‘Let them play golf,’ Pyongyang says

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‘Let them play golf,’ Pyongyang says

North Korea’s official Korea Central Television Sunday aired a program promoting golf as a recommended sport for the first time in the impoverished state. Filmed at a miniature golf course at the Rungna People’s Pleasure Ground in Pyongyang, the program, which aired on Sunday, featured a guide describing how to play the game for about ten minutes.

“First of all, to play golf you need a club and a ball,” the unnamed expert said. “You need to learn how to hold the club first.”

In terms of putting tips, the guide said, “You should aim your putter’s T-shaped head at the center of the ball. If you graze the ball by mistake, it is not regarded as a stroke.”

Describing the general rules of golf, the guide said, “Golf normally starts from the first hole and ends at the 18th hole. Although it is a rule to start from the first hole, you can start from the ninth hole and proceed to the 18th hole, and then resume the game at the first to continue until the ninth.”

A young couple who said they lived in Pyongyang appeared on the program and said that “the game was much different” than their expectations and that “the ball seemed to easily enter the hole.”

The miniature golf course was visited by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his wife Ri Sol-ju when they attended the opening ceremony of the amusement park in July 2012, KCTV reported at the time.

“Although that golf course is only for putting, the state media’s report on the golf lesson is actually drawing our attention,” a Unification Ministry official said.

BY LEE YOUNG-JONG [heejin@joongang.co.kr]

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