500 new golf facilities in the next 15 years – the ambitious programme declared last year by the new president of the Russian Golf Association – looks much more realistic than a year ago
The Golf Expo 2004 was held at the Moscow Radisson SAS Slavyanskaya Hotel. This, the first ever golfing expo in Russia (previously there were only a couple of small presentations but limited exclusively to golf tourism), brought together over 30 exhibitors representing Russian, US, British, Swedish and Italian companies. Finexpo organized the event, under the official auspices of the Russian Golf Association.
According to the Russia’s federal law, Russian Golf Association is the official governing body for all golf in Russia, both amateur and professional, including mini golf and pitch-&-putt. The Association’s participation gave the Expo credibility and attracted the audience that the exhibitors most wanted: professionals in the real estate business, trading companies, investment groups and representatives from regional business groups.
Russia has only one 18-hole course and one 9-hole course. At the same time, the ambitious programme declared last year by the new president of the Russian Golf Association – 500 new golf facilities in the next 15 years – today looks much more realistic than a year ago.
The conference attracted visitors from 12 regions of Russia. Speakers from Sweden, Great Britain, Holland, US and Russia spoke on subjects varying from what it takes to build a complete golf course to how you can use golf to promote your business and what are the modern trends in golf design.
In his opening speech association president Kozhevnikov said that an estimated $107m was spent in Russia for golf in 2003, which is a considerable sum. However, it seems small when comparing it with the projected $20 billion in the coming 15 years.
About 20 new projects are already being realized and dozens more are discussed all over the country. Thus the typical visitor to the Golf Expo was not the golf pro or salesman but rather someone who is looking at the totally new world of opportunities that golf brings to Russia. Out of estimated 2,500 visitors about two-thirds were professional business people.
Exhibitors were local dealers for brand manes like Titleist, Callaway, Ransomes Jacobsen, golf architects; producers of exclusive clothing and shoes; golf art dealers; landscapers; golf travel agencies.
Ransomes Jacobsen was the sole turf equipment manufacturer. Scott Forrest, Northern European sales manager commented, “We were very surprised to be the only turf equipment manufacturer at the Expo, because the quality of the delegates was first class. There were golf course developers, operators, managers as well as government representatives and delegates from the Russian golf federation.
“Our distributor for the region, Agro-UM, took a trade stand and we also had the opportunity to present a 40 minute ‘master class‘ on golf course maintenance and equipment to the delegates.
“The Expo was particularly opportune for us as we are negotiating a significant golf package for a major new development in Russia and this involvement certainly established our credibility. The potential in this region is huge and it is predicted that in 15 years they will have around 500 courses. Although, this may be slightly optimistic, there will still be the requirement for a broad range of equipment and at Ransomes Jacobsen we have the product range and distribution in place to capitalise on this growth area.”
Russian Golf Association firstname.lastname@example.org
Ransomes Jacobsen www.ransomesjacobsen.com