Tropical Geography ›› 2020, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (3): 515-524.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003234

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Spatio-Temporal Evolution, Influencing Factors, and Diffusion Model of Golf Courses in China

Jin Wanfu1(), He Guangjing2, Chen Le3()   

  1. 1.School of Geography and Tourism, Guangdong University of Finance and Economics, Guangzhou 510320, China
    2.School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
    3.School of Tourism, Research Institute of Human Geography, Xi'an International Studies University, Xi'an 710128, China
  • Received:2019-04-23 Revised:2020-02-07 Online:2020-05-31 Published:2020-06-30
  • Contact: Chen Le;;


This study examined the spatial diffusion of golf courses in mainland China from 1984 to 2016 through the application of spatial analysis and mathematical statistics. We found that since the early 1990s, the central government has introduced policies to limit course expansion. However, it was not until 2014 that the rapid national expansion of course construction was brought under control. Overall, the number of courses experienced a low-rate expansion period in 1984—1994, a steady expansion period in 1995—2004, an accelerated expansion period in 2005—2013, and a contraction period in 2014—2016. The spatial distribution of courses has also experienced expansion and contraction periods, with the most significant spreading occurring northward and westward. Golf courses are clearly clustered in China. The Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta, Bohai Rim region, and capital cities in central and western China that feature relatively high levels of economic development, more outward-looking economies, and dense populations have larger numbers of courses, indicating that the spatial distribution of golf courses in China is affected by socioeconomic factors. Correlation analysis further showed that socioeconomic factors such as per capita GDP, population size, regional openness, and transportation dominance are significantly positively related to the spatial distribution of courses, with transportation dominance having the greatest impact. There were 115 golf courses in six transport hub cities, accounting for 25.96% of the total. It is worth noting that despite the scarcity of land resources in China, local governments are interested in building courses to develop tourism and leisure industries and attract foreign investment. There is also a significant positive relationship between the scarcity of land resources and the spatial distribution of courses. The spatial diffusion model of courses was characterized by a degree of regularity. Specifically, courses first appeared in the coastal areas with developed economies and a high degree of openness to the outside world, and then spread to surrounding and inland areas, demonstrating obvious contact diffusion characteristics. In addition, metropolitan areas first built courses, and then surrounding lower-level cities also built courses in Bohai Rim and the Yangtze River Delta regions. The spatial state model further confirms that golf courses in China present obvious contact and hierarchical diffusion characteristics. This study’s findings promote a better understanding of the spatial diffusion patterns of golf courses in China since the reform and opening up and further enrich the theoretical study of the spatial diffusion of sports culture in Chinese human geography.

Key words: Golf course, influencing factors, spatial diffusion model, China

CLC Number: 

  • G849.32