Olivier Dhonte: “Because of this I purchased a golf course in France”

As a part of its investigation into the acquisition and sale of golf programs in France, Golf Planète met the brand new proprietor of the Albret golf course within the south-west of France. The target is to grasp the motivations that pushed an entrepreneur to embark on this sort of journey that everybody is aware of is as perilous as it’s thrilling and the place coronary heart and fervour should rub shoulders with purpose and actuality. We are going to publish different testimonials quickly which illustrate an necessary actuality of golf in France.

Olivier Dhonte turned the proprietor of this Albret golf course situated on the crossroads of Gers, Landes and Lot-et-Garonne. A golf course that has had a number of lives over the previous 30 years. Removed from a big inhabitants base, between Nérac and Agen, the place is nonetheless magnificent on the gates of Gascony and its hilly terrain coated with pastures and vineyards.

That is Gerard Thuillier, a Norman, a peasant pushed from his nation by the necessity to feed his household and looking for a welcoming land, who exploited the property earlier than reworking it right into a golf course with the assistance of a Basque, Jean-Louis Pega. The primary 9 holes opened in 1986. The others will observe and can supply a route with unevenness and exquisite views of the valley… The 9, a protracted par 5 downhill, is, as such, very consultant of the course.
Two character bastides, considered one of which is the previous secure of Henri IV, full the decor.

Olivier Dhonte holds a DESS in administration management and data techniques; this 53-year-old entrepreneur, married and father of 5 youngsters, created, in 1999, the corporate Viseo, consulting and data techniques implementation firm; he’s now primarily based in Singapore to develop Viseo’s actions in Asia Pacific. The corporate employs 2,700 individuals for a worldwide turnover of 300 million euros.

Roland and Denis Machenaud

“Golf is a ardour”

Golf Planète: However first, how did you fall in love with golf?

Olivier Dhonte: I used to be born in Roubaix and my dad and mom moved to the south of France to Saint-Girons once I was 6 years previous. I hit my first balls in Labastide-de-Sérou in Ariège, south of Toulouse. I performed so much once I was a scholar earlier than taking a break for ten years due to my household {and professional} obligations at Accenture and L’Oréal.

GP: Why does a enterprise supervisor such as you determine in the future to purchase a golf course when you understand that the return on funding is greater than random and in any case, requires investments over a number of years?

OD: The target is just not solely financial: for me, it’s a private challenge completely different from my skilled challenge. In fact, a steadiness have to be discovered in order that this golf challenge is just not a bottomless pit. I need to even level out {that a} golf course may be worthwhile: for this, the catchment space have to be checked, the prices managed and the advertising supply enticing.
That being stated, golf can also be and firstly a ardour for me. My choice is instantly linked to this ardour which pertains to Nature, to conviviality, to the sporting problem – but in addition to my attachment to this area of south-west France which I like and which might be our household anchor. This south-west the place I follow golf right now once I come again from Singapore the place I content material myself with the follow as a result of it’s so troublesome to play there. Other than the Albret golf course, I prefer to play the Phare golf course in Biarritz or the Médoc golf course in Bordeaux.


I most popular to work with a specialist


What was the strategy chosen to search out the golf course you had been on the lookout for?

On the forefront of my specs, there was the geographical location as I’ve simply stated. Then, I needed lodging on web site to be already provided or to be shortly achievable. Lastly, I needed there to be an 18-hole golf course and catering.
I then most popular to work with a specialist to search out this golf course: whereas looking on the web, I discovered Thierry Denier (TD Golf Conseil) whose Golf Planète not too long ago printed an interview and who accompanied me from the start. We had been in a position to conclude each when it comes to land and the working firm. The deal was concluded pretty shortly since my first contact with Thierry dates from March 2021, the letters of intent had been signed in August of that very same yr and the finalization was carried out in January 2022. That’s 9 months on the complete.

What was the place for hesitations and surprises in such an method?

The difficulties had been linked to the complexity of the land which didn’t profit from the specified homogeneity. Servitudes and parcels of different house owners required an city planning clarification of the PLU. The opposite query was after all associated as to if golf may generate profits or not. And it is not instantly apparent. Particularly for the reason that realities should not at all times as rosy as we think about and due to this fact, it’s needed to obviously discern the waves of investments to be anticipated in order that golf is just not structurally dropping. It goes shortly and reaches a whole lot of 1000’s of euros in terms of sprinkler techniques or rolling tools.


Alejandro Reyes and Rubens Palacios
to safe the three axes of my coverage


What are the most important areas of coverage that you’ve got entrusted to your administration and its crew?

The primary axis is to safe and improve the variety of our subscribers. We now have 220 right now and we have to get to 300. To do that, we now have to work on the supply with, specifically, the development of the course, the event of instructing and the creation of a small sport space. Alejandro Reyes and Rubens Palacios advise us on these factors.

The second level is to create new golfers, as Pascal Grizot and Christophe Muniesa suggest. So, discover younger individuals and new practitioners who will come to swell the regulars of the Albret golf course. Our new brief sport construction will serve specifically to attain this goal.

Lastly, will probably be needed to draw extra passing golfers: lodging then turns into important in order that our guests can keep for a number of days. In the present day there may be a suggestion via the Bastides which is an unbiased construction, however our imaginative and prescient right now is extra oriented in direction of the development of a resort and a resort residence on the heights of the golf course, on the horizon of two or three years.

You reside in Singapore: how are you going to become involved in operations?

I do not become involved in operations. Our director, Pierre Emmanuel Rivaud works daily on operations with a crew of round ten individuals. I discuss very repeatedly with him in regards to the technique, about developments, about what ought to be put in place to enhance the product and the expertise for our golfers.


It would take a couple of years


How do you reconcile the digital tradition that’s your day by day life with that of the agricultural actuality of a golf course within the South-West?

It is a good query that joins the primary: maybe the target can also be to discover a human and direct contact with individuals. Videoconferencing is sweet, however I additionally prefer to rediscover a sure human actuality that comes from direct contact with Nature and golf gamers. Even when, and you understand it nicely at Golf Planète, digital can also be an necessary factor of golf right now via the dissemination of knowledge but in addition via reservations, distance studying or advertising.

When will you be capable of say: I’ve succeeded in my problem?

Clearly once we suggest a completely built-in supply, from the Academy to lodging and the standard of the course. By having good suggestions from our {golfing} buddies, both members or passing via! It would take a couple of years.


The testimonials of the director and the founder

Golf Planète additionally met, on web site, the director and the founding father of the golf course. Here’s what they advised us.

Pierre-Emmanuel Rivaud:

For me, this challenge is a good alternative, at 42 years previous, after having been a trainer and director. What’s placing right here is the great thing about the place. Elevate your head and look! You shortly fall in love with golf…

We’re fortunate to be so nicely supervised by high-level area specialists, whether or not Alejandro Reyes or Rubens Palacios for the course or by the professional Laurent Cabane who’s a good friend of our president…. There may be work to be accomplished, if solely as a result of too many holes are blindfolded and the bunkers want an overhaul. A part of the watering can also be to be reviewed and can profit from new tools that permits us to higher management our consumption. Lastly, the academy might be open to younger individuals and adults wishing to study golf… On this land which advantages from sand and water quarries, the way forward for golf is trying good…”.

Gerard Thuillier:

“It is actually a pleasure for me who did every thing to create a golf course on this land to see right now a passionate entrepreneur come to relaunch the Albret golf course.

Particularly since considered one of my daughters, Delphine, remains to be there at reception. The location is outstanding however I need to confess one thing: my thought of ​​making a golf course right here didn’t come from a specific ardour as a result of, to inform the reality, I hate sports activities and I’ve by no means accomplished any!

However within the 80s, it was modern and I gave in to it. I do not remorse it as a result of golf saved the great thing about the positioning and created jobs”.

Info: click on right here

Tel Delphine: 05 53 65 30 30. Inexperienced Charges: from €30 (Gofly off-season) to €56 (excessive season).

Tel Lodging Les Bastides du Golf, Olivia: 05 53 97 20 75.

Location: Casteljaloux (the closest golf course) 20 kms, Agen (one other golf course) 35 kms, Bordeaux 120 kms, Toulouse 160 kms.

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