Campus - 15.09.2015 - 00:00 

"Golf has long been established"

From 14 to 20 September 2015, the University of St.Gallen will be hosting the European Universities Golf Championships. OC President and Deputy Head of Unisport Daniel Studer in an interview on clichés concerning golf and the HSG.


14 September 2015.

Golf and the HSG go well together if we believe the clichés. Is this why you are organising the European Universities Golf Championship or are there other reasons?
Daniel Studer: When we selected a sport for a European Universities Championship (EUC) in St.Gallen, we thought about which sport could be organised with a tolerably reasonable amount of money and effort. To that purpose, we took into consideration the infrastructural situation in Eastern Switzerland, as well as the size of the tournament. For instance, we don't have a professional competition size venue for rowing in Eastern Switzerland. Or it would have been difficult to accommodate 500 people for a futsal EUC. This is why we opted for golf. Also, there are wonderful golf courses in Switzerland, and we can easily accommodate the roughly 100 participants in a hotel.

Golf, is that actually a proper sport?

Of course it is! There are many definitions of sport. Generally, sport can be said to boil down to forms of exercise, play and competition which are usually connected to physical activity. Golf has also been recognised as a sport by the International Olympic Committee and will be an Olympic sport again from 2016. On an 18-hole golf course, you're on your legs for about four hours and you walk a considerable distance. This by far exceeds the daily recommendation for metabolic fitness . What is also very exciting is the interaction between stamina and concentration.

Golf is often associated with pensioners who have time and money, and not necessarily with students. Has golf gained ground among younger people in Switzerland at all?

Yes, definitely. The number of junior players in golf clubs is on a constant up and up. Golf has also long been established in student sports. The first Swiss University Golf Championships took place in 1989. And if you look beyond the national borders, you will see that a much greater number of young people play golf than in Switzerland. But then, the costs involved with golf are far lower abroad than in this country.

How many competitors have registered for the championships?
17 women and 54 men from 11 nations have registered. These players represent 16 universities. In the run-up, national championships were staged in various countries. They were usually qualifying rounds for the European Championships.

The tournament is taking place on the Waldkirch Golf Course. The competitors will spend the night in Abtwil. Will the players also see something of the HSG campus and the City of St.Gallen?

Yes, they will; this is important to us. The opening ceremony will take place at the University of St.Gallen, as will the earlier General Technical Meeting. The official reception for the guests will be at the Executive Campus HSG. An additional guided tour of the city has been scheduled for Friday. Also, the shuttle bus between Abtwil and St.Gallen will run to a very regular timetable. During the Tennis EUC, which we organised in 2011, the players also liked to go downtown on their own initiative.

What are the challenges linked with the organisation of a European university tournament?

The biggest challenge is the budget. We receive EUR 65 per day per athlete and official. This will have to cover all the costs: the journey from Zurich Airport, accommodation, food and drink, transport, tournament costs, etc. There are countries in Europe who even make a profit with this entry fee. Here, the planned expenditure is three times the revenue from the entry fees. Our planning process for the European Championships has been going on for some time. Thus we drew up the budget as early as 2014 - and based it on a different euro exchange rate at the time.

The money and work involved appear considerable. What are the benefits of the tournament for the University of St.Gallen?

One point from the Vision and the General Principles is constituted by the HSG's regional roots and international impact. We make an essential contribution to this with the European Championships.

When you organise a golf tournament, you'll surely have to play golf yourself. What's your handicap?

My handicap is that I haven't got enough time for golf. After a Unisport course, I obtained the licence to play on a golf course. Of course I'd be pleased if I were able to do some serious training and play in a tournament soon.

Photo: Heidi Weder

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