Global Edition

Bangkok Braced For Golfing Bonanza

12.32am 9th March 2010 - Exhibitions & Conferences - This story was updated on Sunday, April 11th, 2010

Mike Sebastian

Asia’s emergence as a major golfing force will be underlined next month with the launch of the Southeast Asia/India Golf Merchandise Exposition and the PGA Conference of Asia.

While the Expo fills the void for a much-needed golf equipment and merchandise show for the region, the PGA Conference is dedicated to the golf teaching and playing professional.

The Bangkok Convention Centre, located in the five-star Centara Grand CentralWorld complex, will stage the events from 30 April to 2 May.

Both events – along with October’s Asia Pacific Golf Summit – are endorsed and supported by the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT), Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau, Thai Golf Course Association and the PGA of Thailand.

Mike Sebastian, managing director of Asia Pacific Golf Development Conferences (APGDC) Pte Ltd, the owner and producer of the events, said: “The fact that Thailand Inc is solidly behind us is clear proof that the golf-crazy nation has embraced these events as part of its drive to transform the nation into the golfing hub of Asia.”

Sethapon Chindanon, the TAT’s executive director, said: “Both these events, together with the Asia Pacific Golf Summit, are the sort of events that Thailand is supportive of and these are the type of events that will help us showcase our leadership position in all things related to golf.”

His sentiments were echoed by Kanoukphand Chulakasem, governor of the SAT. He said: “We see all of these major international golf events as a tangible materialisation of everything we have been trying to do to promote and develop Thailand as the golfing hub of Asia and we are glad that Bangkok will be playing host to all of these events from hereon.”

The absolute guaranteed floor area committed for the Expo now stands at over 2,600 square metres. This is sufficient space to accommodate 140 standard-sized exhibition booths. Organisers are predicting the Expo will attract 30,000 qualified visitors and will grow into Asia’s equivalent of the PGA Golf Merchandise Show in Orlando, the industry’s largest annual global gathering.

Georgina Wong, executive director of APGDC, said: “Our mission in launching the Southeast Asia/India Golf Merchandise Expo is to provide an annual platform for the golf equipment, apparel and accessories industry to showcase their produce to both consumers and trade in the region.

“As it now stands, Southeast Asia is the only region in the world that does not have its own golf exhibition. China, Japan and South Korea have their own shows and it is about time that this region has its very own show, headquartered in Thailand.

“Golf is a multi-billion dollar industry in Asia – currently estimated to be worth well over US$15 billion annually and growing. It also employs more than 300,000 people in the industry pan-Asia-wide. With a rapidly growing golfing population of four to five million golfers in this region this is a huge market that needs everything from golf clubs to golf balls, apparel, golf accessories and everything else in between.

“The inaugural Merchandise Expo will finally give golfers, distributors and dealers direct access to the knowledge and understanding of technology that will help them make the right purchase decisions.”

India-based Rishi Narain, a leading former pro golfer, said excitement was building in the world’s second most populous country. He said: “Indian golf fans are going to be delighted at the prospect of attending this event as it is a triple-barrelled attraction whereby they get to see and buy the latest golf equipment and accessories, play golf at some of the finest golf courses in the world and enjoy the charm and hospitality of Thailand.”

Meanwhile, the inaugural PGA Conference of Asia, which is being organised to address the needs of Asia’s golf instructors, will feature some 20 world-class speakers.

Kyi Hla Han, executive chairman of the Asian Tour, will deliver the keynote address. He said: “I view this conference as a development along the right path. If we are to stay sharp, especially in the professional game, we need to invest in our golf coaches. There is no short cut to success. Quality coaches mean quality players. Regardless of whether we are to develop amateurs, club players, juniors or professionals – we need good golf coaches.”

Among the top coaches confirmed for the conference are Dr Paul Hurrion, putting coach to Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy, Brian Moog, the man who coached Korean giant-killer Yang Yong-eun to victory in last year’s US PGA Championship, and Tim Mahoney, Director of Golf Education, Troon Golf, who is ranked among the top-50 golf coaches in America.

Sebastian said: “The golf coach is a very vital link in the whole process to try and upgrade the standard of golf in Asia and we felt that the time was right to bring in some of the best brains in the business to motivate and inspire our coaches over a two-day seminar.”

Boonchu Ruangkit, president of the PGA of Thailand, which is playing host to the conference, said: “We are extremely proud that Bangkok has been selected to stage this very important event. We know that all golf coaches interested in improving their teaching standards will endeavour to attend this conference.”

To complete a memorable hat-trick of world-class events for Thailand in 2010, the widely acclaimed Asia Pacific Golf Summit (APGS) will be staged in Bangkok from 18-20 October. The fourth staging of the Summit will feature Greg Norman and Annika Sorenstam as keynote speakers and is expected to attract more than 1,000 high-powered delegates from around the world.

Asia Pacific Golf Summit

Southeast Asia/India Golf Merchandise Exposition

PGA Conference of Asia

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