The pandemic has changed the way we lead our lives forever. Who would have thought of being locked down at home with Netflix alone to spend time with in the 21st century? In the winter of 2022, tens of thousands of crowds enjoyed the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ in the gorgeous stadiums, but just 2 years ago COVID-19 lockdowns were common in almost all the countries around the globe.
OTT streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, and many local platforms have become part of everyone’s daily life and food delivery service has also been indispensable to many. Among the new trends sparked by the pandemic is golf boom. Playing outdoor with a small group of close friends while looking over the beautiful green field has given breath to those who were restricted in where they could go. Particularly the MZ generation, currently leading the consumption trend in society, has chosen golf as means to express their individuality beyond a hobby and that has accelerated the golf industry thrive.
Golf Boom In South Korea
In Korea too, where every trend is fast moving, golf has become the hottest sport in the recent years. According to the Leisure Industry Yearbook 2022 published by the KOLE, the number of golfers in Korea in 2021 was 5,640,000. This is an increase of about 940,000 compared to 2019 and it means 1 out of 10 Korean people plays golf.
Related industries are booming too. The most outstanding industry is the Korean domestic golf apparel market, which is expected to increase from 4.6 trillion won in 2019 to 6.3 trillion won in 2022. Not as well-known as the apparel industry but more successful industry is the domestic golf course industry. Total sales of 505 domestic golf courses, excluding 36 military golf courses, have grown to nearly 7 trillion won(USD 5.3 billion) in 2021 and the overall golf course operating profit rate, which stood at 16.0% in 2018, rose to 31.8% in 2020 and grew rapidly to 39.7% in 2021.
KGIS, Korea Golf Industry Show 2022
This is not surprising, as each golf course consists of various types of grounds, including a tee box, a fairway, the rough, other hazards, and a green and it needs more than 20 different kinds of equipment to take a good care of the whole course. To share the latest golf course management equipment and operation techniques in one place, the KGIS(Korea Golf Industry Show) 2022 was held in KINTEX from December 7 through 9. Hosted alternately every two years by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of Korea and the Korea Turfgrass Research Institute, the biennial event is all about caring golf course and turf.
The event was held for the first time since the pandemic and a total of 57 companies including golf equipment and cart providers, fertilizers and pesticides companies participated. One of the major participants is Kukje Intertrade, who provides a variety of equipment and solutions necessary for course management. They are a recognized leader in the equipment market for their commitment to customer-first attitude fulfilling customers’ needs under any circumstances.
John Deere Gator™ Utility Vehicles
As the certified dealer for John Deere’s golf and turf products to Korea for 24 years since 1998, Kukje Intertrade has shared philosophies on management and customer service, while working together to develop the course management industry. In the expo, on top of John Deere’s powerful and yet nimble tractor 6M(6090M), all-purpose utility vehicles and various types of golf course mowers were displayed.
The best-selling golf equipment in Korea is 2020A/2030A ProGator™ Utility Vehicle. According to a representative of Kukje Intertrade, John Deere Gator Utility Vehicles are equipped with automotive-like features for easier operation and improved operator control, relieving the burden of course managers and producing consistently good performance regardless of the operator’s proficiency.
With more than a handful of the world's top 20 players in the LPGA and a seemingly endless supply of title contenders, South Korea has dominated the women's golf for the past decades. The KGIS is also growing into a world-class golf industry fair both in quantity and quality and will soon represent not just the present but also the future vision and direction of the Korean golf industry.