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Golfzon founder Kim Young-chan was chosen as one of the 30 most powerful people in golf by the authoritative U.S. magazine Golf Inc., a first for a Korean.

Golfzon said Thursday that the quarterly ranked Kim, Golfzon Yuwon Holdings chairman, in the 28th spot in its annual evaluation of people in golf. Golfzon is a leader in indoor golf simulators.

“The company has more than 25,000 simulators at 5,500 sites in 43 countries. It owns many facilities in Korea where golfers and golf enthusiasts congregate after work to network and have fun,” Golf Inc. said.

“It is estimated that 130,000 South Koreans play on a Golfzon simulator each day. The company entered into an agreement with the LPGA as the tour’s official golf simulator provider. It now hopes to tackle the U.S. market with superior technology and a game plan that can help new golfers develop their game.”

The periodical also said that Golfzon Yuwon owns five golf courses and manages 11.

Troon Golf CEO Dana Garmany topped the podium through nudging defending leader Eric Affeldt, CEO of Clubcorp, to second place. Legendary player Jack Nicklaus placed third.

A vast majority of the top 30 figures are from the United States and only five spots were filled by Asians including Kim.

Of note is that U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump is on the list at 17th place, down six slots compared to last year.

Since its start in 2000, Golfzon Yuwon’s flagship unit has created a fervor among golf enthusiasts here so that the overall market size has reached 1.5 trillion won ($1.3 billion) with more than 10 brands engaged in a stiff rivalry.

On the back of such success, the company has made forays into a variety of businesses such as the operation of golf courses, sales of golf accessories and creating simulators for baseball.

By Kim Tae-gyu

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