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Play it in style

13 July, 2010


(RANG DE INDIA IBNS NEWS SERVICE)

The passion for Golf Tourism is increasing every passing day across the globe; and why not, after all golf is a style statement in itself! Rang De India IBNS correspondent Sreya Basu reports.

As per recent studies, North America , at present, is considered as world’s leading golf market, while golf in the US contributes more than US$60 billion to the economy - some 6% of GDP (gross domestic product). Japan, Oceania and India are coming up as potential markets for golf tourism. Going by the latest statistics by marketresearch.com, global golf tourism market is worth over £10 billion (US$17.5 billion).

Leaving aside the facts and figures, if we reason out the sudden rise in this tourism sector, it is found that the demand for luxurious holidays are increasing every day, in fact, holidaying has become a style statement and if there’s golf, then some more panache is added to the mood.

Now, technically speaking, Golf tourists can be broken down into three basic categories-tourists who go on holiday principally to play golf, tourists who play some golf as a secondary activity whilst on a holiday or business trip and those who attend tournaments as spectators.

The principal market for dedicated golf tours has been ‘regular’ golfers, who play at least eight to 12 times a year.

Recently, however, there has been a noticeable stagnation and even decline in the numbers of ‘core’ golfers, particularly in the mature markets of the Anglo-Saxon countries.

However, growth in the number of registered golfers in the wealthiest continental European countries continues apace.

At the same time, the number of ‘occasional’ golfers is growing virtually worldwide, providing the opportunity for tour operators and resorts to offer golf as an add-on feature to holidays as well as MICE (meetings, incentives, convention & incentives) events.

Well-established golfing tourism regions include Florida, California, Scotland, Ireland and Spain, where the number of courses should double in the coming years. Countries such as Mexico, Egypt, Thailand, Malaysia and even China are emerging golf destinations.

Golf holidays in India are on the rise as well with more and more advanced and well maintained golf courses have come up at places like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Pune, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Gulmarg and Srinagar.

What attracts travellers for a golfing tour to India is the variety of locales in the country-mountains, plains, deserts and at beach resorts.
“There exists great potential to grow Golf Tourism in India. India offers some of oldest golf courses in the world outside UK. Besides it boasts of the highest golf course in the world, and offers over 4 world class Golf courses in NCR, " says Himanshu Singh, Managing Director, Travelocity India.

"Beyond this one can catch some great Golf in the lap of nature in Gulmarg, Ooty, Kodikanal or get some golf lessons while holidaying in Goa,” Singh says.

Some of the most suggested destinations for Golf Tourism around the world according to Travelocity are:

International

1. South Africa

In the eyes of the golf world, South Africa has long stood out for its great players, golf is a big part of this success story, as new luxury resorts take their place alongside the country's classic courses, but visitors quickly realize there's so much more to experience. The natural wonders, from the seascapes of the Garden Route (the scenic coastal highway) to the wildlife of Kruger National Park, are equally diverse. Add to the mix the beauty of the Cape winelands and the inventive cuisine and warm hospitality of multicultural Cape Town, and one begins to sense that while the golf is world-class, the off-course adventures—the sights and sounds and tastes of a supremely fascinating continent—are just as unforgettable.

Some of the popular golf courses are:

Leopard Creek

Links at Fancourt

Arabella Golf Club

Durban Country Club

Pearl Valley Signature Golf Estate & Spa

Pezula Golf Club

Steenberg Golf Club

2. New Zealand

New Zealand is boldly making a name for itself as a wonder of world golf. Today, golfers are exploring the country's newest wonders: the most spectacular courses built anywhere in recent years. Perched on serrated cliffs in the north and woven into stark mountainscapes in the south, these courses are a breathtaking sight. Scenery aside, golf in New Zealand is played with a passion: The country ranks second only to Scotland in courses per capita. And thanks to a favorable exchange rate between the U.S. and New Zealand dollars, many of the best courses can be played for a relative pittance.

Some of the popular golf courses are:

Cape Kidnappers

Kauri Cliffs

Wairakei International

Clearwater

Millbrook Resort

Gulf Harbour Country Club

3. Spain

If golf is your thing, then Spain is your destination. Spain is the leads European golf tourism. Every year thousands of people choose our country to play the sport. Discover the fundamental reasons for playing golf in Spain. A wonderful experience you will want to repeat. Spain is synonymous with golf. It is a top destination for lovers of the sport, whatever your level or handicap. Take note, get your clubs ready, and come to Spain as soon as you can - it is the ideal place for you to play your favourite sport for many different reasons.

Some of the popular golf courses are:

Club de Golf Valderrama, Sotogrande, Cádiz

San Roque Club Old Course (I), Cádiz

P.G.A Golf de Cataluña, Girona

Real Club de la Puerta de Hierro, Madrid

Desert Springs Golf Club, Almería

Golf & Spa Bonalba, Alicante

4. Dubai

Dubai is the fastest growing golf destination in the world, with over 15 golf courses planned or in the development stages, and is well known as the home of the Dubai Desert Classic and Dubai Ladies Masters on the European PGA Tour, which is held annually at Emirates Golf Club. Dubai will soon be featured prominently in the European Tour’s new Order of Merit point’s race, the Race to Dubai, which will culminate with the season-ending Dubai World Championship in November of 2009 at Jumeirah Golf Estates. Tiger Woods’ first design, the Tiger Woods Dubai, is also scheduled for completion in the autumn of 2009.

Some of the popular golf courses are:

Four Seasons - Al Badia Golf

Emirates Golf Club - Faldo Course

Emirates Golf - Majlis Course

Dubai Creek Golf Course

Arabian Ranches Golf Course

5. Thailand

Thailand is well known as one of the Golf paradises of Asia. Thailand has great potential for the international golfing market due to its wide range of facilities that respond to demands compared to other countries in the region. Destination diversity and the vast choice of golf courses located throughout the country are key factors attracting the large numbers of visitors coming to play golf in Thailand. From the beach resorts in the South, to the mountainous surroundings in the North, or the lively cities of Bangkok and Pattaya, there are golf courses to suit every preference. Combine this variety of quality golf with the excellent value for money, and visitors have the makings of a true golf lover’s dream come true. This has proven to be successful, as seen by the many golf travellers who now rank Thailand as the one of best top travel destinations in the world.

Some of the popular golf courses are:

Siam Country Club - Old Course, Pattaya

Alpine Golf Resort, Chiangmai

The Royal Golf & Country Golf, Bangkok

Chiangmai Highlands Golf Resort & Spa, Chiangmai

Thai Country Club, Bangkok

Black Mountain Golf Club, Hua Hin

India

1. Haryana

The state of Haryana is blessed with many lush green plain lands and meadows making it ideal for Golf tourism. Along with that the support of the state government and private entrepreneurs, Haryana Golf Tourism is going places. Golf Tourism in Haryana has taken flight due its wonderful locations. The capital - Chandigarh is the main hub of Golf Tourism and it is situated at the foot of the Shivaliks. Apart from the golf courses, other areas are blessed with several fine courses bringing the state total to fourteen.

Some of the popular golf courses are:

Golden Greens Golf & Resorts in Gurgaon

Aravalli Golf Club in Faridabd

DLF Golf & Country Club in Gurgaon

Classic Golf Resort Gurgaon in Haryana

Chandigarh Golf Club

Highway Golf Course

Karnal Golf Course

2. Kashmir

Golf tourism is one of the main attractions of the Kashmir valley in summers. The peak season for golf in Kashmir is from April to November. One advantage that the game of golf in Kashmir has over other golf courses that the weather here is quite refreshing and the shade of the bordering Chinar and Pine trees enables the play to go on longer. The main golf courses of Kashmir are:

Some of the popular golf courses are:

Gulmarg

Kashmir Golf Club

Royal Spring Golf Course

3. Karnataka

Golf is a popular sport in Karnataka. Golf is widely played in Bangalore - the business city of Karnataka. A Karnataka golf course has a rich tradition of golfing. A group of golfers and golf lovers of Karnataka formed the Karnataka golf association in 1973. Recently, the state-owned Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) announced that it is now developing ‘golf tourism’ packages in an effort to attract high-end travellers from India and abroad. It intends to launch a new tourism circuit for avid golfers in the next couple of months. For a start, the corporation will promote Bangalore, Mysore, Belgaum, Chikmagalur and Madikeri as preferred golf tourism destinations.

Some of the popular golf courses are:

Bangalore Golf Club

Belur Golf Club, North Coorg

Infantry Institute Golf Club, Camp

Pilikula Golf Club, Mangalore

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