How do you make an event better every year? The 2013 Asia Pacific Golf Summit (APGS 2013) was a master class in how a major international business summit can be re-engineered and transformed into an even better conference than those staged in the preceding years.
APGS 2013 has just wound up in the Indonesian capital city of Jakarta and the three-day conference staged at the plush Shangri-la Hotel Jakarta on November 5 - 7 has been widely declared as the finest to date.
More than 300 delegates from over 20 countries participated in the conference and the event was presented by the Asia Pacific Chapter of the Club Managers Association and produced by the Asia Pacific Golf Group.
Initial reactions all point to APGS 2013 setting new milestones for the golf industry with special emphasis being placed on the importance of club management best practices for the Asia Pacific region.
"You and your team did indeed conduct a great event -- this was the best to date and I sensed a BIG shift with good attendance and support by clubs and the people who own and manage courses. As this shift firms and grows, I see a groundswell of support from all sectors of the golf industry for APGS 2013" declared James B. Prusa, Director of the South Korean golf club Sky 72.
Commenting on this positive assessment, Mike Sebastian, chief executive officer of the Asia Pacific Golf Group and President of the Asia Pacific Chapter of the Club Managers Association of America said, "It is indeed heartening to learn that so many of the delegates who attended the summit have left Jakarta with such a good feeling - we designed an event aimed at addressing the challenges facing the industry in the region and the large cast of world class speakers and presenters helped us deliver content that generally exceeded everyone's expectations."
Brian Curley, principal of Schmidt Curley Design, voted Best Golf Course Architect for 2013 in the Asian Golf Monthly Awards, making reference to Gregg Patterson, one of the speakers said, "That guy is my hero.....need him every year!!!! Bill Sanderson is great as well. I like the CMMA added direction".
Reaction from within the host nation was also spontaneous with Dennis Kloeth, managing director of IndoGolf declaring, "I, personally, and certainly also our golf industry people and the good people of the APLGI (Indonesian Golf Course Owners Association), are forever grateful to you for bringing a well-qualified group of global golf industry stalwarts to Jakarta and making sure that Indonesia is now seen on the radar of international golf".
The three-day summit focused on a variety of key topics that are relevant to advancing and improving the state of the golf industry in the region. In his opening address, Sebastian revealed a number of innovative programmes that will be launched to bring about change to the industry.
"Education is going to be the key component of this move to grow the industry. We need programmes directed at providing our manpower resources with the right know-how and skillsets to keep the industry relevant and responsive to the ever changing needs of the marketplace," he said.
Some of the programmes will include the highly rated Business Management Institute training modules from the CMAA which will enable practicing club managers to become certified and this programme will be rolled out in 2014 by the CMAA's Asia Pacific Chapter. "In concert with the BMI programme, the Asia Pacific Chapter of the CMAA will also be introducing a series of two-day seminars under its Club Asia Symposia initiative which is aimed at addressing the operational needs of middle management personnel in golf clubs," Sebastian revealed.
As part of the on-going drive to improve the standing of Asian golf courses in the world, APGS 2013 officially launched the Distinguished Clubs of The World programme in conjunction with Boardroom Magazine. "This will be the way forward in benchmarking our top golf clubs in the region and is it a serious step forward to bring global recognition to the best of breed clubs in Asia," Sebastian said.
Special emphasis was placed on the much discussed topic of golf tourism and the value that this industry can bring to the table. APGS 2013 officially launched a partnership with TripFactory, a new initiative which has been brought about to promote travel in general and golf tourism in particular. "TripFactory's mission is to be the most useful travel platform for travelers, It offers the combined experiences of a Google-like search, an Amazon.com kind of personalisation and recommendations and a Facebook-like interface to interact with travel experts, to golf travellers globally," explained Vinay Gupta, the founder and chief executive officer of TripFactory, an entrepreneur who started and grew Via.com into a dominant player in the travel domain in 49 countries globally, accounting for revenues in excess of US$500 million.
"We have partnered with Asia Pacific Golf Group to create a special Golf Tourism vertical and have the ability to scale this up to a great level and grow this sector at an exponential rate", Gupta added.
According to him, TripFactory is a universal platform and is open to all stakeholders and suppliers to take advantage of the platform and make the best out of it. "We welcome airlines, hotels, golf clubs, resorts, tour operators and all businesses associated with golf to work with us", he said.
"TripFactory's platform is a godsend of an opportunity for golfers - it is a superbly designed initiative by a team of visionary technocrats that makes golf vacations an absolute dream and this partnership will ensure the finest of experiences by bringing all the stakeholders together .... we see TripFactory as a consummate aggregator of all things golf concentrated in one hassle-free package - an extremely smart online service which no golfer can do without", Sebastian added.
Numerous other programmes were also announced at APGS 2013 and details will be forthcoming in 214. The new programmes are so exciting that delegates to the summit were left with an extreme sense of anticipation and expectation and perhaps this reaction from Kai Smit, director of projects
Shangri-La International Hotel Management Ltd. summed it all up: "I would like to thank you for a wonderful conference which I found to be informative and enjoyable and shall have no hesitation to attend the next one".
Highlights of APGS 2013 included the induction of the following luminaries the Asia Pacific Golf Hall Of Fame:
• South Korean professional golfer K.J. Choi
• Indonesia billionaire golf course owner and golf pioneer Dr. Ir. Ciputra
The 2013 Asia Pacific Lifetime Achievement award was presented to A.C. Wong, a pioneer of the professional tour in Asia.
The prestigious Custodian of the Environment award was bestowed upon the Mission Hills Group and was received by Dr. Ken Chu, Chairman of the Mission Hills Group.
Amongst the numerous kudos received was this message from Mark Seigel, managing director of GolfAsian, the region's top golf tourism promoter who said, "Congratulations on staging another great event. All of the people I spoke to said it was the best event ever. My only regret is that I could not make!"
The venue for the 2014 Summit will be made in January 2014.