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