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BARBADOS - golf archive - The Golf Product Club
- Wednesday 12, May-2004 by SHERRYLYN CLARKE
WITH three championship golf courses, an executive nine-hole course and another three more slated to come on stream in the future, Barbados is being actively marketed as a boutique golf destination.
The Golf Product Club, made up of people selected from the various golf clubs, is an initiative of the Barbados Tourism Authority to promote Barbados’ golf worldwide.
“The idea of the Product Club is really a combination of the private sector and Government working hand in hand to promote a niche market, in this case, golf. It is funded 50-50 and Government basically matches whatever the public sector puts up,” said chairman Denis Roach.
He said the Product Club had become very active over the past two years and the fruits of its labour could be seen in major golf magazines.
In the May/June 2004 edition of the Travel And Leisure Golf Magazine, which has Davis Love III on the cover, the course at Sandy Lane Country Club is listed among the Top 20 in the world on the hot list.
There have also been articles in the February 2004 edition of Lady Golfer and a two-page spread in Global Mail, Toronto’s leading newspaper.
In addition, the Barbados Golf Club is also featured in the April/May 2004 of Golf Punk. The website www.barbadosgolf.com is also filled with information.
Claire Jordan, chief executive officer of the Barbados Golf Club, said that was marketing they could not pay for.
Roach said the hotel industry had generally failed to grasp the potential of using golf as a catalyst to bring tourists to the island. He cited Amaryllis Hotel as an exception.
Leif Brandel, director/owner of Amaryllis, said they had worked with the Barbados Golf Club over the past three years to promote golf, and in October, they would be hosting the Amaryllis Golf Camp, bringing local players in the industry together with international golf tour operators.
Michael Davern, general manager of Sandy Lane properties and golf, also agreed with Roach.
“We definitely feel the potential of golf is not being tapped by the other hotels as much as it could.
“It is probably because they are not in the golf business, so they don’t realise the asset on their doorstep they can utilise as an additional attraction.
“September is a very, very hard month to sell rooms in Barbados. We have sold one-and-a-half thousand bed nights purely for golf holidays. I see no reason why every hotel on the island can’t do exactly that from May to November,” Davern suggested.
Jordan said the Barbados Golf Club had 20 partner hotels, but it was up to the hotels to work out the packages and sell them to their guests at concessionary rates. They still have to remind the hotels that golf is a value added product, but she expected that would change within the next year.
“Golfers and golfing tourists have a very high level of disposable income and therefore it is a good niche business to go after,” she said.
“There is a difference between getting the numbers of visitors and quality visitors. What you want to attract are visitors with spending capacity.”
No figures are available on how much income golf brings to the island, but it is a big industry.
In the United Kingdom, the market exceeds £5.5 billion with 1.2 million golf holidays taken every year.
The United States has about 26 million golfers.
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