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Golf experience and culture in Korea

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

I read this post in reddit recently - is there any truth to it?

 

I recently moved to Korea (thankfully only for a year), and having been spoiled by US standards of fast play, great courses, and relatively "cheap" rates, I'm beginning to lose my mind with the ridiculousness that is Korean golf. I literally walked off the local course the other day because I was +6 through 5, and 1hr40min into the round. This naturally has frustrated my game, I find myself introducing variations into my swing I never had before due to waiting 15-20 min between shots, and with no traditional driving ranges to work out the kinks (only mats, distance limited balls, and a max 100 yard net) I can't seem to find the rhythm I had back in the states. Oh and did I mention a typical round here can cost up to $200-$300 US???

I thought before moving here that Korea would be great for my game knowing how much they love the sport, but have only found frustration and a general lack of golf etiquette we show each other in the US. I can't believe the average Korean NEVER fixes their ball mark on the greens. It seems as though golf is mostly a status thing for them and not something they do solely for the passion of the game. Any advice to keep my passion for golf alive or can anyone more knowledgeable on Korean golf give me some tips?

 

http://www.reddit.com/r/golf/comments/1mpm8r/golfing_in_korea_routinely_takes_6_hours_for_a/

post #2 of 28

I never played in Korea but I played number of rounds with a Korean couple who were visiting their kids in California.   They confirmed that a round can cost $200+.   It's an all day event for them, getting to the course, playing, meal, ...   They were raving about how cheap it is to play a course in the States. 

 

As for the etiquette, the couple sorely lacked it.  But I see the similar trend by golfer in Bay Area, CA.  There are a lot of immigrants (I am one, too) here who are picking up golf from their friends.  And I don't see them teaching golf etiquette to their novice friends.   My experience is, only 1 out of 10 Bay Area golfers fixes their ball mark (and I bet some are fixing it b/c I fix their ball marks - setting an example to follow).  

post #3 of 28
A little off topic, but China is also very expensive to golf. All courses have caddies, and caddies fix the ball marks, rake bunkers etc. At $200 (on the low end) per round, a customer is not really expecting to do any of these things, I suppose.

On the other hand, I play the cheap courses here and there, and fix all my ball marks, divots and rake bunkers etc.
post #4 of 28

I have heard the complete opposite as far as pace of play.  I have wanted to play there (I have to travel there on business frequently) but haven't gotten the chance.

 

Someone I know who did play there said that it is a very different experience.  They had a single caddy with a five person golf kart (which is self driving in certain sections) per foursome.  Apparently the caddy does everything including telling you what club to use after observing you play a few holes.

 

The experience probably depends on the course.

post #5 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by oscopeaaron View Post

I have heard the complete opposite as far as pace of play.  I have wanted to play there (I have to travel there on business frequently) but haven't gotten the chance.

Someone I know who did play there said that it is a very different experience.  They had a single caddy with a five person golf kart (which is self driving in certain sections) per foursome.  Apparently the caddy does everything including telling you what club to use after observing you play a few holes.

The experience probably depends on the course.

The only difference is the number of caddies, but you're right the caddies tend to keep pace of play up and select the right club for you. My friends play regularly, but when they come here to play they have no idea what to do.

Takes them a few rounds to get used to our way of playing (middle class), but they all loved it once they did. Even my upper class brother in law... b2_tongue.gif
post #6 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by rkim291968 View Post
 

I never played in Korea but I played number of rounds with a Korean couple who were visiting their kids in California.   They confirmed that a round can cost $200+.   It's an all day event for them, getting to the course, playing, meal, ...   They were raving about how cheap it is to play a course in the States. 

 

As for the etiquette, the couple sorely lacked it.  But I see the similar trend by golfer in Bay Area, CA.  There are a lot of immigrants (I am one, too) here who are picking up golf from their friends.  And I don't see them teaching golf etiquette to their novice friends.   My experience is, only 1 out of 10 Bay Area golfers fixes their ball mark (and I bet some are fixing it b/c I fix their ball marks - setting an example to follow).  

 

I ran into those Korean American bad etiquette MOFOs today.   There was a rain in the area and the course was very sparse.  I was cruising along until I went to #10 hole.   There was a Korean American 4-some playing and they were hitting their balls all over the place, taking their sweet time.   There were no groups in front, and just me behind the 4-some but they refused to let me pass.   I keep running into them in tee box and finally, one guy signaled me to pass only to be overruled by his friend.   Needless to say, back 9 took a little more time to finish.

post #7 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by rkim291968 View Post
 

 

I ran into those Korean American bad etiquette MOFOs today.   There was a rain in the area and the course was very sparse.  I was cruising along until I went to #10 hole.   There was a Korean American 4-some playing and they were hitting their balls all over the place, taking their sweet time.   There were no groups in front, and just me behind the 4-some but they refused to let me pass.   I keep running into them in tee box and finally, one guy signaled me to pass only to be overruled by his friend.   Needless to say, back 9 took a little more time to finish.

I never have that issue.....especially if I am a single.  If I see there is empty course ahead and I catch a group,  I guarantee I am barreling down on them fast and they know it........ I give them 1 hole to wave me though.

 

If they don't, I smile and wave as I pass them on the way to the next tee.  I'll play a make-up hole of equal difficulty once I put some distance on them so I can complete 18 holes. If I am playing in a group, we may do the same thing.  it just depends on who my partners are and the situation.   My regular group doesn't fk around....if we run into a slow group.....we charge past and make the hole up later.   We don't wait...we just go ahead...

post #8 of 28

Just for what it's worth:

 

At a course I used to play fairly often in Auburn, Alabama there were many Asian looking women that played there every day. (I don't know what their nationality was or even if it was the same).

 

All of them went out of their way to stop and let us play through if they had any hint that we were playing faster than they were.

post #9 of 28

Here in the Washington DC area, and particularly western Fairfax County there is a large Korean population. There is a lot of interest in golf in that community and they make up a noticeable percentage of the people playing on many courses I play. As a single I do get paired with them pretty often and most of the time I find that they are serious golfers and keep up the pace. I have seen slow groups, but no more than other ethnic groups (including my own). I've heard that they like to bet with each other and therefore they might play more slowly with money on the line. I heard that from a Korean American in my group complaining about the slow pace of the Korean Americans in the group ahead of us.

 

I like playing with folks of Asian origin, they seem to be focused and serious about golf, and have interesting stories about America. I've noticed that athletics is an important part of their culture. Once I was paired up with a husband/wife couple and whereas they couldn't speak English very well, they spoke golf perfectly fine. The lady (probably 50) was little but athletic, played from the tees with us guys, had a great release on her swing, and just played fairways and greens all the way around. Very impressive getting par on one of the par 5's. She really hit her fairway woods well.

 

As for golfing in Korea, I'll make it a point ask how it differs. I'm curious now.

post #10 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lihu View Post


The only difference is the number of caddies, but you're right the caddies tend to keep pace of play up and select the right club for you. My friends play regularly, but when they come here to play they have no idea what to do.

Takes them a few rounds to get used to our way of playing (middle class), but they all loved it once they did. Even my upper class brother in law... b2_tongue.gif

 

I've read about some Korean golfers abusing their caddies: yelling at them, sexually harassing them, and treating them like their personal maids.   Golfers are in their 40s, 50s, and 60s and successful businessmen used to bullying others around.   The caddies are women in their early 20s and from lower income class.   It's not hard to see the abuses.

post #11 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by rkim291968 View Post
 

 

I've read about some Korean golfers abusing their caddies: yelling at them, sexually harassing them, and treating them like their personal maids.   Golfers are in their 40s, 50s, and 60s and successful businessmen used to bullying others around.   The caddies are women in their early 20s and from lower income class.   It's not hard to see the abuses.

 

Not just Korea, it's a rich Asian person thing. Most people are poor, and the wealthy take advantage of the situation.

 

That's part of the reason why my family are in the USA :-)

post #12 of 28
Well, this is what happens when you play in North Korea! :)

Regards

Mailman
post #13 of 28

I've been a guest at Mission Hills, Shenzhen, many times.  Green fees for me, 1000RMB, caddy tip 100RMB, if Hole-in-one all caddies in group get 500RMB, have never seen caddy abuse there. Caddies well trained and yes, often from far off and prefer this job to many other 'girl jobs'. 100RMB per day is pretty standard throughout China for low status workers. 

 

Hong Kong public course also about 1000HK$ but no caddy. You pull your trolley, or ride free buggy (mandatory on East course) .  Can be much cheaper  in Thailand, like 1000 Thai baht, plus 200TB for caddy. Lots of land in T'land so more courses and practice ranges. Many, many Koreans in Chiang Mai in winter, playing 6 balls walking, drinking and have fun. 

post #14 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mailman View Post

Well, this is what happens when you play in North Korea! :)

Regards

Mailman

 

Ha ha, great leader averages 6-7 hole-in-ones per round.

post #15 of 28
Try playing public golf in Los Angeles. Slow, rude, utterly lacking in etiquette, the list could go on for quite a while.
post #16 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by joekelly View Post

I've been a guest at Mission Hills, Shenzhen, many times.  Green fees for me, 1000RMB, caddy tip 100RMB, if Hole-in-one all caddies in group get 500RMB, have never seen caddy abuse there. Caddies well trained and yes, often from far off and prefer this job to many other 'girl jobs'. 100RMB per day is pretty standard throughout China for low status workers. 

Mission Hills is played by many HK players, and they set the standards for behavior. Beautiful course, and your host pays a lot for his membership.
post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundandFury View Post

Try playing public golf in Los Angeles. Slow, rude, utterly lacking in etiquette, the list could go on for quite a while.

Sometimes, I get that one guy who gets really pissed off when you try to pass them up.

I just don't "hold back" my little kid from driving past them. b2_tongue.gif
post #18 of 28

I live in Mexico City and we have a large Korean community here. Many are expats living in Mexico for only a year or two. They play a lot of golf and most public golf courses in the area are always packed with Korean players. This has been my experience:

 

Caddies don't like them. They are rude. I have heard this in many courses. In contrast, caddies  say Japanese players are very nice and polite.

Four times out of five Korean groups will NOT let me pass through, even though I'm playing alone. When I politely ask them to let me pass, they just wave their hands at me saying no.

They take a lot of time to play. They bet a lot and they will pay the bets at every hole!!!

When I have been paired up with a Korean group, most times they will not have a conversation with me.

I took the time and effort to learn to say "thank you" in Korean (it sounds something like kamsa amnida), I know I pronounce it well, but when I say it to korean players they don't say anything back, like you are welcome. Only once did a korean player say kamsa amnida to me, but this was a gentleman who had been living here twenty years and obviously had good manners.

 

I have a mexican friend who works for LG in Mexico. About a year ago I asked her how to say "please" and "thank you" in Korean, and she said I don't know, they never say please or thank you. True story.

 

I don't think they are bad people. I feel sorry for them, it seems that's just their culture.

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