SHANGHAI, CHINA | For a moment, I had forgotten where I was. The firm fairways I was walking on this walking-only course felt very old world, what with all the mounding and movement. So did the blowout bunkers that rose left and right, and the sandy waste areas that stretched across parts of this site, which was utterly devoid of trees. The wind was up, which meant I needed to go up a couple of clubs if I wanted to reach the big and boldly contoured green roughly 150 yards away. It felt just like another round in the ancestral home of golf. But then I heard voices coming downwind from a nearby green.
“What language are they speaking?” I asked my looper, an eager young man from a nearby town whose uniform included an orange jumpsuit (which made me wonder if orange was the new white in caddie coveralls) and a white helmet with a glossy sheen.
“Mandarin,” he replied in halting English.
That made sense as I was actually ambling across Chongming, a sandy island formed by the currents of the Yangtze River just northeast of Shanghai...
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