Prochorenko has been actively working for the past 7 years to introduce
golf into Ukraine. He has been involved, directly or on a consultancy
basis, in such golf projects as: "12 Oaks at Koncha Zaspa", "Kyiv
Country Club", "King's Island Golf and Tennis Club", and most recently
in "Golden Gate Golf Club". In the past, Mr. Prochorenko worked
on golf projects in Japan, Vietnam, Korea, Guam, Saipan, Philippines,
Rota, and UAE.
The question often arises as to why Ukraine remains
as one of the last countries in the region without a golf project.
Russia, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, the Czech Republic,
Slovakia, Hungary, and even Moldova already have one or more golf
courses. In actuality, these countries combined have a total of
some 61 golf courses while Ukraine, which has the best land and
the biggest golf tourism potential, has none.
This is a strange development (or lack thereof)
for a country that is agro-based and which has sportsmen that would
love the game once it would be introduced. But the elusiveness of
golf in Ukraine is becoming something of a paradox.
It cannot be said that the reason is the lack
of desire or of attempts. Such notable figures as Former Prime Minister
Victor Yuschenko, Oligarch Ihor Bakay, Hrehorij Surkis, Kyiv Mayor
Oleksander Omelchenko, Former-Health Minister Spizhenko, Boris Nepomyashchyj,
Ihor Didenko, and many westerners, have all tried their hand at
establishing the first golf club in Ukraine. Unfortunately, so far
- all without results. Some have come close and some (like the author
of this article) are still at it, but the results still need to
Bureaucracy and corruption are said to be the
main reasons why golf in Ukraine is not yet a reality, but lack
of leadership, lack of rules and land laws, and lack of serious
investment are other important factors. Until there is a serious
attempt by the country's leaders to broach the subject, golf will
remain an enigma.
The other unfortunate aspect of the golf business
is that in Ukraine it is still viewed as a game and not as a venue
for attracting investments. In the world, golf is viewed as both
a sport and as a serious place for business people to gather for
private discussions, conversations, meetings, and dealings. In Ukraine,
it is often viewed as a misunderstood pastime and as a sport for
the very rich, both very erroneous concepts.
The seriousness of golf as an institution can
be realized by the great number of world political and business
leaders that participate in the game. The fact that golf will soon
be an Olympic event, will also enhance the game as a serious sport.
Many corporations, embassies, and business people in Ukraine complain
about the lack of golf facilities, but complaints can only accomplish
If Ukraine does not come to terms with the above
concepts, it will not only lose the opportunity to develop the next
generation of Olympic hopefuls, but it will also lose on many investment
opportunities from countries and corporations that view golf availability
as a necessity for conducting business and providing their management
with this most important pastime.
The other day, I heard that some Embassies view
countries without golf facilities as "hardship" areas. Far from
being humorous, this statement shows that golf and the golf club
atmosphere have become important social concepts in today's world.
Ukraine needs to come to terms with this and provide
all means necessary to make golf in this country a reality.