Organisers, sponsors and delegates joined in hailing the ground-breaking, three-day gathering that brought together a diverse cross-sectional grouping of experts from all sectors of the golf industry.
Organised by Asia Pacific Golf Development Conferences Pte Ltd, the summit, staged at Singapore’s Meritus Mandarin Hotel, attracted more than 160 delegates representing no fewer than 20 countries.
Tommy Lee, chairman of the Asia Pacific Golf Confederation’s Executive Committee, said, “Like any growth industry, we have our fair share of challenges and problems and these matters were addressed with a view to providing the industry with a solution-based roadmap.”
Robert Trent Jones Jnr, one of the world’s best-known course architects and a keynote speaker at the summit, said, “I take my hat off to those behind the summit. It was wonderfully organised and there was a tremendous array of high quality speakers.”
Louis Martin, regional manager Asia for International Sports Management and the Ernie Els Group, said, “This type of gathering is exactly what the Asian golf industry requires. The three days have been both informative and provocative. I believe this summit will go from strength to strength.”
In his host nation welcome address, Dr Ong Leong Boon, president of the Singapore Golf Association, said, “I’m delighted that Asia Pacific Golf Development Conferences has taken the initiative to produce a summit of this nature and I thank them for their outstanding effort.
“Given the growth of golf in Asia, this summit could not have come at a better time and I hope that with the support of all of us involved in the promotion of golf, this summit will grow and become an annual landmark event on the Asian golf calendar.”
Under the banner ‘The Definitive Road To Sustainable Golf Course Management In The New Century’, the summit laid special emphasis on three specific drivers of the industry.
The first phase of the programme on day one brought into focus current trends in golf course development and business and management best practices.
More than a dozen specially commissioned presentations were delivered by international experts with the tone being set by Trent Jones Jr, IMG International vice president Patrick Bowers, Thai Country Club general manager Jean-Pierre Schneider, Greg Norman Golf Course Design architect Harley Kruse and the vice chairman of China’s Mission Hills Golf Club, Ken Chu.
The second focus area related to golf course sustainability. This topic received a thorough examination by a high-powered panel of speakers assembled by The R&A, golf’s world rules and development body.
Steve Isaac, the R&A’s assistant director for Golf Development, said, “Our team of experts, drawn from all over the world, spent a whole day on the vital subject of sustainability of golf courses in the Asia Pacific region. We addressed burning issues relating to proper turf maintenance, use of fertilisers and pesticides and keeping golf courses in a pristine state at all points in time.”
The final focus point was directed at golf course accessibility and playability. The keynote speakers for this segment were golf course architect, Ron Fream of Golfplan Inc, IMG’s assistant general manager and director of operations John Blanch and Louis Martin.
Said Fream, “With the huge interest in golf and the teeming thousands who are taking up the game, Asia needs to open up its golf courses and make the game more accessible and playable.”
Echoing the sentiments of many of the earlier speakers, Fream said there is a dire need for a mindset change to bring about a shift from ‘closed-doors’ private clubs to more public courses to promote and accommodate a larger golf population in the region.
“We need growth to sustain the game in the region … and that growth can only be realised if we throw open the doors to golf in Asia,” he said.
Among the partners of the summit were Asian Golf Monthly, CNBC, Golfweek, Club Car and Wilson Staff with support from Tiger Beer, Johnnie Walker and Faldo Wines
Asian Golf Monthly www.asiangolfmonthly.com