With a damaged document for the variety of licensees for the second yr in a row, Christophe Muniesa is glad with the dynamics of golf in France because the covid-19 disaster. The Director Common of the French Golf Federation justifies the rise of 1 euro within the license in 2023… A rise beneath inflation. The previous skilled participant additionally seems to be again on the excessive stage of golf in France, within the wake of the locomotive Céline Boutier, whereas impatiently awaiting the Paris 2024 Olympic Video games.
Interview by David CHARPENET
Golf Planète: What’s the evaluation of the yr 2022 when it comes to licensees?
Christopher Muniesa: We broke the document for the variety of licensees for the second consecutive yr with 441,961 licensees in 2022. The development was initiated earlier than the Covid since between 2017 and 2019, we elevated the variety of licensees. However we had not but caught up with the document stage of 2012. This displays the arrival of recent golfers. This improve is an effective sign despatched to golf golf equipment as a result of it means extra potential gamers. In golf, there’s a sturdy attachment to a membership and powerful loyalty since greater than 90% of licensees renew their license. We even have an fascinating charge of licensees in relation to the variety of practitioners. These are a variety of optimistic indicators.
The symbolic barrier of 500,000 licensees is a acknowledged goal
GP: Do you have got any targets for the subsequent few years?
CM: We now have gone from the seventh to the 4th largest federation when it comes to licensees. The symbolic barrier of 500,000 licensees is a acknowledged short-term goal. We work loads with the French Horse Using Federation, which is a part of the out of doors sports activities and leisure alliance with us. And we hope to get nearer to them to tickle them on the rostrum, behind soccer and tennis. However we’re not in an aggressive logic of taking market share both. We additionally know that the gear should be in keeping with the variety of golfers. We now have about 700 golf equipment in France, if ever we’ve too many golfers, we can have a counterproductive impact as a result of golfers will be unable to play when they need. And it is sophisticated to construct new gear for land and ecological causes particularly.
GP: How do you clarify this optimistic phenomenon?
CM: We’re definitely reaping the advantages of our coverage of growing small gear akin to pitch & putts particularly. We participated within the creation of 100 small buildings and this permits new golfers to climb this primary step in direction of apply extra simply. It’s estimated that this program has created 80,000 golfers between 2010 and 2020. We now have additionally developed a program for schoolchildren to introduce golf to the youngest and make them need to apply this sport on their very own, by taking a FFG license.
The 2018 Ryder Cup in France was a catalyst and a spark
GP: Do you assume there was a Ryder Cup impact?
CM: The 2018 Ryder Cup in France was a catalyst and a spark. It helped draw media, investor and public consideration to golf. However it’s not the Ryder Cup alone that was going to assist us inflate the variety of licensees. It was, alternatively, clearly a lever to persuade establishments such because the state and traders. Similar to the return of golf to the Olympic Video games, which has actually given credibility and legitimized our sport.
GP: The FFG license pricing coverage was established with a plan that was because of finish in 2022. Is there a brand new plan that justifies rising the license by one euro in 2023?
CM: In 2009, throughout a unprecedented assembly, we validated with the golf equipment the candidacy for the 2018 Ryder Cup and a staggered improve of three euros within the license to fulfill the prices of the group if we had been chosen. We had been round 90% of optimistic votes for these two topics (92% for the reception of the Ryder Cup and 83% for the plan to extend the license). From 2013 to 2022, there was due to this fact 3 euros within the improve within the value of licenses which was allotted to the Ryder Cup plan which involves an finish in 2022. After we took this choice in 2009, we didn’t improve the tariff for the primary three years. So the 2009 vote noticed its first tariff consequence in 2013. The tariff has elevated by greater than three euros since 2013, however nonetheless beneath inflation.
In 2023, the value of the license is elevated by one euro for a value of 58 euros. That is roughly a 2% improve. A golfer spends on common 1,200 euros to play golf and 500 euros to equip themselves. A license of 57 or 58 euros stays fairly little. And it’s our duty to implement a license that permits us to function correctly and permit golfers to play in good circumstances.
The funds is 70% tied to licensing income
This improve is justified for a number of causes. Initially economically by the present inflation of 6%. And furthermore, this improve permits us, amongst different issues, to spend money on ecological transition (with help for golf equipment of their wastewater reuse tasks and within the creation of small basins to obtain runoff water) and the upkeep of biodiversity, particularly with our strengthening of agronomic experience. To not point out the miscellaneous prices, notably associated to the vandalism suffered by eleven golf programs. The FFGolf contributed to the attorneys’ charges when needed.
In 2018, we carried out a research which estimated the financial weight of golf at 1.5 billion euros and 15,000 jobs. General, the FFG should be there to help your entire golf business. All of this requires a funds that’s 70% tied to licensing income.
We really feel a type of glass ceiling
GP: There is no such thing as a French golfer on this planet high 100 on the finish of 2022. It’s inevitably a disappointment regardless of Céline Boutier’s twelfth place on this planet for ladies…
CM: Sadly, we haven’t any male golfers on this planet’s high 100, however we’re fortunate to have a Celine Boutier who’s twelfth on this planet, which is a primary in France, all sexes mixed and all eras mixed. She went by means of the coaching cycles of the Fed as Pauline Roussin-Bouchard notably. And that continues to be a satisfaction for us. However it’s true that it is a frustration for us to not have a male participant on this planet’s high 50 (Editor’s notice: Victor Perez is in one of the best place together with his 106th place on December 12). It’s in fact a frustration additionally for gamers who aspire to the best stage. Victor Perez and Antoine Rozner have fallen within the rankings because the Covid years and it’s hoped that they are going to transfer up the world rankings and that different skills will emerge.
GP: Can this evaluation name into query the present mannequin of French coaching?
CM: Our system is efficient in releasing a lot of good gamers. We can have sixteen French on the DP World Tour in 2023. However we really feel a type of glass ceiling. In contrast to our neighbours, we didn’t have Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm, Martin Kaymer, Francesco Molinari, Henrik Stenson… The center of our motion focuses on adolescents between 14 and 20 years outdated. As quickly as they flip skilled, they grow to be autonomous once more as with all the opposite federations. However we are able to definitely be even higher on the schooling of the longer term champion. And that is the place we focus our efforts with our efficiency facilities like Terre-Blanche and Golf Nationwide.
GP: The transition from newbie to skilled standing is a key second in a golfer’s profession in such a person sport. What’s the function of the FFG on this transition?
CM: We attempt to accompany the longer term skilled in his means of emancipation, however the final step belongs to the golfers. The aids of the comparable continental federations are fairly decrease than these of the FFG. We use greater than 100,000 euros to assist this transition into the skilled world. It’s a focused assist meant for one of the best amateurs. We selected this components fairly than much less assist, given to a higher quantity. However anyway, the assistance of the Fed stays fairly derisory within the success or not of an expert golfer. The distinction is extra with the power of an excellent newbie participant to adapt to the calls for of the skilled world than with the assistance of the Fed. The FFGolf additionally helps not directly by organizing occasions in France. Support for tournaments rises to 700,000 euros in 2022 for the group of all occasions on French soil.
The truth that Martin Coach makes an software can stimulate the Blues
GP: In 2024, there will probably be an excellent occasion on French soil with the Paris Olympic Video games. The Franco-American Martin Coach has overtly declared that he desires to play for France. What do you assume ?
CM: Martin Coach has truly positioned himself to attempt to be a part of the France workforce on the Paris Olympics in 2024. We discover that fairly optimistic. Martin had already inquired about Tokyo 2020. This time he began the process with us and the IGF (Worldwide Golf Federation). It was facilitated by his French passport. The return of golf to the Olympics solely dates again to 2016 in Rio and the celebrities shunned the 2 editions in Brazil after which in Japan. The Tricolores haven’t all the time proven themselves to be motivated both. The truth that Martin Coach is making use of can stimulate the Blues and we discover that very optimistic.
GP: Then again, there will probably be no paragolf in Paris…
CM: No Sadly. We’re campaigning for paragolf to be on this system of the Paralympic Video games. However that wasn’t accepted for 2024. Possibly 2028… It is all of the extra unlucky that we’ve an excellent probability of medals.
Picture: Alexis Orloff / ffgolf