Singapore: Capitalising on opportunities and restoring investor confidence are critical to the recovery of the golf industry in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Although Henrik Friis believes it could take many months for golf to regain its footing he retains an optimistic outlook.
“Despite the gloom and doom, there’s a positive trend going forward,” said the Regional Director, Turf & Irrigation, Jebsen & Jessen (J&J) Technology, part of the J&J Group, a global family enterprise that dates back to a trading partnership formed in Hong Kong in 1895.
“When we talk about investor confidence, that’s a long-term outlook. With investors, they’re looking at how the scenario is going to play out because you don’t build a golf course overnight. What they are investing in is something that will give a return on investment in three or four years down the road. Although there’s much uncertainty at the moment, I am still positive,” said the Dane, who also acts as a Board Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation (AGIF).
An industrial enterprise, J&J’s business spans manufacturing, engineering and distribution. Since 1963, the company has worked in partnerships with global market leaders, facilitating and capitalising on opportunities throughout Southeast Asia.
The company’s core business units include: Cable Technology, Ingredients, Life Sciences, Packaging and Technology. In turf and irrigation, J&J took over the business more than 20 years ago from another company, initially acting as the Toro distributor across Southeast Asia.
Speaking in the latest in a series of AGIF podcasts with influential figures from the industry that are being broadcast at www.agif.asia, Friis said: “There’s not been much to smile about these past few months. It’s very turbulent times. At Jebsen & Jessen, we have to put our staff safety first, not only from protecting against the virus but also government restrictions. I have a lot of staff who are eager to get out and service our customers but we have to keep them back because we’re not allowed to go out.
“We’ve had a lot of things to deal with these past few months with late deliveries because of freight interruptions and factory closures. We are managing, but financially it will have a huge impact on us this year.”
As for the golf industry, Friis said: “In the short-term we’ll see more local participation because golf is a relatively safe sport. From what I read, see and talk, I expect us to see a recovery at the end of the year. Beyond that we don’t know how the golf industry is going to evolve.
“Going forward, I think that golf clubs need to look at their strategies – not only in how they’re dealing with their current business, but also how they would handle a crisis like this in the future. It’s necessary to make more solid plans that include being efficient and reducing maintenance costs and things like that.”
For now, it’s a case of looking at how best to adapt to the current situation and attempt to turn what seem to be negatives into positives. He said: “I was talking with a customer this week and he said to me: ‘There’s always an opportunity … and don’t waste a good crisis’. In life you have to look at opportunities and grasp them.”
**Jebsen & Jessen is a Full Business Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation. If you’d like to reach the Federation’s 10,000+ global audience via newsletter, website, Facebook and LinkedIn, become an AGIF member. For further details, please visit https://agif.asia/join-the-agif/