Golf sector set to capitalise on opportunities in Europe

Firms in the golf sector may increasingly look for business in Europe as the UK market shrinks and the rate of sterling falls.

Businesses at BTME in Harrogate last week reported that the golf market in Europe remained strong. Countries in the Eurozone also benefited from better deals from UK firms as the pound weakened.

John Greasley Golf Course Construction contracts manager Charlie Greasley said he was waiting for confirmation of at least three new projects, of which only one is located in the UK.

"There is a good project we are hoping to work on just outside Copenhagen in Denmark. The golf market is still quite strong in the rest of Europe," said Greasley.

"The tighter things are in the UK, the farther we will go. It is a saturated market in the UK at the moment but in the past couple of years we've done work in Cyprus, Belgium and Denmark. There are good projects out there."

BIGGA chief executive John Pemberton said it now made sense for firms to cast their nets farther afield as new holiday destinations such as Croatia and Slovenia become more popular.

"These are emerging countries from a golf point of view and they are the up and coming holiday destinations," explained Pemberton. "That is how Spain catapulted to the fore with golf. There are opportunities out there."

Russia and the Netherlands are also hotly tipped golfing locations, revealed Pemberton.

MJ Abbott has just started work on site with a golf course contract for a French client, but the firm remains optimistic there is still work in the UK, particularly with local authorities.

Contracts manager Nathan George said: "No one knows how the economy is going to go but people in Europe can source contracts in the UK now that would have been more expensive before. They are getting a better deal."

Lindum managing director Stephen Fell added: "We already export golf turf to Denmark, as its market seems to be growing.

"The benefit for us is that it doesn't cost a lot more than sending turf to Scotland. We are also doing a football pitch in Norway next month. There is growth in eastern Europe as well. I'm relatively optimistic for the coming year or two."

Headland Amenity operations director Mark De Ath agreed: "The positive thing is that we are seeing an upswing in our sales and interest from Europe.

"We do a lot of business with northern European countries and hope this will increase as the UK market goes down."

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