The third European Golf Course Owners Association conference, held during November in Berlin, attracted a total of 240 delegates from 25 different countries.
The conference's 'Big Change' theme saw speakers concentrating on how to attract and serve so-called 'free' or 'nomad' golfers, the fastest growing segment of the golf market.
A number of speakers also highlighted environmental issues and sustainability in golf. Gordon Shepherd, director of the World Wildlife Fund, said that while golf can be very good at promoting environmental sustainability, the business has a lot of work to do before its role as a good environmental practitioner will be widely accepted.
In a session which took a wide-ranging view of the golf market in several European countries (Czech Republic, England, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, and Sweden) several speakers confirmed that club memberships are down while the number of 'free golfers' is increasing.
EGCOA has confirmed its fourth conference will take place in the Danish capital, Copenhagen, in 2009. Exact dates have not yet been settled but the event is likely to be held in November once again.
This article first appeared in issue 15 of Golf Course Architecture, published in January 2009.