First conference for course owners


Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley

The first conference of the recentlyestablished European Golf Course Owners Association (EGCOA) will take place in Amsterdam from November 23-25.

"The golf landscape of Europe is changing," says EGCOA director Lodewijk Klootwijk. "The game was originally organised by amateurs – members of golf clubs, but in the past 20 years, especially in mainland Europe, things have shifted. Most golf courses, newly built ones in particular, are not owned by their members. And owners are not represented in the national unions." EGCOA was formed three years ago to promote cooperation between course owners across the continent. "If the business is not organised on a European level, you don't exist according to Brussels," says Klootwijk. The association now comprises eight countries, and represents about 550 courses, mostly in mainland Europe.

"We believe strongly in cooperating with all stakeholders in European golf," says Klootwijk. "The best way to do that is to get to know each other. That's why we're organising this conference." Speakers at the conference include independent course appraiser Falk Billion, KPMG golf expert Andrea Sartori, and St Andrews Links Trust service manager Niall Flanagan.