioned Volvo China Open in May 2019.

“Golf is a great sport for making friends, building relationships, and for keeping fit both mentally and physically,” said Huang. “It is our pleasure to host the Volvo China Junior Match Play Championship and we hope the players and their families will take away fond memories of their time at Southern Wood Golf & Country Club.”







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