Corporations spent 1.9 trillion won ($1.3 billion) at golf clubs across the country last year, according to a study on company credit card spending released Thursday by the Golf Consumer Agency of Korea.
The study, which was conducted based on data provided by Rep. Yun Chang-hyun’s office, revealed that 27.5 percent of all golf course sales in 2021, or 1.9 trillion won out of 6.9 trillion won, came from company credit cards.
The proportion of company card payments among golf course sales had maintained above 30 percent since 2011. It decreased to 26 percent in 2018 when “The Improper Solicitation and Graft Act,” the so-called Kim Young-ran bill, was put into effect. However, it soon bounced back to 27 percent in 2020.
The portion of corporate card payments at golf clubs suggests that the sport still is perceived as a part of doing business in Korea. The high cost of playing golf has also been a hurdle in making it a popular sport among the general public. According to a study done by Gallup Korea in April, 36 percent of Koreans still thought golf was a luxury sport.
The pro-consumer agency urged the authorities to reduce the cap on covering golf-related spending as corporate expenses to encourage companies to cut spending at golf clubs.
“If the National Tax Service decreases the cap in which it recognizes golf-related spendings as corporate expenses, people who play golf as part of business receptions will decrease, eventually cutting green fees and alleviating overbookings on weekends,” said Seo Chun-bum, head of the Golf Consumer Agency.