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Golf suffers 1% decline in players on Okinawa links

Date Posted: 2008-09-26

The rationale varies, but the bottom line is the same; fewer golfers are using Okinawa’s courses and golf club profits are down.

After a banner year in 2003, when 1,530,000 made their way to Okinawa golf courses, the number has slipped to 1,378,892 in 2007. Okinawa Prefecture’s Tax Office says the decline from 2006, when 1,395,427 golfers hit the course, reflects a 1% drop in patronage.

Tax officials attribute the decline to a variety of economic factors, including corporations scaling back the number of social expenses for golf, and because golf courses had reduced the number of discounts on greens fees. The combination has hit the pocketbooks of the golf courses, who say their profits are down.

There’s hope, officials say, as golf courses are scrambling to reduce greens fees and improve course services. More locals are again playing, and tourism golf junkets from Korea and Taiwan are bringing many to the warm climate for winter golf. Prefecture officials say they’re more aggressively promoting international golf tourism, and say many foreigners don’t care if the greens fees are reduced.

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