More new golf courses are currently in planning than at any time in the history of golf, and the number of golf courses outside of the United States and United Kingdom are expected to double in approximately 15 years, So says Golf Inc. magazine at its semi-annual conference for leaders in the U.S. golf industry on September 26. As many as 1,000 courses will open each year before the end of this decade, the magazine announced.
“Research shows that the number of golf courses currently in planning is at an all-time high,” said Jack Crittenden, group publisher for Golf Inc., the leading trade magazine for golf course owners and developers in the United States and hosts of the Golf Inc. Conference at Amelia Island, Florida.. “Even countries like India, Vietnam, and Russia currently have two to three times the number of courses in planning as they currently have open.”
Golf Inc. magazine is launching a new magazine in November to keep abreast of the growing international market. The new title – Golf Development World – will be a digital magazine. The premiere issue will include a feature on the hottest areas for golf course development and an interview with Jack Nicklaus, who spoke at the conference.
“We are seeing golf in emerging markets like Russia, Croatia, Greece, Argentina and Chile,” said Nicklaus. “To see the game grow in these places where there hasn’t been golf is exciting and I enjoy [being part of] that as much as anything.”
Nicklaus is the world’s most active golf course architect with current projects in 35 countries. He was joined at the conference by leaders from Marriott Golf, Troon Golf, Gary Player Design and Rain Bird, all of which have a strong international presence.
Asia and Europe are the hottest markets for new courses, with most developments part of high-end resorts. Most new European projects are in the Mediterranean. China is projected to see as many as 1,000 golf courses open over the next ten years, far exceeding its current number. Even Russia currently has 60 projects in planning.
For its November article, (to be released Nov. 15) Golf Inc. analyzed more than 500 projects currently in planning to determine the hottest growth regions, the type of projects and who was developing the courses.
Baby boomers from the U.S., U.K., Australia and Japan are driving most of the golf course development activity. Research by the United Kingdom’s Office for National Statistics show most Britons who buy second homes overseas are 50-plus and male – a near identical demographic to the majority of golfers. The same is true for Americans and Australians.
These core golfers are looking for vacation destinations, second-homes and retirement homes in warmer climates. Countries like Mexico, Greece, and Vietnam hope to attract more of these wealthy tourists and investors.
“Golf is entering what could be its greatest period of growth.” Crittenden said. “It is a unique opportunity to expand the game beyond its traditional borders, and most industry leaders understand that this is not just about building resorts for Americans and Britons.”
Golf Inc. has secured partnerships with KPMG’s golf practice in Hungary, Golfex Dubai, the PGA Show, American Society of Golf Course Architects, INVGolf in Athens, Asian Golf Monthly in Singapore, and other leading associations and conferences across the globe.
Golf Development World will premiere in November, and be published every other month. The magazine chose to publish in a digital format, using technology by NxtBook Media, after research showed a high percent of developers have internet access and were open to reading content digitally.
“This is a magazine that could not have been published just two years ago, “ Crittenden said. “The recent advances in digital magazines and the internet have made this possible.”
The magazine’s website – www.golfdevelopmentworld.com – went live on 25th September. Developers and other interested readers can request a free trial subscription at the website. Crittenden said he expects 4,500 readers in the first year.
Golf Inc. magazine was founded in 1991 as Golf Development. It expanded its coverage and changed its name in 1993. It has held a semi-annual educational and networking conference since 1987. More than 500 industry leaders attend the conference. The next conference will be held at Barton Creek in Austin, Texas in mid-March. That conference will have a strong international focus.