Having attended two conferences over the past couple of weeks, it has been interesting gauging various reactions to the current trends. Some of the points of interest are as follows:
European Golf Course Owners Association, Berlin
– Traditional 7-day membership programmes are dying. People want more flexibility and wise operators are increasingly adopting membership structures similar to those in the health and leisure industries (ie no joining fees and monthly – as opposed to annual – fees).
– There is very little growth in the number of players.
– The national federations appear to be representing a decreasing minority of the golfers in Europe and have little, or no, success in attracting new people to the game which raises the question as to what they do with all of the revenue generated from the subscriptions.
– The slowing pace of play is killing participation.
– An increasing number of people are playing 9 holes rather than 18, to the point where some courses are now marketing themselves as having two 9 hole courses instead of an 18 hole course.
– Golf courses need to become mini-resorts with diverse leisure facilities catering for as wide a range of users as possible.
OPP Live, London
– Projects that are well located, well funded and well planned are moving ahead, despite the economic crisis.
– Developers with proven track records of delivering these type of projects are still able to source investment.
– Sales are slower than in recent years, but there is still interest for the right residential product(s).
– The economic situation is acting as an “idiot-filter” in that the speculative gambler attracted to property development by tales of easy money has disappeared from the marketplace, leaving only serious players, on all sides of the property development spectrum (investment, development, design and implementation).