PUNE: Development of high-end real estate projects and resort style residential complexes have the potential to drive the growth of the sport of golf in India, participants in the second India Golf Expo said on Thursday.
Golf courses are being planned as part of many new residential complexes since these complexes have offered to absorb the development cost of golf course within the overall project cost, the participants said.
Lalit Kumar Jain, president of Confederation of Real Estate Developers Associations of India (Credai) said in his keynote address to the expo that the popularity of the sport will rise manifold if good quality golf courses are developed across the country. "India has a very high number of high networth individuals (HNIs) but less than 1 per cent of them play golf as compared with over 25 per cent HNIs playing golf in the developed world," Jain said.
Availability of golf courses will help add to India's attraction as a tourist destination, the delegates said.
Anil Seolekar, president of the Indian Golf Industry Association said the tourism ministry of the central government has announced a scheme to fund golf courses in different states in the country on the basis of private public partnership model. The ministry has an allocation of Rs 50 crore per state to develop golf courses he said, adding that Maharashtra has already identified some locations where it will invite private players to bid for developing golf courses which may come up as part of larger tourist spots.
Kevin Ramsey from Golfplan Inc. said India's weather is favourable for the game and a beginning can be made irrespective of the size of land availability. "It is more important to create awareness about the sport and encourage young people to play," he said.
Paul Reeves from Pacific Coast Design said golf courses could be used for commercial purposes, thus, improving financial viability of the sport venues.