The golf industry in Asia is now starting to show positive signs of recovering from the economic crisis that beset the region in 1997 , albeit with rightful cautio n . For many of the expensive courses, built by marquee name designers just prior to the economic crisis, plunging currency valuations and significant debt burdens mean their futures are still in doubt. Nonetheless, the popularity of the game continues to grow rapidly across the region .
In 1998, excluding Japan, there were 1,217 golf courses serving a population of 3.8 million golfers. By 2004, the number has increased to 1,458 golf courses serving a population that has grown at an average annual rate of 12% to its present level of 8.3 million golfers.? And this is in spite of the predomination of member or resort courses that are largely inaccessible to the general public.
? Figures are provided by Asian Golf Monthly Magazine
Asia's largest golf populations, outside of Japan, reside in Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia and Thailand. China too is emerging as a prolific growth market. A few years ago, only a handful of courses existed there. Today, the number has soared to 180. The golf industry is set to explode over the coming two decades as public pay and play golf courses continue to make golf ever more affordable to citizens of average income . As this happens, golf instruction will also blossom, giving new golfer s necessary insight and incentive.
Quality Golf was founded in Thailand in 1994 , himself a Certified Golf Course Superintendent with more than 35 years of experience in the golf industry. During his career, Tony has established a stellar reputation worldwide, consistently leading the industry with innovative course maintenance practices and is widely regarded as the one of the most prominent Superintendents in Asia .
He invented the ‘World Class Maintenance Success System', a system that produces a detailed rating for Turf Health, Maintenance and Playability of Tees, Fairways, Roughs and Greens as well as Consistency of Bunkers and Landscape Appearance, and also provides extensive training for Golf Course Maintenance Staff. This pioneering System is presented in a comprehensive (and indeed comprehensible!) report format to Golf Club Management, enabling key areas for improvement to be clearly identified.
Over the past 10 years, Quality Golf has established a reputation as a n Asian golf course constructio n, maintenance and management enterprise of the highest calibre. Our success has been founded upon the principles of combining modern technology with local expertise, of sound financial management, employee development, delivering world class customer service and a firm commitment to enhancing the quality of life of the communities in which we work .
Our philosophy is focused on the belief that every project, however large or small, is a reflection of who we are. Consequently, we will not undertake any project where we do not truly believe that we can provide results that exceed our clients' expectations.
Our services encompass Feasibility Studies, Course Design , T urn-key C ourse Construction , Course R emodeling & A lterations , Construction Management , Subcontractor Assessment and Evaluation , Course Landscaping, Course Maintenance, Tournament Preparation, Course Management and Marketing.
Furthermore, we also have official licences to distribute an extensive range of high quality, course-related products, including Lebanon Turf Products; Manderley Turf Grasses (TifEagle and SeaIsle 2000); Aqua-Aid turf enhancement products (such as AquaMaxx, Proportioner, Carbo-Aid, Aquifer); ADS advanced drainage systems; Signature irrigation systems; and a host of maintenance products from Parkway Research Inc and accessories from Precision USA, all of which we supply to a growing number of golf courses throughout Thailand and across the Region.
Our first major project was working with Dennis Griffiths on the re-design and construction of the prestigious Thai Country Club in Bangkok in 1994, where we have subsequently implemented and managed a highly sophisticated maintenance programme. Thai Country Club has consistently set the highest industry standard in course presentation, and indeed in customer service, that other golf course owners in the region aspire to replicate
The signature 6 th hole at Thai Country Club, measuring 218 yards from the black tees, has been voted the “Best Par 3 in Asia ” by readers of Asian Golf Monthly magazine every year since 2000.
During our 10-year relationship with the Club, we have also prepared the course to host several significant international tournaments, namely the Asian Honda Classic in 1997, which was won by Tiger Woods, and the Johnnie Walker Super Tour in 1998 which featured several golfing superstars including Vijay Singh and Ernie Els, the latter commenting that “the course was in the best condition of any I have played in Asia''.
We are immensely proud to report that the Club has this month been recognized once again as ‘The Best Course in Thailand', the 3 rd time in the past 4 years that it has been awarded this accolade by the readers of Asian Golf Monthly, the region's leading industry publication.
Other clients in Thailand have included the exclusive Rajpruek Golf Club in Bangkok, where we undertook a course renovation and placed Superintendent, Robert Barnes, who has overseen our maintenance programme for the past 4 years, and the Robert Trent Jones Jnr-designed Santiburi ChiangRai course in the northern province of ChiangRai, which involved Superintendent placement, staff maintenance training and tournament preparation for the Singha Masters, one of the most prominent tournaments on the domestic PGA schedule.
In June 1999, we were selected by Alpine Golf & Sports Club to prepare the Ron Garl-designed course to host the Johnnie Walker Classic in 2000, a professional tournament jointly sanctioned by the PGA European Tour, Asian PGA Tour and Australasian Tour.
In October 2001, we were appointed to design and build the first golf course on the exotic island of Koh Samui, called Santiburi Samui Country Club. The Island itself is located in the Gulf of Thailand, some 700 kms south of Bangkok and 20 kms off the coast of Surat Thani Province. It is Thailand 's third largest island, after Phuket and Koh Chang.
Golf course designer Pirapon Namatra, himself arguably one of the Region's most exciting young talents, devised a 6,932 yard routing that stretched east-west adjacent to the island's north coast, blending harmoniously with the natural environment and encompassing elevation ranging between 30-190 metres above sea level. An 18-hole layout was literally carved from the hinterland of granite and limestone hills. Narrow fairways, lined with coconut palms and sharp drop-offs, coupled with large, undulating green complexes make for an extremely challenging layout. This is, however, counter-balanced by the aesthetic nature of the course, with truly spectacular panoramic vistas of the turquoise-coloured ocean and golden beaches from 14 holes.
The Gulf of Thailand provides an idyllic backdrop for the 453 yard par-4 16 th hole of Santiburi Samui Country Club.
Tifeagle Grass has been used on the Greens, Seashore Paspalum Grass on the Fairways, and Bahia Grass for the Roughs. Numerous natural Waterfalls and Creeks run through the 450 Rai (72 Hectare) site, adding to its lushness and beauty.
The project was completed in 24 months and the course was opened for play in January 2004. We are confident that Santiburi Samui Country Club is destined for a great future. As word spreads, it will soon become a highly desirable new retreat for keen golfers from Thailand, across the region and internationally, providing a welcome boost in revenues generated by the island's economy from its existing 870,000 annual visitors.
Since 2001, we have provided Ria Bintan Golf Course with maintenance consultancy services, assisting the Club to restore its international standards and 5-star reputation.
In July 2003, Quality Golf was appointed by Hong Kong Golf Club to upgrade their maintenance programme to international standards initially in preparation for the hosting in early December of the Omega Hong Kong Open, a professional tournament jointly sanctioned by the PGA European Tour and the Asian PGA Tour. The result was a resounding success, with most members and competitors agreeing that the course was in the best condition it had been in for over 10 years. 2003 Champion, Padraig Harrington, praised the conditioning of the course in his speech given at the awards ceremony.
The majestic view from behind the 18 th green on The Eden Course at Hong Kong Golf Club, one of three courses at this 115-year old, world-renowned Club.
The Hong Kong Golf Club, established in 1889, is undoubtedly one of the most distinguished and respected Clubs both in the Region and also worldwide. Steeped in history and tradition , each of the three 18-hole courses, the New, Eden and Old, possesses its own distinct character.
Further to the success of The Hong Kong Open, our relationship has expanded and we have now developed a comprehensive plan to re-establish the Club as one of the leading facilities in Asia . We have placed two highly experienced Superintendents at the Club, Chris Norton and Ryan McFarlin, who will bring our plan to fruition. We are currently moving forward with the implementation of sound turf management practices on all of the golf courses. A considerable beautification program me is b eing developed to significantly improve the landscape and an in-depth training programme is being provided to all 90 members of the Club's maintenance staff which will greatly enhance the quality and efficiency of their work.
We are very proud to report that the Club has agreed to extend our relationship until mid-2006, providing a very solid platform for Quality Golf to grow in South China .
With the region's economies making a genuine resurgence, Quality Golf is well positioned to deliver high calibre solutions to golf course owners and investors who share our vision of creating an outstanding and memorable experience for their members and guests, and who realize the true potential of professionally maintained, managed and marketed facilities to yield tangible, extensive and lasting revenue streams.
Our philosophy has enabled us to develop strong relationships with a growing number of leading golf courses in the Region, whom we are very proud to serve, and we are confident that it constitutes a firm platform for continued success both for our clients and ourselves in the future.