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Leaderboard Golf teaching Chinese to staff
July 27, 2011

Leaderboard Golf , which owns and operates some of the best-known golf courses across the South of England, is to teach Mandarin to staff members and caddies: the first UK sporting organisation of its type to attempt to woo the burgeoning Chinese tourist market and acknowledge mainland China's position as the fastest-growing international territory for golf.

From July 2011, key staff at Leaderboard's Courses - Chart Hills (Kent), Sandford Springs (Hampshire), Dale Hill (East Sussex), and The Oxfordshire (located in Thame) - will receive tuition from linguistics guru Paul Noble , whose unique conversation-based, paper-free language-learning method was recently launched by Collins Language (a division of HarperCollins ). Leaderboard will also be adding Chinese language pages to its new site at

Noble will provide key Leaderboard staff with a grounding in Mandarin conversational structures and greetings, as well as phrases more specific to the game of golf. A particular focus will be on training at the Leaderboard courses with hotels: The Oxfordshire and Dale Hill .

Example phrases to be taught include:

"What's your handicap?" - "Qing wen nin de pingjun meichang ganshu shi duo shao?"

"Wouldn't a 9 iron be more appropriate?" - "Yong jiutie hui bu hui bijiao shihe ne?"

"Excellent shot, sir!" - "Da de hao!"

Paul Gibbons , Chairman Of Leaderboard Golf (and co-founder and former owner of AutoTrader Magazine), explains the rationale behind the initiative: "The Chinese have developed a love for golf and in a tough economic climate when British golf courses are fighting hard to get new members, we felt it logical to reach out to this new tourist group and make it clear that they are welcome at our courses. This is more than a symbolic gesture: British businesses of all types should welcome the opportunities that are presented by the new visitors, and, though there are some fantastic new golf courses in China, we want the Chinese to understand that nothing can come close to playing a round in the UK, the country that invented the sport!"

The Debate About Whether Or Not The Chinese Invented Golf

Though Leaderboard Golf does not accept claims by some Chinese cultural commentators that golf's historical origins lie in the East, it is in discussion with Chinese academics to explore the potential for the goodwill staging of the first British game of 'Chui wan' ('strike pellet') - a game first recorded in China during the Song Dynasty (11 th Century A.D.) which some argue was brought to Europe - and Scotland - by traders along the ancient Silk Route in the 14 th Century, and created modern golf.

The Growth of Chinese Tourism To The UK - Key Facts

VisitBritain anticipates that Chinese trips to the UK are forecast to more than double by 2014, growing by 117% relative to 2008, with almost 130,000 additional visits (representing a 0.8% market share for the UK). This would make the UK the 14th most visited destination from China by 2014.

The number of visa applications by Chinese tourists rose by 40pc in 2010 (when compared to the previous year), with 150,000 Chinese were approved to travel.

The average age of a Chinese millionaire is 39 (15 years younger than their counterparts overseas): a perfect age for the adoption of golf as a leisure activity.

Chinese visitors to the UK in 2010 spent an average of £1,310 on retail and leisure purchases; their US counterparts £753. Harrods reported that half of the crowds at the first day of its Christmas sale were Chinese.

The Growth Of Golf In China - Key Facts

In the late 90s, there were only 20 golf courses in the whole of China: the majority associated with the former British colony of Hong Kong.

Today, it is estimated that there are 500 golf courses in China, 150 under construction, and 500 more at a planning stage.

The total number of Chinese golfers has doubled since 2001, and is increasing by roughly a quarter each year. It is estimated that there are currently just over 3 million Chinese golf players, the majority having only picked-up a club for the first time during the last decade.

It is anticipated that the recent announcement that golf will be included within the 2016 Rio Olympics (for the first time since the Paris Olympics in 1904) will encourage millions more Chinese players to adopt the sport.

About Paul Noble

Paul Noble (30), a certified genius with an IQ of 174 (higher than Einstein's), is the founder of the Paul Noble Institute, a London-based higher education centre that, since its launch in 2008, has been teaching businesses, the private sector and members of the public a successful and exceptionally easy way to learn new languages.

He was driven to develop his unique teaching method after discovering at an early age that despite his IQ, and even though he loved languages, he struggled to learn languages at school . Paul began trying to teach himself languages and after trial and error with many self-teaching methods he found that the Lexical approach was the most successful. Eventually, after teaching himself 5 languages, he went on to develop his own top secret technique - based on the lexical approach - that allows him to teach anybody a language in just 13 hours with no books and no memorisation.

Prior to launching the Paul Noble Institute in 2008 he worked for the Taiwanese Government as an advisor on language reform. He has also worked as a language teacher in both the UK and Germany. He recently taught a Guardian journalist to speak conversational Mandarin in two days. In 2011, the Collins Italian with Paul Noble language learning audio course was launched in the UK.

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