While some argue golf originates from the Orient, Mongolia is one country currently lacking in facilities for the game, a situation the government and golfing bodies plans to rectify.
The government and the Mongolian Golf Association recently invited Swan Golf Designs’ principal architect, Howard Swan, to visit and assess the country’s existing provision of courses in order to advise how they can develop and grow the game.
Swan was seen as the ideal candidate because of his previous work pioneering golf in far-flung destinations – he was responsible for the first modern course in Croatia and China’s first public course – and his tireless work in promoting golf to new audiences.
He is enthusiastic about what lies ahead, and said: “I have worked in some remote and distant parts of the world but Mongolia might just rank as the most. However, the great enthusiasm of those who see the chance to introduce the game and expand it will make it an exciting time for all of us.
“The family, sport and nature all play a big part in the lives of the Mongolian people so golf, as a game which can combine all three, has big potential to grow in the country and if I can help in my little way I am privileged to do so.”
Following the visit Swan will set out a strategy for the golf association along with the UB hotel, television and newspaper group – which operates one of the courses – and resort developers the MCS Group to establish the game and expand it at its roots.
Plans are already underway for a festival of golf in the summer to coincide with the launch of FIRSTGOLFMONGOLIA, based on the FIRSTGOLF initiative founded by Swan and Gill Wilson, former deputy chief executive of the Ladies’ European Tour, which aims to make golf accessible, affordable and sustainable.
And the Mongolians are so impressed with his efforts so far that Swan has been awarded the position of honorary vice president of the Mongolian Golf Association to recognise his work.
Swan added, “It is truly an honour to be given such a position with the Mongolian Golf Association and I am already looking forward to my next trip in August. I am hoping to seek the support of the R&A in the initiative together with the companies which already support FIRSTGOLF elsewhere in the world.”