The new star billing is Mark J. Woodward, the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America ‘s seventh chief executive. He joined the association’s staff in April 2008 after serving as golf operations manager for the city of San Diego.
"We are absolutely delighted to have Mark as one of our key speakers and his presence will help us in our on-going drive to elevate the stature of golf course superintendents in Asia," declared Mike Sebastian, managing director of Asia Pacific Golf Conferences, the owner and producer of the Summit.
Meanwhile, other major players from all areas of the golfing industry are preparing to converge on the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur for the fourth edition of the Asia Pacific Golf Summit. With the 2009 Asia Pacific Golf Summit just weeks away, the groundswell of support for this major global golf business conference is picking up a head of steam.
The main crowd-puller is the presence of the golfing legends Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Peter Thomson. They will be among 50 world-class speakers and panellists, as the Summit promises to be a truly unique experience for anyone who is involved with the golf industry in the Asia Pacific region.
“To be able to listen to these greats in one conference is a treat not to be missed – perhaps something that has never been done before or ever will be achieved again,” said Georgina Wong, executive director of Asia Pacific Golf Development Conferences Pte Ltd, the owner and producer of the Summit.
The 2009 Asia Pacific Golf Summit will be staged at the world class, purpose-built Putrajaya International Convention Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from October 26-28.
“We are extremely pleased with the way the programme for this year’s Summit has developed, especially given the tight economic constraints that we have all been forced to work with. This is solid testimony to the resilience of the golf industry in the region,” Sebastian explained.
“It is an acknowledged fact that the global golf industry is under extreme duress as a result of the global economic meltdown and this is evidenced by golf courses shutting down, reduced rounds played and depressed earnings for all the major brand names in the industry.
“While the industry is being hammered in North America and Europe, it is heartening to know that Asia is showing very healthy signs, albeit at a reduced rate. While golf courses are going bankrupt or being placed on the auction block in North America, new courses are being built at a frenetic pace in China, South Korea, Vietnam and India.”
According to Sebastian: “It is just not the construction of new courses – we are also seeing tremendous activity in golf course renovation work, especially in Southeast Asia. The region is crawling with executives and salesmen lugging their briefcases from country to country trying to sell their wares to golf course owners and this is due primarily to the fact that traditional Western markets for golf have just dried up.”
The golf spotlight on Asia has therefore placed a special emphasis and level of importance to the Asia Pacific Golf Summit. This year’s programme will devote time for industry experts to analyse the state of golf development on a country-by-country basis covering the entire geographic spread of the region.
“Panels have been set up to look at North Asia, China, Southeast Asia, India and Australia with a view to determining the challenges and opportunities open to the golf industry in these growing markets,” Sebastian said.
For practicing professionals in the industry like club managers, golfing managers and golf course superintendents, there will be presentations and panel sessions that will examine new operational trends and explore how these best practices can be effectively implemented in the region.
The newly formed Asian Golf Industry Federation (AGIF) will be playing a key role in this year’s Summit. Its president, Wong Khen Jee, said: “The Summit is an excellent opportunity for us to help the golf industry and in this regard we will be staging two workshops – one for club managers and the other for golf course superintendents.”
The club management workshop will be held on 29 October. It will be a full day workshop led by Denise Adams, senior vice president of Kitson and Partners and a vice president of AGIF, who said: “We have assembled a top-team of international experts who will cover various operational aspects of club management, ranging from membership marketing and retention to delivering on a quality club experience.”
For golf course superintendents, the AGIF will be organising a half-day workshop on 27 October that will lay emphasis on water management and irrigation, turf maintenance and diagnostic services.
Details for both the workshops can be viewed on the AGIF website at www.agif.asia
Besides the Summit, there will be a trade exhibition open only to delegates attending the Summit. Georgina Wong said: “We have some 40 booths booked and among the exhibitors will be golf course equipment suppliers, architects, consultants and builders. In fact, it will be a showcase for any prospective golf course developer who wants to meet up with top professionals in the business.”
Asia Pacific Golf Summit www.golfconference.org