North Korea Opens Doors to Foreign Golfers: Pyongyang Golf Tournament Welcomes Amateurs

Cheong Seong-chang of the Center for North Korea Studies at the Sejong Institute told AFP recent signs indicate “that Chinese tourism to North Korea will gradually resume in the future”.

The North’s state media has said Kim Jong Il — current leader Kim Jong Un’s father and predecessor — scored an incredible 11 holes-in-one the first time he ever played golf.

Pyongyang’s golf course was reportedly built in the early 1980s and was officially opened in 1987 to celebrate the 75th birthday of the country’s founder, Kim Il Sung.

It was financed by pro-Pyongyang ethnic Koreans in Japan.

Today, the course “covers an area of 196 hectares and has… 18 holes in total. More than 200 people can play there,” the DPR Korea Tour website says.

An Chan-il, a defector turned researcher who runs the World Institute for North Korea Studies, said Pyongyang has “established a department of golf” at a key sports university in Pyongyang.

“North Korea has designated golf as an important means of earning foreign currency,” An told AFP.

.In 2005 the golf course hosted a Korean Ladies’ Professional Golf Association event.

The winner, South Korea‘s Song Bo-bae, told media at the time: “The greens were much slower than the ones in South Korea, which made it quite challenging.”

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