Who plays golf in Russia?

By: January 21, 2010

During the communist era there was no golf life in Russia and in the Soviet Union. The first 18-hole golf course was built in 1994 (LeMeridien Moscow Country Club). In 2009 over a billion of USD was pumped into the local  golf industry. The top investors are Russia's richest men Oleg Deripaska, Vlamidir Potanin and Roman Abramovich. So far most of the golf courses like LeMeridien Moscow Country Club (signed with "A" in the photo) are built in the outskirts of Moscow, where industry leaders have their country residence.

Moscow Golf

According to Andrea Sartori, the Budapest-based head of KPMG International’s Golf Advisory Practice for Europe, the Middle East and Africa: “Russia is now one of the hottest spots for golf development”.

If indeed it is the case, then investors should not make the same mistakes as in Hungary and in other Eastern European countries, where golf courses are built far from the big cities and hard to access them and not to mention the skimming pricing policy.

Here are some figures about how much does it cost to play in Russia: Memberships at a Moscow club typically go for $75,000 plus annual fees of $5,000. However, in the Krasnodar area the membership is around 50,000 RUR (about $2,000) and the annual fees are only 15,000 RUR (about $ 300). A German JuCard golf cart is about 4,000 Euros. The most advanced golfers may buy a personal E-Way cart for about $ 8,000; while the Russian made “Might” cart is $ 10,800. A complete set of golfing clothes is about $ 1,000 with a new set of golf clubs costing about $5,000.

In light of these things I am skeptical about outcomes of the 7th Moscow Golf Expo (9-10 April). Furthermore I am worried how golf course investors will get back their invested money (ROI).