About 200 delegates attended this year’s Conference. A growing number of golf courses were represented, compared to last year’s conference in Amsterdam. This is demonstrating the significance of the event to a large number of participants.
The conference saw the launch of the UK Golf Course Owners Association (UKGCOA). The Association, which is open to all UK golf course owners and also has the backing of the English Golf Union (EGU), will represent the interests of golf course owners in a unified way, as well as organising national and regional conferences to develop the sport. It will be an integral part of the European Golf Course Owners Association, and will play an active role alongside other European golf course owners in pan-European initiatives and programmes.
Day 1 started off with a successful second edition of the EGCOA Multi-Course Owners Meeting, attended by 40 of the biggest operators in Europe. The MCO meeting was followed up by the opening reception of the conference.
Day 2 included a key note by James Cronk, golf business guru from Canada, and other speakers followed to discuss human capital, third party internet bookings and best practices to grow the game of golf. David spoke about the need for golf clubs to move away from traditional memberships towards more family friendly activities. Traditional courses are too expensive to maintain and too time consuming. There should be a move towards nine-hole courses which can be played in a shorter time.
On Day 3, Kelli Jerome of the Golf Environment Organization (GEO) and Peter Harradine, EIGCA Past President, presented a clear vision on sustainable golf business models. Marnix Von Bartheld of KPMG showed figures about the current state of the golf industry and how future changes will impact the business. Part two of this discussion was in the form of a panel debate with David Krause and Philip Spogard, EIGCA Associate Member, moderated by Gill Wilson. James Cronk closed proceedings with the second of his sessions, in which attendees were invited to raise the issues, which most impact them in today’s industry environment.
The Grow the Game website was also launched at the conference. It is an initiative of both the EGCOA and the NVG (Dutch Golf Course Owners Association), and is based on best practices and feed-back gathered from professional players, course owners and course operators from around the world. The findings of this research and the new dedicated website have been presented during the conference, along with examples of other recent successful initiatives.
Lodewijk Klootwijk, director of the EGCOA, said: “The success of the European Golf Business Conference in 2010 should be seen as a very positive sign of all the opportunities that lie ahead for the European golf industry. The success of the conference this year shows the continued need to share information and experiences amongst golf course owners. We are very thankful that our sponsors continue to support this important event for the golf course industry. Most importantly, we hope everybody was getting home safely and without too many delays due to the winter weather."
For more information and to read some of the presentations visit the conference website conference.egcoa.eu/home/