Emerging markets still hold promise, KPMG speakers say

Despite the worldwide recession, there are still regions around the globe that offer “enormous opportunities” for golf development, attendees were told last week at the annual KPMG Golf Business Forum in Wales
Andrea Sartori, head of KPMG’s Golf Advisory Practice in Europe, Middle East and Africa, said that emerging markets in China, India, Eastern Europe and South America should rebound strongly when the economic cycle begins an upswing.
He said, however, that raising financial backing for golf resort and community development remains the biggest challenge for developers.
“When financial institutions start to inject liquidity into the markets again, we will see the industry pick up,” he said. “But the lack of liquidity and confidence are the two key factors in current conditions.”
More than 275 industry professionals from around the world attended the three-day conference held at the Celtic Manor Resort, the site of the 2010 Ryder Cup.
Golf legend Arnold Palmer was honored with the KPMG Lifetime Achievement Award during the event.
Palmer said he remains optimistic about the future of the golf industry.
“I was born during the Great Depression and I’ve lived through economic recessions,” he said. “We will come out of this one having learned from the experience – and we’ll be stronger.”
Among the other speakers was Joe Beditz, chief executive officer of the National Golf Foundation in the U.S., who said the current economic climate offers a phenomenal buying opportunity for investors. He said some properties are available for up to 25 percent less than the original developer investment.
He also said that NGF research had indicated that 400 private courses in the U.S. had changed status to allow public play.
“It makes sense when you consider that this is a more attractive option than having to close down the whole operation due to a reduction in private numbers,” Beditz said. 


Assuming that emerging golf markets will return to status-quo, is the folly of working under a false premise. The current world reccession suggests that the standard golf initiative of our fathers, will have a hard time fitting into new world lifestyles and a foreseeable constrained economy. Investing in an out-of-date market with diminishing appeal is a risky investment for the sustainable future.

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