The Asian Golf Industry Federation (AGIF) has emerged stronger from a period of introspection and consolidation in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Presenting his report to members at the Federation’s Annual General Meeting, President Richard Walne outlined a variety of new initiatives introduced by the not-for-profit organisation during 2020 and struck an optimistic tone for the future.
“For most of us within the golf industry, 2020 has been a year to take stock and to reappraise our business models and operating procedures. Certainly, that has been the case with the Asian Golf Industry Federation and many of our more than 100 members companies and clubs,” said Walne, who also serves as Managing Director Asia Pacific and Australia with The Toro Company.
With the Coronavirus outbreak prompting the cancellation of all the AGIF’s in-market events and training programmes, severely affecting revenue streams and budget projections, Walne said the swift and decisive actions of the Board and management team proved critical.
“The Board quickly identified that the focus should be on recruiting new members, retaining existing members and continuing to be relevant to our membership, even without our traditional interaction methods,” said Walne, highlighting that membership renewal rate was close to 90%, while more than 25 new corporate members signed up. Furthermore, a new category of membership for individuals was launched this year.
Among the new members that joined the AGIF in 2020 were Musco Lighting and Nesma Trading (Executive); Dennis/SISIS, Golf Genius Software, Pacific Pine Sports Group, Simplot, Sports Marketing Surveys, Sports Turf Solutions and TEHC International (Full Business); Brain Pool Technology, Fry/Straka Global Golf Design, Indigo Specialty Products, Johnston Design & Agronomy, LinksAsia Events, Links Golf and Perrett Webb Golf Course Architects (Associate Business).
Furthermore, with the addition of Clearwater Bay Golf & Country Club, Education City Golf Club, Hong Kong Golf & Tennis Academy, Mimosa Plus Golf Course, Myotha National Golf Club, Ria Bintan Golf Club, The Els Club Dubai Sports City, The Jockey Club Kau Sai Chau Public Golf Course, The Royal Selangor Golf Club and Yalong Bay Golf Club there are now 13 countries/territories with club representation in the Federation – Cambodia, China, Dubai, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.
To cater to the demands of existing members and encourage new ones, the AGIF invested heavily in upgrading its online presence in 2020.
Walne said: “As well as relaunching our website – www.agif.asia – and introducing a Covid-19 Resource section and Job Listing function, we focused on improving our relevancy via our LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube channels.
“To further serve the industry, the Federation produced more than 30 podcasts and webinars, featuring many prominent figures from different areas of the industry.”
Other significant highlights in 2020 included the renewal of the AGIF’s partnership with The R&A for education and the continuation of the acclaimed Certificate in Greenkeeping programme, while last month South Korea-based Oh Sung-jun and Malaysian-based Zainal Mohammed Shah were appointed as Senior Advisors, to assist the Federation in increasing its presence in those countries.
Casting an eye to the year ahead, Walne said: “Notwithstanding the challenges that lie before us, the AGIF remains fully committed to supporting sustainability in all aspects of golf, as well as growing the game initiatives and high-quality education, specifically related to greenkeepers and club managers. All of this – and more – is outlined in a Strategic Plan 2020-21 which we issued in the final quarter of the year and is available for viewing on the website.
“Given our partnerships with organisations such as The R&A and the Club Management Association of America and a strong membership base that represents the key players in the golf industry across Asia, there is certainly cause for guarded optimism as we head into the New Year.
“It is our intention to strive to find new ways to be relevant and active in both existing and new markets in Asia.”