The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream
Author: Dan Washburn
Translator: Wu Guo-qing
Golf is considered as one of the most politicized of all sports. A typical case to demonstrate is the fact that the US President Donald Trump has played golf with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe more than just once. Actually this “golf diplomacy” was started in the 1950s, when Abe’s grandfather, former Japanese Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi, and the then US President Dwight Eisenhower, got into the swing of things on the golf course.
It was full of “golf politics” in China either, despite the fact that golf was only introduced to the country almost 40 years ago at the early stages of reform and opening-up. Over the past 20 years, China has enjoyed a golf boom as lots of new courses have opened up.
Today, China plays a position in the world of golf. The best example is Shanshan Feng, the Chinese golfer who won the bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics Games in Rio de Janeiro and at one time was first in the women’s world golf rankings. It is hard to fathom that just a few decades ago, China’s first professional golfers were actually “ball boys” and even golf course security guards who learned the game on their own.
In The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream, American journalist Dan Washburn vividly depicts the growth of Chinese golf over the years by revealing the lives of three men: a golf course security guard who explored the game by himself and became a pro, an American golf course designer, and a local who was lifted out from poverty through a reliance on building of golf courses. Their extraordinary stories and experiences weave together a living portrait of China’s golf development.
An engrossing and compelling narrative, the author uses the expansion of Chinese golf as a lens into the country’s social changes in recent years. Coupled with heart-stirring stories like the security guard turned golf pro, this book will definitely strike a chord with sports enthusiasts.