Students get into the swing

Updated: 2011-11-07 08:25

By Shi Yingying (China Daily)

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SHANGHAI - Seven schools in Shanghai will be teaching their students how to play golf next year.

Students get into the swing

Students practice their swing on the playground during a golf class at Yongchang Private School in Shanghai, on April 2. [Photo /  China Daily]

All of the schools - one private and six public schools - are located in the city's more affluent neighborhoods, such as those in Xuhui and Luwan districts.

Li Yuhua, principal of Yongchang Private School, which has already introduced golf courses, said golf is an effective way for students to learn patience and resilience.

"Golf is not an optional course, it is compulsory for every pupil in the first, second, third and sixth grades," he said.

"We start to train the kids how to swing and putt by using the sponsored simulators in the playground at first. But, starting this year, we started taking students to the central Shanghai Youth Golf Base one afternoon a week."

Li said the golf class is popular with students and that he has received lots of positive feedback from parents, although he refused to say how much the course added to the cost of tuition.

"I can tell you about 90 percent of parents are in favor of the golf classes, with only few saying they are worried it may interfere with their children's studies."

As one of the seven schools, Yongchang Private School introduced the course two years ago and it has also set up an amateur golf team with over 10 members. A 34,000-square-meter course is being built at the school's satellite campus in the city's Jinshan district at a cost of which costs about 3 million yuan ($476,190).

A total of 13 primary and middle schools across the country, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, have said they intend to include golf class in their curricula in the near future.

"I see lots of my friends sending their children to professional golf classes to develop a social manner and temperament that will be beneficial for their future networking," said Cui Zhiqiang, former vice-president of the China Golf Association.

But Cui said it was of the utmost importance that the schools paid proper attention to safety issues.

"Golf balls and clubs are made of hard materials, so we need to make sure that they are used properly."

Yu Tianhao, a physical education teacher from Shanghai Yongchang Private School, said he usually has two other assistants to help him supervise 30 children in a golf class.

"We also give safety lessons before they start practicing and buy them insurance," said Yu.

Cui is also worried that golf classes may lead to a sense of elitism among students.

"You wouldn't want first grade kids to think too good about themselves simply because they're playing golf," he said.

Zhao Hong, the mother of a 7-year-old boy in Shenzhen, said she started to send he son to learn golf at weekends when he was only 4 years old.

"I consciously cultivated his interest in golf, as it's going to be an very important social skill for him in the future," said Zhao.

"I'm expecting Shenzhen to have such golf classes in school soon. I believe it won't take long."

Zheng Yanyan, a professor from Beijing Sport University, however, has reservations about the courses.

"I don't regard golf as a pure sport in China, because there is too much social attachment."