Usually, I get excited when I hear about an opening of a new golf course somewhere around the world. This happened also today when I heard that the Ernie Els and Vijay Singh designed The Els Club Desaru Coast – Valley Course is finally open. This is the 1st collaboration of the two renowned golfers.
The Valley Course is a par-72, 7200 yards (6584 m) long golf course. However, this just 1 golf course (vs. The Els Club Desaru Coast – Ocean Course that has got 27 holes)!!!! Can the fun-filled adventure waterpark and the lifestyle village compensate us, golfers?
They like to claim that The Els Club Desaru Coast has got 45 holes of golf (the 27-hole Ocean Course and 18-hole Valley Course). Nevertheless, they forgot to mention that Valley Course and Ocean Course are not so close to each other: 4 hours by car, 50 minutes by airplane.
What is good in The Els Club Desaru Coast – Valley Course is the proximity to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, thus golf tourists from Singapore (in 2016, 13.3 million tourists came from Singapore) can get here quickly (50-minute flight from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur International Airport).
In 2014, the Golf Business Advisory Services (GBAS) did not list Malaysia (with 207+ golf courses) among the TOP10 hotspots in Asia.
Personally, I am expecting that Vietnam will make a big boom in golf tourism in the very near future. In 2012, IAGTO members ranked the two countries’ importance almost in the same place. Just look at the impressive plans of BRG Group or the FLC Group! The FLC Group announced last year that they will build 20 new golf courses within 5 years.
What I am trying to highlight here is if they want to become competitive in this region they must come up with:
- Really unique hospitality experience (+ embrace the “mobile first” lifestyle).
- Build another 18-hole golf course (at least).
- Out of this world food experience.
- Get prepared for the modern female traveler.
- A compelling story for the place & engage with the right golf travel and hospitality influencers. I don’t it is enough to say that we are an Ernie Els and Vijay Singh designed golf course.
- Real social media strategy how to get engaged with potential customers and utilize word-of-mouth marketing. Nothing is stronger than the recommendation of a friend or a family member.