Turf-care firms worried as golf courses face crunch

Turf-care machinery companies have reacted to BLEC Landscaping going into administration with fears that sales to golf courses will fall in 2009.

BLEC is up for sale through administrator PKF (UK) LLP, Pannell House, 159 Charles Street, Leicester LE1 1LD.

Golf club memberships are falling because of the financial downturn and poor weather, which is having a knock-on effect on machinery sales. Almost half of English golf clubs saw a decrease in membership between 2006-08 in the latest survey from the English Golf Union.

British & International Golf Greenkeepers' Association (BIGGA) communications manager Scott MacCallum, who is running the industry's annual trade show, the BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition (BTME) in January, said: "Too many golf courses have been built in the past 20 years. Golf has plateaued."

Cheshire-based turf equipment maker Sisis sales manager Keith Vertigan added: "BLEC has suffered with the downturn in export markets to courses in Europe and the US. The exchange rate has affected things this year. It's a relatively small industry and gets hit very quickly in a downturn."

- See analysis, p15

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