GBF a success in Budapest


Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley

KPMG's fourth annual Golf Business Forum brought over 250 delegates from 40 countries leading golf companies to Budapest in May. The conference, which focused on golf development in emerging markets, included high-level presentations on the prospects for golf in Croatia and Hungary.

KPMG's Golf Benchmark Survey is also expanding. There will be ten regional reports this year – Northern Europe, UK and Ireland, Middle East, Central Europe, Western Europe, Eastern Europe and South Africa, plus India, Southern Europe and the Caribbean.

"The vision for an annual Golf Benchmark Survey was to give golf course owners, operators and developers useful, comparable information that would allow them to make informed decisions," said KPMG's Andrea Sartori. "Over time, as the historical data builds up, the survey will identify trends that will further enhance industry professionals' ability to make decisions for the future." One project launched at the conference was the new Budapest Gate integrated golf and housing development, soon to begin construction outside the Hungarian capital.

Irish golf legend Christy O'Connor Jr, the signature designer behind the Budapest Gate course, told GCA that he found Hungary not unlike Ireland. "I could have been in the middle of Irish farmland, with beautiful rolling ground and a huge lake," he said. "The soils are heavy on top, but very drainable, and we have a good source of sand a metre down." O'Connor's own shapers will shortly be moving over from Portugal, where his company is completing a course at the Amendoeira development.

Opening is scheduled for 2009.