Saturday, January 21, 2012

talking points KPMG on Golf’s Future

International golf development has been on life-support for three years and isn’t likely to get healthy in 2012.

That, in a nutshell, is the opinion of Andrea Sartori, the director of KPMG’s Golf Advisory Practice. Sartori, who’s considered by Golf, Inc. to be one of the most powerful people in golf, has outlined his thoughts about the industry’s immediate future in the form of an “interview” -- in reality, it may have been an interview with himself -- that was recently posted at KPMG’s website.

Specifically, Sartori discussed trends in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, the core areas of the golf practice’s business. However, I think his comments apply to markets all over the planet. I don’t know about you, but wherever I look, the story is always pretty much the same: The outlook is improving, but the big bounce is yet to come.

Here’s a little of what Sartori had to say:

Clearly, with the combination of continued liquidity problems and lack of confidence and financing for both developers and real estate buyers, the climate for golf development remains unfavorable. The increasing equity requirements of financial institutions, the growing cost of debt (especially because of the increased country risk in markets which were previously considered to be relatively safe, such as Greece, Italy, Spain, and Portugal), and the increasing expectations of investors in terms of returns means the market for golf resorts with real estate will continue to suffer for quite some time.

However, there will be a point in time when the international economy recovers, and developers will be looking at markets where there is strong domestic demand and tourism appeal to attract international buyers and golf tourists. . . .

In my opinion, the first markets to bounce back will be those with a potentially strong domestic demand which are also appealing to the international market from a tourism perspective. For example, some countries in the Mediterranean region -- including Italy, France, and Turkey -- have favorable characteristics in this regard. . . .