Golf Industry Central Summer 2012 - Page 22

INVEST or STAGNATE warns stakeholder By David Newbery Luke Altschwager, a major stakeholder in Parkwood International Golf and Function Complex on the Gold Coast, says aging golf facilities need to invest to stay in the race for the consumer’s dollar. In an exclusive interview with Golf Industry Central, Altschwager said there had been a shift in community demands that was putting pressure on many clubs and resorts. “Golf has been running the same model for the last 40 years, which is a membershipbased, one-service product,” he said. “That model is outdated and needs to change. “In the 1980s, the Japanese came in and built these golf facilities, but didn’t spend a dollar after that,” he said. “Many of these venues on the Gold Coast now have old infrastructure and no-one is investing. The venues are getting worse as opposed to progressing and getting better. “There is no tangible model to continue to upgrade the courses because they are not making enough money. I don’t see these golf courses surviving unless someone comes in and throws a heap of money at them to get them back on their feet.” Golf courses, says Altschwager, need to spend large sums of money on bunkering, irrigation and aging clubhouses. “Those things are very expensive, but if they don’t throw money at it now those courses will barely exist in 15 years. “It’s a bit sad, but we have been at the mercy of international owners that are not investing in golf. They treat the golf courses as trophy assets.” But at Parkwood International things are different because what was old has become 20 new again. “We are shifting from what was a tired golf club into something that is more of a community destination on a number of fronts,” Altschwager said. “We are passionate about golf and have invested heavily in the facility.” He and his business partners have tipped in millions of dollars as they works towards turning the facility into a super community destination with multiple options. Parkwood now has three function rooms, a retail golf superstore, an undercover double storey driving range, a boutique restaurant, a state-of-the-art yoga chiropractic studio, a cutting edge golf science area to accommodate indoor and outdoor fitting and teaching and a miniature golf course that is becoming more popular by the day. “We redesigned the golf course and fixed the drainage infrastructure that had been plaguing it for the last 20 years.” “We spent $700,000 on the golf course and plan to invest another $1.5m. “Because the layout is so good, the bunkers and greens need upgrading to make it more of a modern style. “It will take 12 months to stabilise things and then we’ll continue to invest and make it that destination venue at the right price point. “As o ۙ\