Golf training courses for children are booming in Beijing.
Parents are falling over themselves to send their children for high-class sport training to cultivate high-class manners.
Golf clubs in the capital including the SGA Golf Club, the Beijing Sports Bureau Training Division and Tianyi Golf Club are offering summer classes and weekend training courses for young children.
Golf camps gained popularity last year, which has seen a peak this summer.
And the high tuition fees haven't deterred parents.
"We received hundreds of calls about the courses before our first summer term began. The number of applicants was double last year's figure," The First newspaper quoted an executive from Tianyi Golf Club as saying.
The cost of tuition ranges from 2,000 yuan to 4,000 yuan (US$200 to US$500). SGA Golf Club charges 800 yuan (US$100) for an hour and a half, and a three-month course costs about 10,000 yuan (US$1,250), according to Li Nan, principal of the club.
Long-term courses are also available.
"Most of the children's families are well off," Li said. "Many parents work for multinationals and their children were born abroad. Many of the parents play golf themselves."
Children are taught basic golfing skills, including learning to identify the different types of golf clubs.
Further, young trainees at the SGA camp don't seem to have any problem communicating with their Australian coach.
"Playing golf can help children cultivate high-class manners," one trainee's mother said.
But not everyone shares those sentiments. "Parents want their children to be members of the elite," according to Xia Xueluan, a sociology professor from Peking University. "Parents should respect children's interests instead of flattering their own vanity," he said, adding that weeks of training won't turn their kids into aristocrats.
(Xinhua News Agency July 27, 2006)