Kim Jong Il’s golf feat an ‘urban myth’

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir December 20, 2011 10:36

Kim Jong Il’s golf feat an ‘urban myth’

A journalist who has visited North Korea’s only public golf course has said the story that former leader Kim Jong Il, who died at the weekend, hit anywhere between three and 11 holes-in-one during his one and only round at the club, is an “urban myth”.

Thousands of media outlets all over the world, including the Washington Post, the guardian and ABC News have stated that the ‘Dear Leader’ played the course in 1994, and 17 armed bodyguards testified that he scored 38 under par.

However, British journalist Richard Shears, who played at Pyongyang Golf Club this summer, asked officials about the story at the time.

“A few discreet inquiries among officials at the golf club revealed that it was nothing more than an urban myth,” he said. Although he added: “Not that any of them would dare to say so in public.”

Shears was one of 18 Western golfers who were granted a visa to play in a tournament arranged by British Lupine Travel agent Dylan Harris.

“The fairways were like light rough and extremely narrow,” he recalled. “By the end of the day, I had been left way down the field – in spite of the attempts by my caddy, Miss Nim, to suggest in her very limited English what club I should use on each hole.

“And as I missed each easy putt, she smiled sweetly and clapped politely.

“The setting might have been a British links in typical British weather, except that in the UK I would not be watched by two minders waiting to call me back should I stray too far looking for a lost ball.”

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir December 20, 2011 10:36
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