ECONOMY

Investment in golf courses may cost but pays off

Greece is attracting the interest of investors for the development of hotel complexes and holiday resorts including golf courses, a survey by KPMG suggests. Golf is one of the most rapidly developing sports in the world, both in terms of players and courses, George Raounas, head of the company’s consultancy services, told Kathimerini. The survey conducted in 25 countries in Europe, the Middle East and South Africa found that every year 1,000 new golf courses are created around the world. There are about 32,000 courses and 30 million players globally, similar surveys have shown. Europe has about 6,225 courses for 4.1 million players. In the last couple of decades, the number of courses has doubled and the number of players has tripled. Over 80 percent of the courses in Europe are concentrated in seven countries. The UK leads with 41 percent, while among Greece’s regional competitors France has 9 percent and Italy and Spain have 4 percent each. Greece only has six courses. The survey shows that the development of a golf course in Europe, the Middle East and South Africa is not always profit-driven, as the motive is often the love of the game. More than half of course creators surveyed (55 percent) answered that they were driven by personal interest and 46 percent cited investment interest. The average duration of a golf course’s development is just over four years (49 months), the KPMG survey shows. The main difficulties faced during the courses’ development were in securing permits (41.5 percent), delays due to weather conditions (35.4 percent), environmental concerns (27.7 percent), funding (27.7 percent) and the supply of water (24.6 percent). The same survey showed that the average costs for the creation of a typical 18-hole golf course comes to 3.56 million euros, while that for a 9-hole course reaches 1.23 million euros. Costs for an 18-hole course range from 1.25 million euros in Eastern Europe to 4.71 million euros in the Mediterranean. The third annual business forum on golf concludes today in Cyprus. This year’s forum was titled «A guide for the successful development, operation and marketing of golf» and included sessions in which golf development in Greece and Cyprus was discussed extensively.