Long-time Vietnam Golf Club Manager Launches own Company

April 24, 2009. PGA of America member Jeff Puchalski, who spent more than a dozen years directing the Dalat Palace and Ocean Dunes golf clubs, and stood at the nexus of a dozen more development projects during his 13 years in Asia, has formed FORE Golf Asia, a management and consulting firm specializing in matters key to the successful development and operation of a golf facility.

At a time when golf course projects in Vietnam and across Asia are facing increased scrutiny for their lack of comprehensiveness or inability to be realized (and monetized), one of the country's foremost authorities on golf operations has launched a company aimed at providing the kind of advice those ventures desperately need.

"There are dozens of projects on the drawing board here," said Puchalski, who has lived and worked in Vietnam since 1996, "but many are having their licenses revoked or applications denied because they are not sound enough, in structure, focus or, frankly, aspiration.

"FORE Golf Asia is set up to help developers overcome deficits in their strategies and build and manage golf courses that create socio-economic and environmental benefits. Those issues are, rightfully, huge concerns of this country's right now. And these issues affect any new or proposed project here in Asia."

Among the myriad services FORE Golf Asia offers are market analysis, bid reviewing, architect selection, construction management, turf grow-in supervision, human resources training and facility management. It also possesses access to experts in the fields of construction, F&B operations, media relations and marketing.

In the past year alone, a significant number of golf course projects have failed to get off the ground in Vietnam. Problems have ranged from lack of funding to insufficient proof that they will contribute positively to the country's overall growth and living conditions.

Puchalski, who is as an official advisor to the Vietnam Golf Association (VGA), helped bring the Faldo Series Asia to Vietnam and served as tournament director of the Vietnam Amateur Open, is poised to be part of the solution through an enterprise that can usher ownership groups and boards through all stages of a project's life cycle.

"It's no secret that more and more individuals in Vietnam want to develop golf courses," said Puchalski. "But for many of them, it's a different arena from the one where they made their money. To realize a return on their investment, they need some assistance."

During his tenure at Danao International Holdings, where he also served as the company's vice president from 2003, Puchalski helped make Dalat Palace and Ocean Dunes the most talked-about courses in Vietnam.

Golf Digest (USA) ranked Dalat Palace as the top-rated course in the country in its last three Planet Golf surveys. Ocean Dunes' 9th hole has been hailed as one of the "Best 500 Holes in the World" by GOLF (USA). Asian Golf Monthly put the layouts 1-2 in Vietnam in its 2007 awards issue. Both courses are generally ranked in the top 10 in Asia.

Prior to moving to Vietnam, Puchalski was a golf professional at Wilshire Country Club, one of California's most prestigious and exclusive private golf clubs. He won the Nissan L.A. Open Pro-Am in 1993 and the Vietnam Open Championship in 2001.

In the time he's lived here, Puchalski has seen the country's portfolio of golf clubs grow from three to almost 20. The Montgomerie Links Vietnam, which stands to shoot to the head of that class when all 18 holes open this summer, employed his skills as a consultant in 2007.

About Fore Golf Asia

Launched April 2009, FORE Golf Asia is a full-service, Ho Chi Minh City-based management and consulting company aimed at providing owners, ownership groups and boards with sound, professional advice on matters relating to the development or operation of a golf facility, from pre- to post-opening. Its services range from bid reviewing to construction oversight to operations evaluation.

The company's CEO is Los Angeles native Jeff Puchalski, a 'Class A' PGA professional with more than 15 years of golf course management and operations experience in Asia. To learn more about FORE Golf Asia, visit www.foregolfasia.com.