Intercultural engagement through golf – is this really possible ? As explained in the previous installments of this article, North Korea is not your usual destination. Charity in the traditional sense of the word is not something that the country identifies with. The official line is that the country is not needy, and that it is quite capable of looking after itself, thank you very much. The Juche ideology stands for self-reliance and self-determination, but creative minds can of course find ways to engage with the North Korean people and help make a difference to the path of peace that we try to clear. The proposed Golf tour to North Korea, which is to take place from June 10th to 14th, has for its primary purpose to build goodwill bridges that politics have not been able to construct. For the avid golf enthusiast, whether active or passive, the Pyongyang Golf Course is as elusive and as exclusive as a golf course can be. Very few have ever played on this course, yet its reviews are excellent. It is a course that challenges seasoned golfers and that bring out the best in both amateurs and professionals. The 5-day tour sees the participants play two or three rounds of practice golf, time permitting, and then we will head straight into the first ever DPRK Koryo Open Golf tournament. Imagine being one of the winners of this unique tournament – bragging rights guaranteed for life ! And whilst hitting a hole-in-one on most golf courses around the world means paying the exorbitantly priced drinks for everyone present, in Pyongyang the drinks are so inexpensive that you’ll actually enjoy footing the bill ! The proposed golf tour also sees the participants make a number of highly interesting and relevant excursions around the capital city of Pyongyang, and we will also take an overnight tour to Kaesong, the Demilitarized Zone and the Truce Village of Panmunjom, right on the border with South Korea, in order to get a better understanding of the issues currently affecting the divide between these two countries, and in order to sense the tension that lingers on this very last bastion of the Cold War. The DMZ must be experienced to be believed, and you will all agree with me that this scar, which runs right across the peninsula, should have no place in our 21st century world. Join us on what promises to be a ground-breaking, history-making and thought-provoking journey into the world’s most reclusive and exclusive nation. Details of this golf tour, which is open to all Rotarians, their families, friends and contacts, can be found at http://visitdprk.weebly.com/new–golf-tour-june-2014.html.

by Ronny