Expo 48: Golf state— South Korea


South Korea has created a golf culture that leaves most other nations swinging away in a sandy bunker. Monocle visits some of the country’s top clubs and meets their quirky members and attentive staff.

Clubhouse, Golf, Seoul, Wives, caddies

The late afternoon sun bounces off the golden Jeff Koons sculpture sitting in the drive as Christopher Kwon pulls up in a dark blue Porsche and steps out smiling. The businessman makes his way into the lobby with its vaulted timber ceiling, splashes of contemporary art and walls of glass that frame the green mountain views. Mr Kwon is not checking into a chic hotel. Nor is he popping into his country pad for a weekend break. He is stepping across the threshold of what is one of the world’s most exclusive scenes – a Korean golf club.

Golf in South…

Tee time: South Korean golf in numbers

346 golf courses in South Korea, according to Korea Golf University statistics.

600 golf courses are expected to be open by 2015

3.2 million golf players in South Korea

34 is the number of times 23-year-old South Korean champion Shin Ji-yai has won tournaments around the world, including eight LPGAs and the British Open. She’s also released an album of Christian songs.

36 of the top 100 ranking female golfers in the world are South Korean – four in the top 10 – according to the 500 Rolex Rankings for women (as of August).


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