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12/04/2022
In a new quarterly column, Eric Lynge, Head of SMS Asia, looks at some of the striking trends affecting sport and leisure in Asia. His first piece focuses on Koreaís role as the next driver in global golf.
In a new quarterly column, Eric Lynge, Head of SMS Asia, looks at some of the striking trends affecting sport and leisure in Asia. His first piece focuses on Koreaís role as the next driver in global golf. 

The next driver in global golf A few years ago, I was invited by one of Korea's leading groups to address a group from the global golf industry at a summit alongside one Korea's most prestigious golf tournaments. At that time, to communicate what I saw as the growing global impact of the Korean golf industry, I told the audience that Korea was the "New Home of Golf". While ticking off the reasons for this moniker, I realized that it did not really hit the mark nor resonate accurately with the audience. 

Nothing can replace nor duplicate Scotland as the true home of golf. What may be a more accurate descriptor for Korea would be "the next driver in global golf". Why do I think thatís the case? There are a number of reasons that are even truer now than they were then. Domestic demand rising in Korea Firstly, on the domestic side, when travelling to Korea, it is hard to miss the prominence of golf in the fashion and media. At the airports, airbrushed images of fashionable male and female golfers with the appropriate brands are part of the advertising panel parade to customs and beyond. 

When you check into a hotel and browse the local TV offering, many broadcasters are airing Golf Dramas and Golf Variety Shows where K Pop and Korean Golf Player Legend and Celebrity influencers have merged into a golf centric idealized aspirational lifestyle tableau. 

The breadth of apparel and equipment on offer is far broader than most markets with niche European and Asian brands being sold in addition to traditional golf offerings. Korean golf fans can watch PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, DP World Tour, Asian Tour, KLPGA Tour and KGT Tour Golf, all commentated in Korean with studio analysis and presentation equivalent to watching the Golf Channel in the US. 

This is reflective of the universal success of Korean golfers spawned by success of Se Ri Park on the women's game and KJ Choi and YE Yang in the men's game and continuing to this day with the historic form on Jin-Young Ko and other young guns on most professional golf tours. 

Indoor golf tournaments are also televised and commentated upon with prize funds and a fan base as well. .