In the past decade, to help maintain political stability and promote economic growth, South Korea has committed substantial resources to commercialized sports, including golf. A major source of support for building golf courses has come from government leaders and economic and social incentives as well. In the past 4 years the government has given permission to build 135 new golf courses. The official government discourse about the new golf courses is that they are being built in the interest of “sport for all.” But the golf courses overwhelmingly require membership, which is extremely expensive. Despite the enormous power and resources of the dominant groups in Korea, there are elements of opposition. The golf boom has been severely criticized because it removes large amounts of land from agricultural and industrial productivity, contaminates farm land, and pollutes water. It also represents the worst aspects of the social imbalance of wealth.
George H. Sage is with the School of Kinesiology and Physical Education at the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, CO 80639. Minseok An is a graduate student in that department.