The Future of Golf in India - A Pro's POV

 archer1 ·  
archer1archer1 Members  145WRX Points: 97Posts: 145 Fairways
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Yesterday, at an Asian Tour event, I had the opportunity to talk to one of India's top professionals (he has also had a European tour card). I had previously read that a major barrier to the development of golf in India was the availability of land for courses (I think this was stated by the Nicklaus design company). I asked him if this was the case.

He said availability of land is not the issue: it is the price of land. It is simply too expensive to make the building and operating of golf courses a profitable venture. He added that another, but smaller, barrier to growth was the import duty on equipment. He told me the major OEMs had all tried to establish in-country operations but had given up as the cost of equipment and the size of the market meant they could not make money. He said Callaway is the only OEM trying to keep their operation going: the others having all reverted to employing distributors.

It is his opinion that in India, which is essentially a poor country, there is unlikely to be a golf boom in the foreseeable future. Golf will, he said, continue to be "a game for the elites".

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  • Man_O_WarMan_O_War Members  3627WRX Points: 607Posts: 3,627 Titanium Tees
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    Interesting that the cost of land is the issue..if so then demand would overcome the cost as investors would make their money back. India may be a "poor country" but it has a huge middle class in shere numbers and very wealthy people. It is the entrenched culture that might be holding it back in terms of how families spend their money...immediate families and extended families all are part of the family so luxury activities like golf will take 4th place. IF it were cheaper, it would attract more people but i don't see golf as crucial to India or such countries..China is similar. Super Wealthy and extremely poor at the same time with billions of people, there are very well to do Indians in America and like other well to do Oriental Asians, they are members of country clubs and their kids who choose golf end up in golf programs and that would be the avenue for more golf pros from India. Maybe if more are seen...

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  • Rory4PresRory4Pres Members  1414WRX Points: 400Handicap: 1Posts: 1,414 Platinum Tees
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    Perhaps they should focus on driving ranges and putt-putt to help boost the desire/interest in golf.
    One would think if the politicians liked golf, they would provide incentives to investors looking to build golf courses or golf courses surrounded by housing.

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  • Argonne69Argonne69 Members  23449WRX Points: 7,405Posts: 23,449 Titanium Tees
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    The vast majority of rounds of golf played in Korea are played in simulators. Land is very expensive. The game has grown tremendously, in part fed by the availability of affordable simulators.

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  • third-times-a-charmthird-times-a-charm Members  3012WRX Points: 1,275Posts: 3,012 Titanium Tees
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    Of course. India is extremely poor and people still deficate in the streets and send dead bodies down the river - and drink from the same river to top it off. The elites/wealthy are an infantismaly small portion of the country.

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  • nealkbnealkb Members  443WRX Points: 156Posts: 443 Greens
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    On -, @third-times-a-charm that also sounds like half of Los Angeles. The weather doesnt help. Who wants to be outside when its 110 most days? Plus the smog/pollution, and unpredictable monsoons.
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  • double_ddouble_d Members  392WRX Points: 130Posts: 392 Greens
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    He said availability of land is not the issue: it is the price of land.

    From a purely real estate frame of mind, isn't that the same thing?
    Land is always available, you may have to knock down existing structures to build.
    Availability and profitability is an extension of price or initial investment.

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  • Man_O_WarMan_O_War Members  3627WRX Points: 607Posts: 3,627 Titanium Tees
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    Of course. India is extremely poor and people still deficate in the streets and send dead bodies down the river - and drink from the same river to top it off. The elites/wealthy are an infantismaly small portion of the country.

    what's incredible is what humanity is capable of putting up with and still surviving.

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  • tideridertiderider Members  2987WRX Points: 2,023Handicap: 5ishPosts: 2,987 Titanium Tees
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    perhaps golf is not meant to be in india ... i think south america should be the next "target", if there is such a thing ... plenty of land, some solid economies (outside of brazil) and a good bit of "other stuff" to do besides golf for the tourists ...

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  • SocratesSocrates Warning Points 1+ WinnipegClubWRX  10190WRX Points: 1,105Handicap: 4ishPosts: 10,190 ClubWRX
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    1/3 the size of USA with 5X the population. Any land you might want to build a golf course on, is being utilized to the max to sustain life making it very expensive. By shear number of people, there likely is a wealth of sports talent, but only the rich few get to exploit it.

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  • ZMOZMO Members  360WRX Points: 84Posts: 360 Greens
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    My buddy went to India, he said...I ain't about that life!

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  • Man_O_WarMan_O_War Members  3627WRX Points: 607Posts: 3,627 Titanium Tees
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    India needs to annex southern China

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