Arthur Yeo, Former GM of Spring City, and Son Adrian, Golf Development Advisor, Discuss the State of the Asian Golf Industry and Their Past Work with Flagstick
Flagstick: Can you please tell us a bit about what you have been working on
Adrian: Arthur and I are currently working on an eco-integrated project in Dali,
Yunnan for a Beijing developer. The project comprises two 18-hole championship golf courses, a marina, eco-agriculture, real estate, commercial development, horse racing tracks, five-star hotels and more. We have also just come back from the 12th National Club Managers Conference, which was held at Mission Hills Haikou.
Flagstick: What are some upcoming events on your golf industry calendar that you are especially excited about?
Adrian: Last year I was one of 18 club managers from China who received accreditation from the Club Managers Association of America (CMAA). The 18 of us have formed a China chapter, and on October 19th we will be meeting in Guangzhou in concurrence with the Asia Golf Show. We will also attend many of the education seminars at the show to learn more from others in the industry.
Arthur: I will also be in Guangzhou, and will be involved with the education segment of the show.
Flagstick: Are there any interesting trends you are observing in Asian golf? How should the industry respond to these trends?
Arthur: Worldwide golf development is rather stagnant, but Asia still shows promise. However, with the current economic uncertainties, most Asian developers are now more cautious with their investments. Many have switched from developing new courses to buying up facilities in financial difficulty at below replacement cost. In my opinion, to boost the demand for development we need strategic steps to increase the number of golfers: encourage more women to play, promote junior golf, etc.
Flagstick: Can you please describe what, in your view, are the biggest challenges facing golf in Asia, and China in particular.
Arthur: In Asia we need to dispel the belief that golf is only for the rich. We must make golf accessible and affordable to the general public. There are too many misunderstandings by the government and public about the game. What the industry needs is an organization to investigate and publish facts regarding the following: water, fertilizer and pesticide usage; arable land usage; golf’s benefits to the environment and economy; golf’s positive impact on society; golf’s positive impact on related industries like tourism and manufacturing.
Flagstick: What sets apart Spring City Golf & Lake Resort, which has been recognized for many years as China’s top golf facility?
Arthur: Spring City has maintained its ranking because of the quality of design, construction, maintenance and its high service standards. From the outset, we built a very solid foundation by designing right and building right, which made it easier and cheaper to maintain in the long run.
Flagstick: You have worked with Flagstick on a number of projects. Could you please discuss some of the benefits that our company has brought to those projects?
Arthur: Flagstick acts as the developer’s representative to supervise and ensure that the golf course architect’s design is implemented properly, and that the quality of construction meets all specifications. They also help to control the schedule and budget. In my opinion, especially in a less developed country, it is best to have an experienced construction management company to protect the developer’s interests. Flagstick has proven to me that they are experienced and they have delivered very good results.
Flagstick thanks Arthur and Adrian for sharing their time and for providing insightful and thought-provoking comments regarding the Asian golf industry and their work with us.