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Interview: Arek Mu¶

November 2020 / interview : Arek Mu¶, owner of Rosa Private Golf & Country Club

"Rosa Private" what does it mean, is the field is closed to outsiders?

Rosa has been open to everyone for 15 years - as if someone hadn't noticed. The very term PRIVATE is associated with an anecdote from the time of preparation for the construction of the field. At that time, PRESS GLASS, which owns the field, was a company 10 times smaller than it is today, and in order to obtain financing for the construction, it hired one of the best consulting companies (big 5 and now 4) to make the business plan that was needed to raise the capital.

The plan assumed that in 2015 there will be over 100 championship golf courses in Poland and about 100,000 golfers. In view of such predictions, I came to the conclusion that only ROSA as a private field can defend itself against the crowds attacking to play in this field. And what is the reality in 2020 we can all see.

How to build / maintain one of the most beautiful golf courses in Europe?

Oh… is one of the most beautiful ones, I don't know, opinions among Polish golfers are strongly divided on this subject, and not only on this one. Coming back to your question, it's quite simple - you need to get a good golf course architect, have a sufficient budget, and have an angelic patience to contribute a lot of money to your maintenance every year. But most of all, to have a great passion and need to improve the world around you. Indeed, I sometimes overly care about details but I don't consider Rosa a typical golf course but a place to hang out and play golf!

Rather, in the future, I would like this place to be such a dendrological park and, by the way, a field... which of course is not understood by my club members but it's hard!

Has the pandemic influenced the golf business, the opening of "green areas" and the closure of golf courses - ignorance of the topic by those who decide, how the development of golf in Poland is perceived by a leading global businessman, being a leader in his industry, and any suggestions for decision makers?

Golf is not a business to me, so I don't know. I can only guess that on the one hand the golf season was shortened by the lockdown, but also it seems that fewer people went abroad and stayed in their clubs. The whole situation with COVID surprised everyone, including our decision-makers, I do not blame anyone in this situation because everyone also acted a bit in the dark. As far as I know, similar regulations have been introduced in other countries.

As for the advice for the future for Polish decision-makers, I will refrain from giving them, and it seems to me that this is a hopeless task.

Is running a golf course a profitable business? The Scandinavian countries, smaller than Poland, have thousands of playing golfers involved with their whole families. Do we have a chance to get close to them?

Golf, like any other business, of course, can be profitable, with the right number of golfers, a longer season and a more affluent society. Maybe it will be like that in Poland in 10-15 years, but as the situation at the beginning of my speech shows, it does not have to be that way.

It is, of course, the effort of all interested parties who want it to be so in Poland. I mean the authorities of the Polish Golf Union and PGA, which they rather don't care if it happens.

Certainly, a lot of blame lies with the Polish golfers whom I observe from the position of the owner of the course and I have the impression that they think that they should play almost for free, and not to mention buying water or beer, and eating dinner in a golf club, an unnecessary form of stuffing the owners of the course golf course. And I do not mean myself, because that is what I would be able to understand, but some of my colleagues - golf course owners, for whom ensuring a good quality course involves a really large financial effort. I do not really understand certain rules imposed by the Polish Golf Union regarding tournaments organized under their patronage, and the fact that some players who finish their PGA course and suddenly become professional golfers do not pay for playing on the courses. I appeal to all owners to disrespect this rule, the more that for most of these professionals it is not a main source of income.

But there are also positive signals like the Golf Channel Polska launched by my colleague Marek Sowa, which certainly contributes to the promotion of golf among Polish golfers on a global level.

Land tax for growing grass, does it make sense?

No, I wouldn't call a golf course tax a grass growing tax. The case is much more complex, as far as I know most golf course owners have somehow handled it on their own. The tax itself is not, I think, the biggest item in the cost of maintaining a golf course.

Development plans, in what direction?

Hope you mean business plans, not golf plans. In 2019, together with my Swiss partner, I launched a second glassworks in Ujazd near ŁódĽ. In 2020, a second plant in the USA, in Virginia, and a plant in Nowogard near Szczecin, so finally we are not idle. The pandemic had a slight impact on the pace of our investments. At the moment, we are finalizing the purchase of land for a plant in Lithuania and the UK, and next year we will start building production plants in these locations. Although observing what is happening in Poland today politically, I find this staunch liberal very worried, which we also take into account when making plans for the future

Best regards to all golfers, good health and a normal 2021 season!