Singapore: There will be no shortage of work opportunities for golf course architects in the post-Coronavirus era.
In addition to on-going golf course construction booms in Vietnam and Saudi Arabia, golf industry veteran Mark Adams foresees a significant increase in undertaking renovations.
“As everybody in the golf industry knows, Vietnam is the key market in Asia-Pacific, maybe worldwide, when it comes to new golf courses. I think that will continue for a little while longer. Vietnam is very important to all of us,” said Adams, speaking during the latest podcast in an Asian Golf Industry Federation series interviewing prominent individuals in the golf industry and broadcast at https://agif.asia/agif-podcast/
Painting a positive picture for golf course design companies, Adams, Director at Faldo Design, said: “Thailand and Korea are also markets that are going to provide opportunities for new golf course development. Meanwhile, in the Middle East, Golf Saudi has come out with their grand plans of developing upto 20 golf courses. So, Saudi Arabia will be a very interesting market for everybody in the golf industry.
“Then, of course, there’s renovation. A number of courses throughout Asia, especially Southeast Asia, are 30 years old now. There have already been a number of renovation projects and I think more and more golf courses, financially permitting, will present renovation opportunities for course designers.”
Given the march of technology with golf equipment and balls and environmental sensitivities, Adams, who formerly headed up IMG Golf Course Services for the Asia Pacific region, believes modernisation of golf courses is inevitable.
Adams, a Founding Board Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation, said: “You’re seeing renovations being made for a number of reasons. Some could be for technology reasons, just the fact that the golf ball is going much further now and there needs to be adjustments to allow for more length that’s happened in the game these last 30 years.
“I think there’s also a big push environmentally. A number of courses that were built 25 or 30 years ago had a lot more turf than you would do on a new golf course. So, reducing the area of turf on courses means you can reduce water usage and reduce chemical usage and try to put in more landscape that is maybe more environmentally sensitive. There’s a big movement towards that.”
Removal of trees is another potential issue that established golf clubs face. “A lot of times as golf courses mature the landscape will become overgrown. There’s been a lot of movement worldwide in taking out trees.”
There are also instances where golf clubs facing financial pressures are re-sizing or renovating their golf course to provide development opportunities.
Adams said: “I know it’s been a big thing in Australia. They may take one or two of the holes and create a development opportunity so that they can maximise the financial return which necessitates maybe re-routing some of the golf course.
“So, there’s a lot of different things happening in renovation and different reasons for renovation and that should provide a lot of opportunities for golf course designers throughout the region.”