The number of golf courses in Cambodia went from two to four in 2007 and should double again to eight by 2010 with four more courses in various stages of planning, English-Khmer language newspaper the Cambodian Daily said on Thursday.
The two to open most recently in Siem Reap province are the country's only PGA-rated courses, and they are playing off each other to bolster the kingdom's golf industry, said the paper.
"We are a growing destination, and golf is the fastest growing sport in all of Asia," said Maximilian Kaendler, clubhouse manager at the Phokeethra Country Club in Siem Reap.
About 500 golfers visited the club each month since it opened in April and it hosted the country's first major international golfing event in November.
Meanwhile for the Angkor Golf Resort which opened in November in the province, 1,000 visitors were received in its first month.
"The more we see businesspeople come, the more we see golfers come as well," Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh told the newspaper.
However, said the paper, the Cambodia's golf industry still faces hurdles, as current customers are usually local businessmen and government officials, and few travelers wander onto the courses while visiting the region.
Cham Prasidh said that a demand for golf will arise as long as foreign entrepreneurs continue to invest in Cambodia.
"It is a sport where you develop friendship very fast, which is good for business as well," he said.
(Xinhua News Agency January 17, 2008)