Moon Young-mi (69), a comedian whom I recently met at a park golf course in Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul, vigorously swung a club. The ball, which rolled 30m with a cheerful sound, was sucked into the hole. Moon held an uppercut ceremony with his acquaintances. He said, “I fell in love with park golf these days. I don’t even know if the weather is cold,” he laughed.
Moon is three months into park golf. Diagnosed with degenerative arthritis a few years ago, he recently underwent hip surgery. He started playing park golf at the doctor’s recommendation to do some light exercise. He had no objection because it was similar to the golf he had enjoyed for nearly 40 years. Mr. Moon said, “Golf requires a long time to move and a lot of walking. Park golf is not burdensome. He walks on Mokomoko grass for an hour or two and talks with his friends. It is the best sport for the elderly,” he said.
However, Mr. Moon said, “I have a lot of worries these days.” This is because there are many obstacles to overcome in order to enjoy park golf steadily. In Yeongdeungpo-gu alone, more than 1,000 elderly people enjoy park golf, but the facilities are sorely lacking. Mr. Moon said, “Every time I book, the competition rate is enormous. If you fail to make a reservation, you have no choice but to give up and turn around.” The number of elderly people who enjoy playing park golf is increasing, and I hope that an environment where they can enjoy it comfortably is prepared.”
By 2025, the proportion of the population aged 65 or older is expected to exceed 20%. We are on the verge of entering a super-aged society. However, the rate of participation in physical activity (more than once a week, more than 30 minutes per exercise) of the elderly in their 50s and older is at a standstill. According to 메이저사이트 the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, 48% of those in their 50s, 51.8% of those in their 60s, and 53.4% of those in their 70s or older participated in sports last year. Compared to 2018, it decreased by 2-5% across all age groups. The problem is poor infrastructure. According to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, as of 2021, there are 31,554 public sports facilities nationwide. Although it increased from 2016 (24,303 places), it is still a poor environment compared to developed countries. According to the Korea Park Golf Association, the number of park golfers in Korea surged from 64,000 last year to 92,000 this year. However, there are 326 park golf courses nationwide. In particular, Seoul, which has the largest population, has only 11 cities. Lee Yeong-woo, head of the Yeongdeungpo-gu Park Golf Association, said, “I hope that the conditions will be prepared so that anyone who wants to enjoy sports can participate.”