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Peking University hits back at golf claims
Latest Updated by 2006-08-30 08:49:35
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Peking University has been placed in the spotlight over reports that it will build a golf course on campus.

University authorities yesterday (Aug 29) denied the reports that it was building a course, saying it has only drawn up plans to build a small practice range.

The outdoor range is part of a redevelopment of a large playground on the northeast side of Weiming Lake, a place where many students gather on lecture breaks. The range will be 90-metres long and 40-metres wide, smaller than commercial ranges that are at least 250-metres long.

"It's not a golf course, and not even a regular-sized driving range," said Hao Guang'an, director of the school's physical education department. "With nets all around, it's more like a cage in which students can practice their swing."

Hao said the school plans to offer students golf classes as part of the physical education programme after the range is completed, but it has not decided whether classes will be compulsory or elective.

"It's necessary to have a range on campus where students can learn some basic golf skills, as golf is an increasingly popular sport in China," he said.

Since the first golf course opened on the Chinese mainland 22 years ago, the sport has become very popular among the wealthy. Last November, students at Peking University launched China's first on-campus golf association.

Hao added that the range will be used for golf association activities and may also open to the public, but details are still under discussion.

The mistaken media reports that the university would build a full course triggered a debate over whether it is appropriate to have such a "luxurious" facility on campus.

"Golf is very popular among businessmen and white collar workers, and the university has to keep up with the times," said a business student surnamed Zhao. But another student named Wang Zhanhui from the university's law school said golf is not a sport for ordinary Chinese. "Most students wouldn't be able to afford it and the university should concentrate on providing better facilities for more popular sports," he said.

The university said opinions from students would be taken into consideration.

Peking University, one of the most prestigious higher education institutions in China, has been hit by controversy over recent weeks. A Chinese American scholar alleged irregularities in the recruitment of overseas professors, a charge the university denied.

Editor: Wing

By: Source: China Daily Website
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