Cuba, Africa and Vietnam
are emerging as golf’s
new hot spots now that
political issues in China
and Turkey have slowed
BY ROBERT J. VASILAK
According to what’s been called “the ;rst-ever o;cial count,” only 33 nations on
Earth don’t yet have a golf course. “Golf is
undoubtedly spreading around the globe,”
the R&A has cheerfully proclaimed.
And it continues to spread. Later this
year, for example, the ;rst course in
Turkmenistan is scheduled to open, and
courses have been proposed in several
other virgin territories, among them
Dagestan, Palau, Montenegro and Umm
But before you conclude that golf course
architects and builders are back on easy
street, remember this: ;e world has been
thoroughly explored, and any nation still
without golf is a nation that has a limited
capacity for golf.
;e fact is that golf development thrives
when the biggest, most established markets are going like gangbusters, and for the
better part of a decade every one of them
— North America, Europe, Great Britain,
Ireland, Australia — has been stuck in a
development deep freeze.
“I can’t see that anywhere in particular
is going to boom in the coming years,”
said Jeremy Slessor, managing director
of European Golf Design, a British ;rm.
“People are talking seriously about proj-