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Posted on March 26th, 2012, by

In this paper I would like to analyze the situation of golf growth and its increasing popularity between people. Our aim is to show situation of golf as a kind of sport integration into tourism.

Recently, the specialists are talking about the development of internal and external tourism. The questions about the need to increase the quantitative indicators, by simplifying visa procedures, creating and maintaining an attractive image of the country for foreign tourists are examined. However, all members of the tourist market understand that in the first place, it is necessary to improve the quality and range of services in this market. And this, as a result, will enhance a greater number of consumers of the domestic market and it will be another additional incentive to travel to our country of foreign tourists.

I should note that the United States Tourism Development of State Department has determined that the golf course – it’s one of those areas, which presence demonstrates the adaptation for tourists of unknown environment of the country to clear standards. Each golf course is unique, what makes followers of golf try to force new fields, thereby encouraging them to travel.

In other words, having a golf course demonstrates the high level of comfort and services in the region, as well as an understanding of these standards by host and by client. The word “golf” is associated with the green fields with low-cropped grass and small groups of people who chased the ball from the hole to hole. Today there are more than 70 million people playing golf. This sport is growing. According to Ketzscher and Ringrose (2002) we see that statistics show that in Asia – 3,580 golf courses in Australia -1955, in Europe – 5020 in North America -17,538 in Africa – 542 (if desired can be played on a single field in the poorest country in the world – Chad). To date, North America and Japan are occupied a dominant market position.

Supporting of the field requires considerable expenditure associated with the daily cost of turf, landscape repair and maintenance of the fleet. Golf boom in the late 80’s of XX century in Europe and the United States, on the one hand, helped many farmers to escape from ruin, turning land into manicured lawns, golf courses. That was enough for a profitable business.

This trend started in the early of last century. The game is built on the principle of a large field, but it uses 18 fields.

Mini Golf does not require special skills and training, and a low fee has made it affordable for almost everyone.

Exploitation of sites is simple, requires no special capital investment, land acquisition and special qualification.

Attraction quickly pays for itself, because you can actually play the whole year. Mini Golf is divided into artificial distinction, or mixed (artificial-natural) coverage. Thus, a landscape of mini-golf course is considered one of the most beautiful and prestigious one.

In May 2009 the Italian Tourism Board launched a campaign aimed at increasing the country’s number of golf resorts, which should interest potential investors. This was reported in the Journal of Golf North East.

Golf & More – a campaign aimed at promoting the idea of golf in regions such as Liguria, Toscana, Sardegna, Sicilia, Bolzano and Friuli-Venezia Giulia.

Golf is one of the main attractive elements in the development of tourism in the region. The Italian government has decided to invest over 400 million euros in the development of golf resorts on the Mediterranean coast of the southern provinces of Italy. This was done to help these regions to keep up with the already existing golf courses, such as Spain, Portugal and other traditional tourist destinations in Italy: Venice, Florence and Rome.

Golf resorts are of interest not only fans of the game: the golf course next to a residential complex ensures a beautiful view out the window and low-interest housing. Many countries have started to build golf resorts to attract more vacationers and year-round development of tourism. These countries include Portugal, Turkey, UAE, Cyprus, not to mention Spain.

Italy – is a small country with a very comfortable climate and a rich historical heritage. Demand for property in Italy will always be, but the proposal is quite limited. Attracting tourists in Italy are not required. Why is there such excitement about golf? Italy is trying to follow the fashion world on golf resorts, or for their appearance there are objective reasons?

In Italy, 258 golf courses and only about 80 000 registered golfers. Golf – it’s still not an Italian sport. And this despite the fact that you can play here all year round. In Italy, golf is treated as a sport for rich snobs. This is partly due to the fact that virtually all the clubs private and public, and there are not municipal fields. Italians love soccer, good food and wine, songs, dress up and travel by car bewildering design – Italians love beautiful life. Therefore, going to Italy for the development of new golf courses would be reasonable to take the time to get acquainted with local tastes. The undisputed leader in quality and quantity of golf courses is an area of Lakes (Como, Garda, Maggiore, Lugano). Plenty of good fields are in Piedmont, around Venice, Tuscany, Emilia Romagna and around Rome. Three golf courses are located in Sardinia. Congestion golf Italy is low. To find Tea Time on weekdays, no problem. On weekends and holidays is harder and free time you will be offered, most likely in the afternoon.

“I think that the creation of golf resorts is not connected with the desire of the authorities to make the country more and more popular. Construction of a large number of golf courses not only in Italy but also everywhere in the world – it does not add more sites to increase the flow of tourists. It’s just a healthy trend – said Gennady Gabrielian. Golf and life, corresponding to this kind of sport, are conquering more hearts and minds.”

Analyzing the academic literature I examined that the problem of Italy that the Southern parts of the country are not attractive for tourists. Strawn (2010) stated that hundreds miles of coastline stretching along the sea, but most tourists visit Rome, a city of Tuscany or Venice. Therefore, attracting tourists to the southern zone by the development of golf business would be a solution of the problem.

Luigi Rota Caremoli is Italian golf architect consider Italian scenery very attractive for playing golf. He said about good weather condition, geographical position of Italy which give an excellent opportunity to live in the greens.

Over the past two decades the situation with golf courses in Italy has changed dramatically. Previously, the game of golf has been distributed only among the elite, but now it is popular also among ordinary people. According to McGrath, McCormick & Garrity (2006), we see that every year the number of golfers increased by 3%.

Beard (1982) stated that the golf took his start in Italy from the first Italian international tournament where the winner was Costantino Rocca. The golf architect Dr Wilfried Mroder said about development of golf in Italy that national pride began from the victory of Costantino Rocca in 1995 Open Championship. His follower is Italian amateur Matteo Manassero. The appearance of new golf channel on TV, newspapers began write more about well-known Matteo Manassero: all these factors indicates on developing popularity of golf in Italy.

Matteo Silvestri indicates that the problems of golf development in Italy are in bureaucracy of the country. Many politics try to ignorance these problems. The second problem is in cost of golf practicing which is high with comparison of other kinds of sport. So many people think that this game is a prerogative of rich people. But politicians do not take into consideration the building of golf courses for tourism especially during the best months of a year.

Apostolopoulos & Gayle (2002) also indicate that there are some problems with building golf courses. Environmental groups show a great resistance to it. Several proposals are under consideration in the government for a long time. One of them is there for 18 years and has received no positive or negative response.

So, what main objectives of developing golf in Italy can we see? As I have already examined the big deal is tourist implication. World Golf tourism is estimated to be worth more than $ 20 billion annually. About 50 million Golf tourists traveling around the world, playing on 32,000 fields. In the U.S. alone there are 25 million golfers, more than 8 million in Europe, and Asian supporters of the game grow exponentially.

Also an important point is, that the developers have realized that the house being sold on a golf course make an additional profit in the premium segment. Homebuyers like to be in nature (well-groomed golf course) and at the same time in a place of entertainment.

Williams (2003) believed that golf can move into new regions with new technologies of construction and maintenance. Most owners of golf resorts know and expect that their fields become profitable, if not immediately, then certainly in the near future. Golf can be a source of pride for the developer and owner.

Municipalities can be invested in golf resorts not just for entertainment. A good example here is the golf course Chambers Bay, Washington State, Pierce County. Local authorities have transformed an abandoned quarry at the golf course. At this field was US Open for amateurs this year, and in 2015 will be held US Open -golf championship among professionals. They expect this event to bring $ 100 million in revenue to the treasury of the municipality.

Methodology of creating golf courses needs special attention. I should stress the major points as economic and physiographic parameters. Economic parameters consist of such issues. In most cases, a golf course is part of a major tourist facility or other real property for various purposes. Taking this into account when selecting the site for construction of a golf course, you must consider two factors: the purpose of constructing a golf course and land values.

Economic parameters are most significant in determining the area under construction, depending on whether it is part of the tourist complex, private closed club or a public institution. Often, most golf courses being built in places where there is the potential development of tourist business, or attraction to this game population that lives in the selected areas. Depending on the existing premises and the presence of the target audience, selection of a suitable place for building plays a key role in achieving project success.

The cost of land and construction costs depend on the remoteness of the site chosen from a large settlement. On the one hand, the value of suburban areas in large industrialized cities is very high and the construction of private or municipal fields on their territory is complicated, although the potential benefits of such a field can be much greater than on the field in a remote area. On the other hand, the value of land outside the city is much lower, but increases the cost of construction due to transportation of equipment and supplies.

There are six major physiographic factors that substantially affect the choice of object:

ü     size of the territory;

ü     topography of the area;

ü     soil type;

ü     natural drainage;

ü     vegetation;

ü     sources of water and electricity.

Size of the area depends on topography, site configuration, planned length of the field, the number and size of existing trees, ponds, lakes, rivers, the size of the planned dividing zones between the holes, the estimated number of buildings (hotel, sports complex, parking, etc.). When designing a golf complex, which includes driving range, club, parking facilities for staff and hotel demand in the size of territory varies in the range from 65 hectares to 80 hectares.

Designed by golf course is directly depending on the terrain. This factor, more than any other, affects the overall appearance of the field and his personality. The task of designers is the selection of such a form and location of wells, which will require the least intervention into the existing natural landscape, which is due to the economic feasibility and requirements for the conservation of natural ecological conditions.

Construction of golf courses on the high ground is much simpler and cheaper than in the lowlands. According to Parkes (1996) it becomes obvious that excessive humidity in the field, especially after intense rains may lead to cancellation of the game for a long period with all its consequences – the reduction of sales, the dissatisfaction of the club members, players and the like.

Volume and distance of objects of energy supply (fuel, electricity, sewerage, drinking water source) should correspond to the planned site infrastructure, given its continued operation. Availability and quality of water one of the most critical factors in choosing a site for construction. The main criteria a minimum amount of available water per unit of time, the total amount of available water quality and cost.

The ethical issue of golf courses appears when we begin to speak about environment. There is a standard argument against the development of golf courses – argues that the golf course encroaches on open space and reduces the impact of natural wildlife. Sure, there are instances of the golf course built on the wrong place, contrary to environmental laws and land use. Such problems arise when the serious business of designing and building golf courses do laypersons. In fact, golf courses provide and maintain valuable green space. So developers of golf industry must take into consideration special limitations.

Thus, taking into account the above discussed information it is possible to conclude that the golf tourism is a prosperous direction of development for many countries nowadays. A situational analysis of the golf growth in Italy and its implications in tourism development shows us that Italy is ready to become a golf country and it would attract tourist not only by own beautiful sceneries and architectural buildings, but also by golf fields and opportunity to be involved in this new kind of activity.

Work cited:

Apostolopoulos, Y. & Gayle, D. (2002). Island Tourism and Sustainable Development: Caribbean, Pacific, and Mediterranean Experiences. Praeger.

Beard, J.B. (1982). Turfgrass Management for Golf Courses. Burgess Publishing Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.

Brasch, R. (1970). How did sports begin?: A look at the origins of man at play. McKay.

Cochran, A. & Stobbs, J. (1969) The search for the perfect swing. New York: J.P. Lippincott Co.

Ketzscher, R. and Ringrose, T. (2002). Exploratory Analysis of European Professional Golf Association Statistics.Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series D (The Statistician), Vol. 51, No. 2 (2002), pp. 215-228.

McGrath, C., McCormick, D. & Garrity, J. (2006). The ultimate golf book. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Parkes, M. (1996, April). Golf Courses Benefit the Environment. Parks & Recreation, Vol. 31.

Strawn, J. (2010, February 1). Golf Tourism in Italy. Retrieved

Williams, M. (2003, July). The Golf Craze: Health and Networking Benefits Attract More Than a Million Players. Ebony, Vol. 58.

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