Olivier Dhonte: "This is why I bought course"

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As part of its investigation into the purchase and sale of golf courses in France, Golf Planète met the new owner of the Albret golf course in the south-west of France. The objective is to understand the motivations that prompted an entrepreneur to embark on this type of adventure that everyone knows is as perilous as it is exciting and where heart and passion must rub shoulders with reason and reality. 

Olivier Dhonte has become the owner of this Albret golf course located at the crossroads of Gers, Landes and Lot-et-Garonne. A golf course that has had several lives over the past 30 years. Far from a large population base, between Nérac and Agen, the place is nevertheless magnificent at the gates of Gascony and its hilly terrain covered with pastures and vineyards.

It was Gérard Thuillier, a Norman, a peasant driven from his country by the need to feed his family and in search of a welcoming land, who exploited the property before transforming it into a golf course with the help of a Basque, Jean-Louis Pega. The first 9 holes opened in 1986. The others will follow and will offer a route with unevenness and beautiful views of the valley… The 9, a long par 5 downhill, is, as such, very representative of the course. Two character bastides, one of which is the former stable of Henri IV, complete the decor.

Olivier Dhonte is a graduate of a DESS in management control and information systems; this 53-year-old entrepreneur, married and father of 5 children, created Viseo in 1999, a consulting and information systems implementation company; he is now based in Singapore to develop Viseo's activities in Asia Pacific. The company employs 2,700 people for a worldwide turnover of 300 million euros.

Olivier Dhonte, statements

"I was born in Roubaix and my parents moved to the south of France to Saint-Girons when I was 6 years old. I hit my first balls in Labastide-de-Sérou in Ariège, south of Toulouse. I played a lot when I was a student before taking a break for ten years because of my family and professional obligations at Accenture and L'Oréal. The objective is not only economic: for me, it is a personal project different from my professional project. Of course, a balance must be found so that this golf project is not a bottomless pit. I must even point out that a golf course can be profitable: for this, the catchment area must be checked, the costs controlled and the marketing offer attractive. That being said, golf is also and first and foremost a passion for me. My decision is directly linked to this passion which relates to Nature, to conviviality, to the sporting challenge – but also to my attachment to this region of south-west France which I love and which will be our family anchor. This south-west where I practice golf today when I come back from Singapore where I just practice because it is so difficult to play there. Apart from the Albret golf course, I like to play the Phare golf course in Biarritz or the Médoc golf course in Bordeaux".

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