Gurgaon, India: Representatives from more than 50 of India’s leading golf clubs joined golf coaches, course superintendents and a host of international delegates at the India Golf Expo 2016.
The two-day gathering was supported by Ministry of Tourism – Government of India, the Indian Golf Union (IGU) and Golf Course Superintendents & Managers Association of India (GCS&MAI),
Panel discussions ranged from golf tourism, sustainable development, best practices, resource management and branding of golf.
Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board made a strong pitch and sought help from various stakeholders to explore golf potential in the State, particularly in Orchha, Khajuraho and Sanchi where land parcels are available for golf course development.
“Madhya Pradesh is wooing foreign investors and the key will be development of social infrastructure including clubs, hotels and golf courses. The State is home to nine National Parks, five tiger reserves, 25 sanctuaries and three world heritage sites. We would like to put Madhya Pradesh on the golfing map,” said Tanvi Sundriyal, Additional Managing Director of Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation.
The Ministry of Tourism has suggested the creation of a better marketing network. Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, emphasised the need to package and market golfing facilities to an international audience using the Ministry’s overseas branch offices.
The Ministry of Tourism will develop a micro site on the Incredible India website that will feature the golf industry in India.
Among the speakers were Gregg Patterson [General Manager at The Beach Club, Los Angeles]; Iain Roberts [Group Executive Director, Mission Hills, China]; Anil Seolkar [President, IGU] and Cui Zhiqiang [former Secretary General, China Golf Association].
During his presentation, Patterson emphasised the need for clubs to create communities. He said: “The club leaders and club managers need to see what we’re selling a little differently. We may think we’re selling food and beverage, but what we’re really selling is the social encounter realised through the culinary experience.
“We may think we’re answering phones and providing information at the front desk, but what we’re really doing is extending the warm communal embrace to all who call or visit. We may be explaining rules and regulations to member children when we hold our 10-year-old orientation, but what we’re really doing is socialising the next generation of club members.
“Once we understand the business we’re really in – creating communities – club managers will change the programmes we provide, the emphasis we give to various events, the strategic directions we adopt and the selection criteria we use for the people we hire as managers and as board members to ‘sell’ the real club experience.”
Other speakers included brand expert Harish Bijoor, Sky 72’s Jim Prusa and Pacific Coast Design’s Phil Ryan.
DLF’s Gary Player-designed layout was awarded the best new 18-hole golf course by the Indian Golf Industry Association, promoters of the India Golf Expo 2016.