Golf Will Weather Covid-19 Crisis, Says AGIF Chief Executive

Eric Lynge, the AGIF’s Chief Executive Officer.

Singapore: Golf is better suited than many industries to be able to weather the Covid-19 crisis and succeed, according to Eric Lynge, Chief Executive Officer of the Asian Golf Industry Federation (AGIF).

“Every industry will have some successes – and less than successes and some failures. In golf, there are some inherent strengths which will buffer the industry on several fronts and it can certainly emerge stronger from this pandemic,” predicted Lynge, speaking during a LinksAsia webinar entitled ‘Teeing-Up for Success Post Covid-19’.

Like any industry, much will depend on the financial underpinnings of golf clubs and companies that operate in the industry.

Lynge said: “It all comes down to their financial structure. If they’re not strong to start with then there’ll definitely be some issues. What we see around the region is that those private clubs that, either through ownership or membership, have more reserves are better able to weather the storm at the moment. But for private clubs that don’t have so many reserves, they’re going to have some issues and might have to restructure their business and their membership.

“The semi-privates, it depends again, on whether they are reliant upon the tourism dollars, the yield that they’re getting these days on their green fees and their maintenance fees. So, it’s all dependent on the finances again. I think the ones that are really suffering at the moment are the clubs that rely on the tourist dollar because obviously people can’t travel and certain courses in that area are having problems financially keeping afloat.”

Lynge believes that the current crisis has underscored the need for golf club owners and operators to invest in further education for their key club management and course maintenance personnel.

He said: “In North America and Europe they have developed a professional class of managers who are specifically trained in the areas of turfgrass management and club management. That results in owners and committees hiring these people based on their qualifications and then leaving them to do their job as they see fit to run the golf club like a business.

“Among golf clubs in Asia, the fundamentals of the business are being examined at this time. It’s the people who are hiring certified professionals and training their staff to be professionals, and recognising these individuals, who will come out on top.”

Joining Lynge as panellists on the Webinar were Patrick Bowers, Founder and Chief Executive, Vantage Pointe, and Bill Lisle, AIA’s Regional Chief Executive.

*To watch a recording of the webinar, follow the link: https://www.crowdcast.io/e/teeing-up-post-covid-19

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