The beautiful city of Warsaw hosted the inaugural Golf Investment and Development Conference in late September. Golf Properties Poland, the event organisers, brought together some seventy golf development specialists and investors to discuss the challenges and prospects for golf in Central Europe.
Speakers included the Polish Golf Union, the local employers’ organisation, golf course designers including Mike Hurdzan, Roger Jones and Howard Swan, as well as global development experts in the guise of David Spencer of the Spice Group. KPMG’s Budapest based Golf Advisory Group presented their analysis of the Central European market, with Terry Coates of CECTA discussing the tourism potential for Poland and its neighbours.
The delegates, largely drawn from Poland’s main development centres but also including representatives from Hungary, Albania and the Czech Republic, took part in discussions on the nature of successful developments in the current climate.
Experiences were shared openly and much of the discussion centred on the lessons learnt from an early fascination with high end celebrity backed projects, and an appreciation that success required a more pragmatic approach to financing, planning, budgeting, design and management given the current economic climate.
Also on the agenda was the need for better understanding of golf and golf development within the relevant authorities, particularly Government, to help remove the game’s exclusive and elitist image. This theme ran alongside the vision set out by the Polish Golf Union to develop more public golf courses throughout the country, making use of Government land and providing facilities through public-private partnerships. It is hoped that, through these measures, golf can once again move forward in markets which are currently well short of maturation.
The event organisers are now planning a second conference for September 2010 with a view to inviting a wider audience from Central and Eastern Europe.
“The Golf Investment and Development Conference in Warsaw was an educational few days, especially for those who are in the planning phases of developing golf courses in Poland,“ said KPMG Senior Advisor, Dora Bolgar Hayes. “It was also a good opportunity to meet some new people and reconnect with old friends. It was certainly a worthwhile conference for KPMG Golf Advisory to support.”
“CECTA was privileged to have the opportunity to speak at this conference and enthuse the delegates from across the world of the opportunities that the growth of golf courses in Poland have for tourism,” said Terry Coates, chairman Central European Countries Travel Association. “Poland has gone from strength to strength in the development of golfing facilities and now has a very strong and active golfing industry now well prepared to take centre stage in golf tourism.”
The Golf Investment and Development Conference in 2010 will be held between 20th and 22nd September and will be devoted to the development of golf resorts in the Central and Eastern Europe.
Golf Investment and Development Conference www.golfpropertiesconference.com