Many of the most powerful are also some of the sharpest minds in golf. In fact, some make our list in part because of their insight and ability to forecast the future. Recently, we met with Mr. William Siwek, the owner of the golf course „Postolowo Golf & Country Club”.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges facing the Polish golf industry?
Each well-functioning mechanism consists of many elements determining its effectiveness, same with golf in Poland.
There are a still few unsettled issues and a need for a qualitative re-evaluation of governance.
The first category certainly includes the unresolved issue of taxing golf courses with the real estate tax, a tax amounting to hundreds of thousands of zlotys a year, affecting finally golfers’ fees. Golf courses are not manufacturing factories to pay such amounts and golfers pay disproportionately much for the game in relation to their level of earnings. The second category is the need to switch to a professional way of managing the Polish Golf Union.
So far, the Union has been managed dilettante, with the exception of one term. No Polish golfer who pays dues has any benefit from the fact that the PGU generates PLN 500,000 in budget surplus at the end of the year. With 500K, you can borrow for example another 2 million, create a strong youth team and launch a large-scale campaign promoting golf in Polish society.
After a few years, the loan will pay itself off, the number of golfers will multiply.
While golf is growing in popularity, how much of that popularity will be long-term?
In my experience, once someone starts playing golf, they stick with it. It’s hard to find a discipline that will steal the show from golf. As a rule, many regret that they started playing so late. Ivan Lendl, who ended his professional tennis career at the age of 33 as an active player claimed that golf is a discipline for rentiers. After tennis he turned to golf and a malicious journalist reminded him of these words … to which Lendl: I still say so and regret that I retired so late.
What do you think are the most important foundations necessary to support, nurture and maintain the interest and loyalty of new golfers?
The good and not bloated atmosphere in Golf Clubs. I remember the very beginning in Poland, we lost a few years to recognize and identify the problem and to reevaluate a few things imported 1:1 from „higher” golf cultures. Those times are over and I hope that the term „threshold anxiety” is a foreign term for every Polish golf novice.
Any thoughts on trends or changes the Polish golf industry will face in the coming year?
Trends are usually a matter of more than a year and created externally on a macro scale. I believe that R&A has made recently many significant changes to its advantage. In our backyard, there is a chance to create good momentum for golf thanks to Adrian Meronk’s successes. It reminds me a bit of the success period of Wojtek Fibak and later on Boris Becker, which was followed by a tennis boom in Poland and Germany. It seems to be a universal rule.
It would be great if it were the same with golf. I am sure that in our country there is a group of people who know how to achieve it.