The golf industry is seeing some positives from Brexit

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 27, 2016 15:40

A major golf course construction firm and a golf tourism company have both said that Britain’s decision to leave the European Union can have positive ramifications for the industry.

Last month several golfing organisations expressed shock at Brexit, with the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Association (BIGGA) stating it will lead to a ‘reduction in greenkeeping budgets’ and professional services firm KPMG saying Brexit will result in consumers ‘driving down discretionary spend on leisure’.

However, UK-based golf course construction and reconstruction firm John Greasley, which has clients all over Europe, has said that while there may be a “bumpy ride” ahead, there could be some benefits from the UK’s referendum result.

44-45 john greasley Stoke Park Hole 4_HyLine Installed

Stoke Park (and below), where John Greasley has worked recently

“The immediate benefit to our continental clients has been the fall in the pound which makes us considerably more competitive than we have been over recent years,” said a spokesman.

“This coupled with record low interest rates and higher residual values for plant when sold overseas means there are a number of plus factors that will help ensure the ‘confidence’ key is maintained for the next few years. In the end it may be that confidence will be a significant factor to what happens over the coming years. “

John Greasley has been a sponsor of the European Institute of Golf Course Architects for the last 15 years and has carried out several projects in France, Belgium, Denmark and Cyprus.

“[In recent years] with the availability of excellent European freight haulage companies, we have found it remarkably easy and cost effective to move our specialist equipment around. A large number of overseas clients also prefer to purchase materials directly which enables us to avoid setting up foreign accounts, taking on exchange rate risks and currency conversions,” he added.

With such strong European links, the company is also concerned about Brexit.

“There is the possibility of a self-inflicted recession,” he said. “This coupled with uncertainty with the currency exchange rates may make for a bumpy ride ahead! There will undoubtedly be a significant increase in administration for the registration of workers, obtaining visas / work permits, import levies, higher taxes, registration fees and VAT requirements.

“Above all, it is taking everyone into unknown territory and therefore impossible to predict what lies ahead.

44-45 john greasley Stoke Park_Colt_Hole3_Complete

“Regardless of the outcome of the Brexit negotiations it is hoped that common sense prevails and we can live with the terms of obtaining / negotiating a trade deal which allows companies like ours to operate within Europe without the restriction of trade barriers and tariffs.”

Meanwhile, Florida-based Golfpac Travel, a company that organises golf holidays around the world, has said that Brexit will result in more Americans visiting the UK to play golf.

“Brexit is very positive for Americans planning trips to the UK,” said a spokesman.

“I am fielding a lot of requests from not only groups looking to travel next year but also from current customers wanting to know how this will affect their upcoming travel,” said Golfpac’s international travel manager Michael McHenry.

“They want to know how to take advantage of the current drop in the pound in as much as exchanging dollars well in advance of their upcoming travel. Everything they spend money on during their trip will naturally be cheaper than it was.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 27, 2016 15:40
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