Global Edition

High-tech golf coaching company heads for market

11.00am 23rd November 2000 - Corporate

Golf Projects plc is planning to raise £1 million through an open offer on OFEX, valuing the company at £3.2 million. The money raised will be used to fund expansion of a number of high-tech golf products and services.

Golf Projects provides all aspects of game improvement from high-tech teaching and analysis equipment to the operation of golf teaching academies at prestigious locations. Amongst its many assets is the quality of its customer base, which contains many of the best known names in European golf including St Andrews, Turnberry, La Manga, Marriott Hotels, Nicklaus Golf Academies and David Leadbetter Golf Academies.

The Company was formed in 1996 to manufacturer and distribute hi-tech golf coaching and analysis systems, including Digital Video Coaching Systems. One of its earliest Digital Video customers was the David Leadbetter Golf Academy group, a company owned by Mark McCormack’s International Management Group (IMG). IMG is the largest sports and entertainment management company in the world whose clients include Tiger Woods and Colin Montgomerie. The relationship with IMG developed rapidly and Golf Projects was invited to take an active role in the development of David Leadbetter Golf Academies.

In March 1999 Golf Projects Academies was formed and obtained the rights to operate and manage the new Teaching Academy and DLGA European Headquarters at the East Sussex National Golf Club. Further expansion followed with the opening of a David Leadbetter Golf Academy in Lugano, Switzerland, and Watford, England, and another scheduled to be operated by Golf Projects Academies shortly. Heads of Agreement have also been signed with Dale Hill Golf Club for Golf Projects Academies to manage the teaching and retail facilities at the club.

The relationship with IMG has led to a three year endorsement agreement with Ian Woosnam, negotiated at nil cost to Golf Projects, for the Digital Video Coaching System.

Golf Projects’ development strategy includes the expansion of its range of products and services through partnerships and distribution agreements with technology companies. This will allow it to exploit the new rapidly expanding media of the Internet and wire free communications. It is planned for AGM’s to be held on a variety of golf courses where new products can be demonstrated to shareholders.

Golf Projects management team includes Managing Director Ben Porter (38), who started as a golf professional, then taught in Switzerland prior to founding the company. Academies Operation Director Philip Lewin (31) began his golf career at Walton Heath in 1987 and from 1997 was Director of Golf at the East Sussex National. Michael Pay (31) is Finance Director, and the non-executives are Sidney Richardson (56), founder of Richardson Hosken insurance, brokers to the Rolls Royce Enthusiasts Club; and Andrew Wolfson (31) who operates the Windmill Hill tennis and golf resort. Gareth Jones (42), the group sales and distribution director of Orange PCS, has been assisting Golf Projects on the strategic direction of sales and marketing for the Group’s future product range. Gareth intends to join the Board as a non-executive director in early 2001.

Ruegg & Co are advisors to the offer and up to 5 million shares are being offered at 20p per share. Qualifying shareholders will benefit from priority application and the minimum subscription is for 7,500 new shares, and thereafter multiples of 1,000.

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