Gulf News caught up at MyGolf Dubai with Australian Jakub Gancarz, a golf enthusiast who, with his father, are developing a new concept for ‘Accessible Golf’. They are meeting developers, golfers, golf industry experts all over the UAE and Middle East to get feedback and discuss potential collaboration with investors and partners in this part of the world.
Gulf News: Jakub, welcome to Dubai. Tell us about yourself first.
Jakub: I am a 24 year-old scratch golfer with a passion for the game. I am originally from Canberra, Australia and played competitively at a junior and men’s state level. Growing up I watched DP World Tour events such as the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, the Slync.IO Dubai Desert Classic and the DP World Tour Championship. I first visited the UAE in January for the two DP World Tour Rolex Series events, and it’s good to see old friends such as Min Woo Lee doing so well in the professional ranks.
Since being here I have been impressed by the quality of all the golfing facilities, from the golf courses, academies, and clubhouses to the new concepts such as TOPGOLF Dubai or MyGolf Dubai. It’s also nice to know there is an Aussie influence in the golf industry here, with Greg Norman designing the courses at Jumeirah Golf Estates as well as Ian Baker Finch designing Arabian Ranches Golf Club. The city of Dubai is interesting to me, where it seems to thrive as a fast paced and dynamic metropolis for everything, including the growth of golf.
Gulf News: Tell our readers all about your golfing vision.
Jakub: I am proposing a concept for a golf course design, the first of its kind, where golfers play 12 holes in one hour. We know there is a demand in the recreational golfing market for such a concept, particularly in a city such as Dubai. I am undergoing a legal process to help protect and patent the idea, whilst building connections in the golfing industry.
Gulf News: Sounds interesting! Explain a little more?
Jakub: People are ‘time poor’ these days and are looking for alternative experiences to satisfy their golfing bugs. Think TOPGOLF and indoor simulation meets traditional 18-hole golf. Faster, enriching, time sensitive, innovative and accessible golf. By providing an entertaining experience while integrating all elements of the game, you have a concept that, in my opinion, is part of the future of the golf space. We want to provide people the option of playing golf not just on the weekends – but before work, during work, and after work under floodlights.
Gulf News: Jakub, who do you think will be attracted to this form of golf?
Jakub: There is a huge group of people who want to either play more golf, return to golf after giving it up, or simply pick up golf but do not have the option of a format that can accommodate their busy lifestyle. The concept aims to address these needs. It is also a great opportunity to start the game without the commitment, financial or timewise, that may not be available to the individual. The concept feeds into what people already want and works as an initiative for ‘Growing the Game’.
Gulf News: Explain how does it all work?
Jakub: The experience includes long and short game elements to challenge the golfer. Launch monitor technology helps you score points and has you finish in a short game area to play for your final score. Each hole is a separate challenge where you go from hole to hole just as you would in traditional 18 hole golf. A handicap system can be incorporated to create fair competition.
Gulf News: What is the USP of your concept?
Jakub: The format is addictive in nature where different challenges await you on each hole. It incorporates all facets of the game, such as accuracy and length of long shots while playing with touch and feel for the short game to shoot a low number. You essentially have the same experience as you would on a traditional golf course, except you are playing more golf and walk less in a condensed area.
Gulf News: Why would such a concept suit Dubai?
Jakub: When you look beyond the playing experience, land is more valuable than ever while the price of resources and products to maintain turf surfaces continue to rise. For someone looking to include a golfing facility into a real estate project or to simply develop more golf course experiences, this is a perfect opportunity. The land necessary to build such a facility would require between 20% - 30% of what a traditional golf course requires whilst reducing the resource intensiveness of water, products, and maintenance. This is done while ensuring golfers have the experience they expect from an outdoor natural turf golf course.
Gulf News: Why does Dubai and the Middle East need this?
Jakub: The government of Dubai has a strong vision for its city, to attract the best people and ideas to further accelerate their progress. With the concept being a novelty, it will further attract people to visit Dubai and play golf. This problem-solving concept would further strengthen the UAE’s reputation for growing golf participation through adopting innovative ideas.