Singapore: Asian Golf Industry Federation (AGIF) Board member Henrik Friis has appealed to senior golfing figures around the region to assume a more active role in shaping the development of the industry in Asia.
Speaking in the latest in a series of AGIF podcasts with leading lights from the industry that are being broadcast at www.agif.asia, Friis said: “We need more active participation from industry leaders in each country. There are plenty of good people out there with a lot of knowledge and a lot of experience. We’d like to get them on board at the AGIF to share information and to help us bring up education levels.
“We’re working on this to set up an advisory committee across Asia so we can enhance what we’re doing in the local communities as well as getting feedback as to what we can do better.
“It takes two to dance. The more the local clubs and their management, superintendents and mechanics participate, the more we can build this together. If that happens, we’ll be successful and that will result in a very successful industry going forward.”
Friis said the AGIF has developed considerably since its inauguration 10 years ago, when Wong Khen Jee, his predecessor as Regional Director, Turf & Irrigation at Jebsen & Jessen (J&J) Technology, acted as the Federation’s first President.
He said: “The Federation is quite unique in that we have Board members who are both suppliers and from club management. So, we get a good balance of participation on which way the AGIF is heading. We’re trying to serve the industry as a whole and trying to improve the industry.
“To that end, we’d like to see more Golf Course Facility members from across the region becoming involved. We’re working on that and have just launched a revised Facility Membership as well as developing an Individual Membership category, so we’re hopeful of bringing in more members. Without the clubs participating we won’t be able to develop at the speed we’d like to.”
Wearing his Jebsen & Jessen hat, Friis said being an active member of the AGIF is a way of giving back for all companies within the golf industry.
Friis, who hails from Denmark but has spent the past 28 years in Asia, said: “We are a member of the AGIF because we believe we have to pay back to the community and the society where we earn our living. We like to give back and contribute, not just to the AGIF but also to other organisations, communities and charities.
“It’s not only J&J who sees a benefit from this. Our partners in the industry also see where their fees and membership dues are going. For us it’s important because we know that the AGIF is using the funding for education operations which build the industry where we make our money – not only alone, but in partnership with national turfgrass and club management associations.
“Nobody can do everything by themselves, which is reflected in the J&J Group’s heritage and values, as well as probably my Danish upbringing. In Denmark we have a lot of societies and associations and it’s all based on joint effort and volunteers. We also believe that when you join forces with clubs, partners and competitors, you have more resources together. That improves the market we all operate in.”
Friis cited the AGIF’s initiative in launching the Certificate in Greenkeeping (CIG) as a case in point.
He said: “The CIG was an important milestone for the AGIF and has been a wonderful success story. It’s supported by The R&A as well as some of our partners and competitors and is a great example of how together we can contribute to the benefit of the industry.
“The CIG gives a good professional indication to golf course superintendents. It boosts their confidence and, more importantly, their credibility within their clubs that enables them to get more influence in purchasing decisions.”
Friis also highlighted the AGIF’s association with the Club Management Association of America, which enables general managers to attain their Certified Club Managers (CCM) degree, widely regarded as the gold standard in club management globally.
“General managers are very important to us and all companies in the industry because they’re influential on the purchasing of products – from J&J as well as our competitors. As they attain CCM status via the AGIF, their credibility to influence decision-making with committees and ownership at their clubs is vital.
“With superintendents and general managers, the work that the AGIF is doing is crucial.”
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