Mohammed Attallah CCM is currently The Owner’s Representative for Golf Projects at Talaat Moustafa Group at their flagship project Madinaty Golf Club, and is a Board Member of the Egyptian Golf Federation. Mohammed is the first Egyptian to gain CCM accreditation and sits on the board of the CMAE Middle East and North Africa.
In this Q&A, Mohammed tells us about the industry in Egypt, how it has developed and where there is opportunity for growth.
Why did you decide to become involved in CMAE?
My decision to be involved with the CMAE stemmed out of a desire to ensure that I was equipped to handle the industry ّI found myself in. My involvement in the Sports Industry and in Golf came out of a passion for the sport, rather than a designated career path. I found myself holding some senior positions within the Golf Industry in Egypt and was fast becoming a source of reference within the industry for growth. I was in search of something that could provide me with knowledge, support and tools to enhance the vastly growing experience being gained through my roles within the golf industry in Egypt were validated. A recommendation from a General Manager at one of the golf courses here put me on the path to CMAE. With a little research, I found myself on a conference call with the then Director of Education Michael Braidwood CCM and the rest is history.
You have been in the golf industry in Egypt for several years. How has the industry in Egypt developed over the past decade?
Egypt has been through some challenging times over the last decade for sure. At the peak in 2010 when I was Business Development Manager for the Egyptian Golf Federation, the sky was the limit, and with some great signature golf courses coming online and golf tourism strategies reaping some great rewards they were happy times. As with the situation we all find ourselves in at this current time, things can change very quickly and post 2011 the golf industry was in complete distress. Golf Courses were built for Real Estate development and the development of Golf Tourism was the focus of all golf courses and resorts.
Since then it was seen that not only the industry, but the development of the game within Egypt needed to be the focus for sustainability. Initiatives for corporate golf engagement, grass roots development, and reach out programs began to develop, making golf more accessible and interesting to the established and newly created golf community.
The industry over the last decade has really developed in the level of understanding of Golf and Hospitality offerings. More importantly the industry has begun to embrace collaborative initiatives at all levels of the sport to reestablish the Golf Industries potential within Egypt.
I am fortunate enough to see the development of the industry through the eyes of the governing body as a board member of the Egyptian Golf Federation and on the ground in the development of golf facilities as The Owner’s Representative for a Real Estate Developer and their Golf Asset.
I honestly believe that through the great work of key individuals, clubs and governing bodies we have begun to shape the industry to begin to fulfill a long-awaited potential.
Where do you see the biggest opportunity for growth in the Egyptian Golf industry?
Even though great strides have been made to develop golf in Egypt, the corner stone of its development lies in the ongoing development of the game on a domestic level. Obviously, Egypt’s Golf Tourism potential is still largely untapped and has a great offering but the development and growth of the game within the country remains its biggest opportunity.
Through the work of the EGF and clubs in Cairo and Alexandria, participation rates are increasing with new golfers especially amongst juniors and ladies beginning to participate more avidly within game.
Even though within the current domestic market competition is very high between golf clubs. The spirit of collaboration for a greater goal is being embraced with initiatives to grow the game both domestically and internationally.
Even though we are still flying under the radar as a country, I believe the growth and development of those involved within the golf industry in Egypt are working together to ensure that opportunities are realized and that industry can flourish moving forward.
How do you feel your involvement with CMAE can support growth in the Egyptian Club Industry?
Egypt itself has a deep tradition in Clubs and for generations being a member of a club was always a fabric of Egyptian Society.
Sporting Clubs, are facing a move from traditions and are realizing as with the rest of the world that they need to evolve to co-exist with the ever-increasing choices being offer by competing entertainment and sporting offerings.
This provides Egypt’s traditional clubs with the opportunity to evolve and grow but the traditional clubs need to equip themselves to embrace the development of an overall entertainment offering that is changing rapidly.
The Key tool to build and develop these opportunities within the club industry is Education, and it has always been a goal to harness the power of CMAE and its education programs to support in equipping the massive Egyptian Club Industry with the tools to progress in an ever changing dynamic.
Kevin Fish CCM once said to me, it is our duty to “send the elevator back down”, and it is a burning ambition to establish education pathways within Egypt that are specific for club management development.
How do you see the industry in Egypt being affected by the corona virus pandemic?
Currently many golf courses and all sporting clubs are closed in Egypt, so the short-term effects are damaging. However, I think Egypt will bounce back quite positively when we finally get a grip of this pandemic. Obviously, the effects on Tourism or the willingness for people to travel is still to be seen, and the longer the COVID-19 situation continues confidence in and restriction to foreign travel may change. However, that being said, Egypt domestically is geared to recover quite quickly once restrictions are lifted and is ready to welcome the World once again, once it is deemed safe to do so.
Tell us about your experience in sitting the CCM exam and how you felt when you found out you had passed.
I have always seen the education gained from the MDP programs valuable and instinctively many of the learning objectives have become installed in me. However, that does not mean anything when it is time to preparing for the Exam. The guidelines and past papers provided by CMAE were extremely valuable in my preparation for the exam.
As with most people who have and will sit the CCM exam, it had been a long time since we were in a class room environment. I organized with some great support from the team at CMAE to sit my exam at the British International School in Cairo, and it really was surreal being back in a classroom under exam conditions. Once the exam was over, it really was an anxious wait to get the results.
I remember I got the call from Nigel Cartwright on New Years Eve. I had just come off the golf course having lost in a singles matchplay tie in sudden death. Minutes later I got a call asking for “Mohammed Attallah CCM” I knew it was Nigel and let off a massive scream of celebration. The guy I had just lost to and the whole clubhouse must have thought I was the happiest loser of a golf game in History with my displays of emotion. At this point I must say I finally understood the saying that “somethings are bigger than golf” :). Hasten to say it was one of the best New Year’s Eve Celebrations in a while.