Golf Business Forum 2009, The Celtic Manor Resort, Wales
14 May 09

More than 275 golf industry professionals from around the world attended this year’s KPMG three days Golf Business Forum Conference, held at the Celtic Manor, Wales.


The conference focused on the theme “Navigating the Choppy Waters of the Economic Downturn”.


Peter Harradine was involved in the panel discussion reviewing the regional development of the Middle East. Together with Pankaj Khimji, from Malkai Golf and Country Club and Richard Browning from Riffa Views, Peter discussed the “usual” subjects: “Conflicts and compromises between Golf courses and Real Estate”, “Championship Golf Courses built to sell houses”, “Professional Signatories” and their impact regarding the golf course development in Dubai. “By producing so many “championship” golf courses, they forgot the regular, high handicap golfer who is actually paying our fees and is generating the highest income in the golf industry” said Peter during the conference. “The 9 hole golf course in Jebel Ali, Dubai is a perfect example of a stand-alone golf course that makes money despite the fact that it is not floodlit or surrounded by real estate”. Peter also mentioned however, that real estate projects are fortunately financing new courses and compromises must be reached so that the houses are not bombarded by golf balls. “We don’t mind houses on the course, we just want them to be safe”.


Peter also said that Dubai is still Dubai and although today’s crisis has affected the previous construction boom, it has also brought consolidation and a realistic future for sustainable investments.


The panelists agreed that the Dubai formula will have to be adjusted to suit golfer’s requirements, but the Middle East still remains the region for future golf development. They remained optimistic about the prospects for the golf business once a clear upswing in the economic cycle becomes visible.

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