Gulf News met with recently appointed Managing Director, Golf at ProSports International, Stuart Taylor, 36, to discuss his role and perspective on the local and regional golf scene.
Tell us about your background and your arrival in Dubai?
Stuart: I have been in Dubai for 12 years and joined ProSports International 11 years ago. Originally, I entered the golf industry at Island Golf Club in Dublin, where I was a professional golf assistant, completed all of my PGA training and earned my PGA qualifications. My various roles within ProSports International began shortly after my arrival in Dubai.
I must take this opportunity to thank all of the senior managers and owners of ProSports International for all of their personal and professional support during my stay here.
Tell us more about ProSports International?
ProSports International is one of the main regional distributors of golf equipment and apparel, and our territories are mainly the Middle East and Mauritius. The main brands in our ProSports International portfolio include Titleist, Footjoy, Ping, Greg Norman, Peter Millar and Ralph Lauren.
We also operate and manage professional boutiques – including professional custom fit and repair service – at Emirates Golf Club, Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, Jumeirah Golf Estates, The Els Club, Dubai Hills Golf Club, Arabian Ranches Golf Club, Sharjah Golf & Shooting Club, as well as in Qatar at Doha Golf Club and Education City Golf Club. We are very happy to announce that we are taking over the responsibilities of the pro shop at Abu Dhabi Golf Club from September.
We are the Retail Operators of Topgolf at the Emirates Golf Club and have also moved to off-course retail in our Dubai Superstore as well as online. Our non-golf activities within the ProSport International family focus on rugby through Gilbert and Wilson for tennis, as well as merchandising and corporate apparel partners for events such as Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens, the DP World Tour Championship and the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
What are your short and long term goals at ProSports International?
My role will be to continue to develop our existing relationships with partners and increase my profile in the industry and explore new territories and new business by expanding our reach for ProSports International. Being better at distribution and retail is a constant mantra that we instill daily through in-house training with all of our staff.
We are excited to see and hear all the news of the game’s growth in Saudi Arabia and obviously we are already supporting their existing golf facilities from our head office in Dubai, but as this new market grows we will be ready. to invest in this market at the right time, in the right place with the right partners.
Our model at ProSports International is to work with golf clubs and all of our partners and provide sales channels through golf club memberships, merchandising from local and international visitors, businesses (golf and others), as well as improving our off-course. offering both in store and online.
We are convinced that we cover all markets, we just need to further establish our presence and platforms in all areas in the future and encourage new sources of income. We will not be complacent in such a competitive market.
What about your personal goals?
On a personal note, having been in the UAE for over a decade, I would love to see the industry work more together to benefit the growth of the game. I would love to help and encourage education for all within the golf industry, whether it is encouraging existing people employed in the golf industry in the UAE to develop or educating the casual golfer to learn or take the game more seriously.
Topgolf has significantly given golf in the UAE a fresh and engaging look and encouraged the game to be more accessible. A collaborative industry approach, involving clubs, educators, management and industry employees at all levels, on how to collectively ensure these casual golfers are channeled and kept at within the more structured golf ecosystem and the golf ladder, to be classified as registered and adopted golfers in the golf pyramid in a game that needs to be more inclusive – regardless of age, gender, nationality or ability, with the underlying benefit of having fun in the game and promoting health and well-being.
We have such a variety of golf facilities here in the UAE and in the region available year round, to allow all golfers to go as far as they want.
I am a big fan of junior golf which is generally strong at individual golf clubs at the introductory group level in this part of the world, which ProSports International encourages through various initiatives. It would be nice to see a more structured transition from junior programs to junior golf club membership, but it has always been a unique challenge in such a transient society for expats.
What do you think of the state of the golf industry in this part of the world?
I started as a golf club fitter about ten years ago and it’s exciting to see myself now, as a Managing Director, with nine professionals working for and with me alongside a team of about 75 people.
What I would like to see encouraged is more of a career structure of local talent, both Emirati and expatriates here and in the region, to get more of an internship model that we see in so many countries around the world. . This would, in my opinion, help the industry to grow organically for the benefit of all.