Asia

China swings back at golf, shutting down 111 courses

In this Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016 photo, Japan's Hideki Matsuyama hits the ball from the fairway of the 18th hole during the 2016 WGC-HSBC Champions golf tournament at the Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai, China. China's state-run Xinhua News Agency said Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017 that the country has launched a renewed crackdown on golf, closing 111 courses in an effort to conserve water and land, and telling members of the ruling Communist Party to stay off the links. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

In this Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016 photo, Japan's Hideki Matsuyama hits the ball from the fairway of the 18th hole during the 2016 WGC-HSBC Champions golf tournament at the Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai, China. China's state-run Xinhua News Agency said Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017 that the country has launched a renewed crackdown on golf, closing 111 courses in an effort to conserve water and land, and telling members of the ruling Communist Party to stay off the links. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)  (The Associated Press)

China has launched a renewed crackdown on golf, closing 111 courses and telling members of the ruling Communist Party to stay off the links in an effort to conserve water and land.

The state-run Xinhua News Agency said Sunday the courses were closed for improperly using groundwater, arable land or land in nature reserves. It said authorities have imposed restrictions on 65 more courses.

China banned the development of new golf courses in 2004, when it had fewer than 200. The ban was meant to conserve farmland and water supplies. But the number in operation has more than tripled since.

Developers build courses under the guise of parks or other projects, often with approval of local officials.

The party has fired local leaders for accepting free rounds.