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$60 million golf fund launched to redevelop under-performing courses into sport entertainment zones

$60 million golf fund launched to redevelop under-performing courses into sport entertainment zones
December 13, 2021

A $60 million PlayGolf Fund has been launched by property and tourism company Mulpha Australia (the Australian arm of Kuala Lumpur-listed Mulpha International) providing the equity and partnering with Avid Sports Management and Golf Australia. The PlayGolf Fund aims to secure long-term leases of at least 20 years on under-performing golf courses or driving ranges and to redevelop them into sport entertainment and attraction zones.

Mulpha has committed up to $60 million to golf courses and driving ranges seeking to reposition existing sites to cater for a broader target audience and combine golfing facilities with hospitality and potentially other entertainment and leisure attractions. This investment will deliver state of the art facilities with widespread appeal in their communities.

Mulpha Chief Executive Greg Shaw advised “The PlayGolf Fund partners have a shared goal to encourage more people regardless of age, gender or skill level to play and enjoy golf in a more accessible and entertaining way.

“In recent years we have seen many traditional public and member golf facilities and driving ranges struggle to find the combination of capital, development capability and specialised operational expertise to transition towards becoming more enticing integrated golf, hospitality and entertainment venues.

“Together with Avid Sports and Golf Australia, we have developed the PlayGolf Fund, a comprehensive solution for golf venues. We are pleased to provide the significant investment to private and public facility owners in return for long term operational leases. The PlayGolf Fund will also entertain innovative concepts that are consistent with the objectives of the fund.”

Avid Sports Managing Director James Cooper added “Australian golf is broadening its focus in acknowledgement that all golf is golf. The PlayGolf Fund can assist in the delivery of far superior public facilities with less commercial and financial risk by bringing investment and creating alternative formats to appeal to the broader golfing community.”

James Cooper, managing director of Avid Sports, which runs Golf Central in Brisbane and will handle the operational element of the venture, said the sport must evolve to attract new participants and that “entertainment-based golf” was part of the game’s future adding “the PlayGolf Fund can assist in the delivery of far superior public facilities with less commercial and financial risk by bringing investment and creating alternative formats to appeal to the broader golfing community.”

The PlayGolf Fund is actively seeking expressions of interest to reinvigorate the participation, membership and utilisation of golf facilities on a sustainable and commercial basis. Applications are sought from local government authorities and membership-based clubs to investigate their projects and opportunities. The program offers a combined funding and operational solution for successful projects to become a reality for the benefit of Australia’s golf community and public interests.

Golf Australia Chief Executive James Sutherland notes “In Australia there are more than 400,000 active golf members and 800,000 social golfers. From first timers through to the most experienced of golfers, the social engagement, health benefits and outdoor experience of golf has provided much needed outdoor entertainment to more and more Australians over the past 18 months.

“Frankly, there has never been a more exciting time to be a part of Australian golf. The industry is aligned and working hard to make golf available to all, whether you like an on-course game, a simulator experience or a putt with family and friends. This partnership with Mulpha and Avid Sports will provide much needed capital to invest in golf infrastructure with the opportunity to increase participation by active and aspirational golfers across Australia. I can’t wait to see the ideas and the impact it has on what is already the second-most popular participation sport for adults in the country.”

Cooper concluded “over the past 17 years Avid Sports has assisted more than 25 courses, driving ranges and golf clubs to look at different models to develop, enhance and sustain golf engagement. The PlayGolf Fund goes much further by offering the opportunity for local government authorities and membership-based clubs to fund projects that both cater to their existing golf users as well as foster growth amongst those who are developing their passion for golf.”

First round applications to access the $60 million funding package are due by 31st March 2022 with subsequent rounds considered thereafter. Details on PlayGolf Fund and how to apply can be found at www.playgolffund.com.au 

Images courtesy Golf Central in Brisbane

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