Colin Montgomerie, yesterday officially opened the five-star Dreamland Golf Club in Baku, Azerbaijan. This is the first golf club of Baku (capital of Azerbaijan). Dreamland Golf Club, a 170-acre premium golf club was designed by Cynthia Dye. The golf club will be managed by IMG. The golf club was officially opened by the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.
Dreamland Golf Club is situated on the Absheron Peninsula with native olive trees, ten lakes and golden bunkers providing exquisite views from fine and casual dining venues. Dreamland Golf Club will offer to its members and guests:
- 20 covered range bays set out over two-tiers
- 4 VIP range bays
- Dream Golf Academy: 9-hole par 3 academy course (open for staged events only) run by Head PGA Professional Michael Sweenie
- IMG performance swing studio
- IMG putting studio
- Short game practice area
- Practice putting green
- Grass tee area (open seasonally)
- Long game practice bunker
- Unique splash zone with floating targets and floating golf balls
- partnered with Fairmont Baku to offer accommodation to guests
- Café T – relaxed all-day European-style dining
- Academy retail shop offering leading brands such as Callaway Golf, Greg Norman, Titleist and FootJoy
Actually, Dreamland Golf Club is the second golf club of Azerbaijan. The first is The National Azerbaijan Golf Club (was opened in 2012; managed by Troon) that held last year the 2014 European Challenge Tour Schedule.
As a country without golf tradition and past, in a very sensitive region (between Russia and Iran), Azerbaijan has to work really hard to develop a local golf society and attract golf tourists. The big challenge here is how much time it will take them to make these golf clubs profitable. This not entirely hopeless case.
The World Bank says that Azerbaijan has a unique opportunity to enter the ranks of higher middle-income countries, evidenced by the decline in the poverty rate from 50 percent in 2001 to 5.3 percent in 2013. However the local economy is still strongly relying on oil and gas export and much less on tourism as we can see in the figures below.
The direct contribution of travel & tourism to GDP was cca. AZN1,350.1mn (cca. 2.5% of GDP) in 2014. Travel & Tourism directly supported 100-95,000 jobs (2.2-2.5% of the total population) in 2014. Azerbaijan is expecting that travel & tourism investment over the next 10 years will grow to AZN597.2mn in 2024 (in 2013 the travel & tourism investment was AZN311.7).