Once upon a time, a group of SME entrepreneurs who were in their 40s on average were practicing hitting golf balls at a driving range in the Cikarang area, Bekasi Regency. When asked the reason for practicing golf, even though they are no longer young, one of them replied that the goal is not to become a golfer, they just want to be able to play golf as a means of networking with partners or potential customers who are mostly decision makers.
According to the entrepreneur, according to the view that golf is a sport that is often used to discuss business transactions, then by playing golf, one oars reach two or three islands. Once you play golf, your business will run smoothly,” said the SME entrepreneur enthusiastically.
Meanwhile, thousands of kilometers from Cikarang, at a school in China, in Xuhui and Luwan districts, Shanghai Province, China, a number of elementary school children in grades 1, 2, 3 and 6 were playing golf at a driving range. They are not training to become golf players, but they are attending a school lesson, where golf is a compulsory subject. “Golf is not an optional subject, it’s a compulsory subject,” said Li Yuhua, Principal of Yongchang Private School as quoted from the news published in the China Daily.
Just like the intentions of UKM entrepreneurs from Bekasi, giving golf lessons in schools is also not intended to produce students as athletes, but rather to equip students with abilities that are expected to increase their self-confidence and benefit their social interactions in the future.
For this reason, before including it in the school curriculum, a trial was first carried out 2 years ago. Positive responses came from the parents of students. Following the success of the pilot program, 13 primary and secondary schools in Beijing, Shanghai, Guanzhou and Shenzhen are planned to include golf in the school curriculum in the near future. It’s not just about including golf in the curriculum, some schools are even planning to build their own driving ranges to train their students.
In teaching golf in schools, besides being taught the technical aspects of how to hit and play golf, students are also taught non-technical knowledge such as personality development, honesty, teaching social relations, ethics and behavior. Because it’s no secret that in the sport of golf there are many things that can be learned and trained, such as honesty, mind control, accuracy in action and the ability to predict situations. These are the basic requirements that everyone needs to get along well in society, not only in the business world but in all areas of life.
Teaching the positive values of golf from a young age to students is a good thing. Children’s minds are not as much contaminated with other thoughts as adults. Because it is easier to teach positive things to children and they are easier to absorb these positive values and practice them in everyday life.
However, like two sides of a coin, apart from those who support it, there are also those who think that golf is not appropriate to be taught in schools because it is not a pure sport. “Golf is just a social sport,” Zheng Yanyan, a professor at Beijing Sport University, was quoted as saying by China Daily.
The view that golf is just a social sport is true, because so far golf has only been played by a handful of people or only the upper class and is only a means to foster relationships among the elite. In addition, golf is not a cheap and popular sport that can be played by many people and in “any” place like football. To be able to play golf it costs a lot of money, starting from the cost to buy golf equipment to a green fee every time you play. Only the rich or the children of the rich could practice and play golf. Therefore, there is a concern that by teaching golf at a young age, it is the same as teaching elitist and unpopular attitudes and behaviors.
But just as life is a choice, playing golf is also a choice. It’s up to us how we see and interpret it. Rather than highlighting the negative aspects excessively, it would be better if we look at the positive side and develop the positive sides in everyday social life. And that is what several school principals in China have done, who dare to take breakthroughs in their efforts to equip and develop the character of their students with non-academic abilities that are expected to be able to answer the challenges of social interaction in the future.