《高爾夫與中國夢》

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《高爾夫與中國夢》
作者:丹.華希本
譯者:吳國卿

芸芸運動之中,高爾夫球可說是政治色彩最濃厚的一項,例如美國總統特朗普就不只一次與日本首相安倍晉三打高爾夫球。無巧不成話,這場「高爾夫外交」亦早於上世紀50年代時開展——安倍的祖父,也是日本前首相岸信介亦曾與時任美國總統艾森豪威爾一起揮杆。

在中國,高爾夫球政治色彩亦不遑多讓。今年適逢中國改革開放40周年,而高爾夫便是在改革開放初期引入中國。不過一直等到近20年,中國高爾夫球方迎來急速發展,球場如雨後春筍般出現。

在高爾夫運動水平方面,中國現時也在世界高爾夫球壇上佔有席位。最佳例子是女球手馮珊珊於2016里約奧運奪得銅牌,又曾問鼎世界第一寶座。在這風光時刻,絕難想像到不過數十年前,中國首批職業高爾夫球手竟是由球僮甚至球場警衛這些人自學苦練而成。

美國記者丹.華希本的著作《高爾夫與中國夢》就是透過三線故事去描繪高爾夫球運動這些年來在中國的發展。當中有靠自行摸索踏上職業之路的球場警衛、有美國高爾夫球場設計師,還有靠開發高爾夫球場而脫貧的當地人。他們的故事各有各傳奇,從他們的故事足可拼湊出高爾夫在中國發展的立體面貌。

作者的敘述頗為精彩,中國人由當初連高爾夫是何物也尚未懂得,到爭相走入圈子內,折射了近年中國社會的變遷。其中警衛自學成為職業球手的故事,更是意外地激盪人心,運動愛好者必有共鳴。

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.

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