Back to the contents
Golf in Macedonia
read in Macedonian


Full disclosure: I am not a golfer.  I have tried, on a few occasions, to play, and I suppose if I practiced it, I might learn to play it.  But I don’t have the time or patience. Mind you I do a five kilometer jog every morning around a golf course.

But I’ve always been fascinated by the sport –  by the game, by its history (15th century, Scotland), but especially by the economics of it.  Like all professional sports in our globalized world, the game of golf is big money.  In my home state of Arizona, golf is a very popular sport, due, to a large degree, to our climate.  We have near-perfect weather much of the year which attracts retired people to live here so they can play golf most of the year.  Our climate also attracts big golf tournaments.  The Golf Industry Association of Arizona estimates that the game of golf contributes over $3.4 billion dollars per year to Arizona’s economy and employs over 20,000 people.  The Professional Golf Association’s annual Match Play Tournament in Marana, Arizona, about 10 miles from my home, is played every February and brings in about $75 million dollars in just a few days.  Those are impressive numbers.

So when I first heard – over 10 years ago I might add – that there were people in Macedonia – mostly expatriates – who wanted to bring golf to Macedonia I thought it was a great idea.  I still do.  Given the large number of foreigners who live in Macedonia and surrounding areas (think: Kosovo with all of the Americans there), Macedonia – with its near-perfect weather for much of the year – would be an ideal setting for a world-class golf course, along with a resort. Granted you’re not going to have world-class tournaments coming to Macedonia anytime soon, but the economic impact of one more globally known sport will begin to take hold.

That’s why I was pleased to learn about the Macedonian Golf Federation and its formation last year, fittingly, for Macedonia’s 20th anniversary as an independent country.  The stated goal of the Federation according to its website is to “promote golf in the Republic of Macedonia.”  In addition, the website notes that the “MGF is regulated by the Agency for Youth and Sports and administered as a separate association.  The Federation is funded by the Government of Macedonia as well as corporate and private sponsors.”  Even better is the news that the “Federation is working together with investors to build a professional 18-hole golf resort in Macedonia.” 

Pero Jolevski of the Federation has also told me that another goal of the Federation is to find young talent to compete in world class tournaments. He tells me further that the Federation was founded through the passion of Laze Perchevski, a Macedonian emigrant who moved to Australia at the age of five and later on moved to San Francisco and now plays golf in the top American leagues. Currently, the Federation is teaching golf to elementary and middle school students in Bitola and has further plans to teach and find talented young golfers in every school in Macedonia. And later this week, from June 30th until July 1st the Macedonian Golf Federation is hosting the 1st Macedonian Open Tournament at St. Sofia Golf Club in Bulgaria. Later on in the year during the first week of October, the Macedonian Golf Team will be competing with every nation in the world at the Golf Amateur World Cup hosted in Antalya, Turkey.  Finally17-year-old Petar Stojanovski, one of the most successful golf players in Australia, will be playing for the Macedonian National Team starting this year.

All of this is encouraging.  Given the Government’s current sprint to bring in foreign direct investment, anything the government can do to help in this regard with a professional 18-hole golf resort would be good.  Not just for the economic impact it will eventually have, but for the public relations impact it will have.  In my perusal on the Web for news about Macedonia and golf, for instance, I found this from the “Top 100 Golf Courses of the World” website, hosted by the United Kingdom.  While there was no information listed for golf in Macedonia (of course), there was a dedicated web page for the country of Macedonia with some useful information about Macedonia.  It also notes “The country is making great progress and, although golf is not yet top of the Macedonian agenda, we’ve heard that a five star golf resort is on the drawing board, which will be located close to the airport. We’ll keep you posted as and when we hear more. In the meanwhile, if you can throw any further light on golf in Macedonia, we’ll be thrilled to hear from you.”  Anything that casts a positive light on Macedonia is good.

Finally, this is good politically.  The Macedonian Golf Team has been registered, internationally, under Macedonia’s constitutional name, the Republic of Macedonia.  The European Golf Association proudly lists “The Republic of Macedonia” on its website.  And why not?  That is the name of the country.

Copyright ©
Jason Miko
Designed & hosted by
Jurak OT Petrof Studio