Singapore: Lockdown restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic have not prevented Faldo Design from progressing with half-a-dozen new projects.
“Fortunately, we’ve been staying very busy,” said Mark Adams, Director, Faldo Design, an Associate Business Member of the Asian Golf Industry Federation (AGIF).
Speaking during the latest podcast in an AGIF series interviewing prominent individuals in the golf industry and being broadcast at https://agif.asia/agif-podcast/, Adams said Faldo Design currently has six active projects – two in Vietnam and one each in Cambodia, Pakistan, the Philippines and the Middle East.
“Vietnam has done very well throughout the whole Covid-19 situation, so construction there was never totally shut down,” said Adams, referring to continued construction work being undertaken at projects near Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Of the others, he said: “At Vattanac Golf Resort in Cambodia, 18 holes are currently open for play and the second 18 holes is now finalising the grow-in, so the construction is coming to an end there.
“In Pakistan, construction at Rumanza Golf Club in Multan was shut down based on Government policy on March 23. However, after Ramadan and the Eid holiday on June 1 the project has been re-started and is now up-and-running.
“From a design standpoint we have two other projects under design. One is in the Middle East, that has not been publicly announced yet. But we’re well under way and have almost completed the design work there. We’ve been able to continue the design during these times.
“We also have a project in the Philippines, at Clark, where we’ve completed our Phase 1 conceptual planning and the design work has continued.
“So, we’ve been quite fortunate to have a number of projects that have not really stopped during these times and my colleagues on the design side have been very busy.”
Nonetheless, restrictions on travel for Adams and key members of the Faldo Design team, headed by six-time Major champion Sir Nick Faldo, have inevitably created challenges.
Adams said: “The biggest adjustment for myself and the Faldo Design team has been the lack of travel. In the life of a golf course designer, and the life of many of us in the golf industry, it’s about travelling, it’s about site visits, it’s about meeting clients. Pretty much since mid-March that has been shut down.
“That’s been the biggest challenge – not being able to meet clients, not being able to go to design work shops if it’s under design, and, most importantly, not being able to visit our sites that are under construction.”
In a bid to compensate, much of the construction oversight and approvals have been done by using photos and videos.
“Fortunately, we’re working with some very qualified teams that are on the ground. For example, at our project in Hanoi, we’re working with Martin Moore and his Flagstick team, so we have a very qualified construction manager and shaper who are on site and who are very good communicators.
“They’ve been giving us weekly reports, updating us. We’ve been able to do some video calls so our design team can look at bunkers, look at tees and drainage installation and give feedback.
“It’s been similar in Pakistan. Desert Group out of Dubai is the construction management company there and we have a qualified construction manager who’s been very good at communicating what’s going on there.
“So, the adjustment has really been the lack of travel and lack of site visits. From a design standpoint, where our projects are under design, I think they’ve been less impacted because through the video calls we’ve been able to have workshops and we’ve been able to get people on the line.
“At our project in the Philippines, we’ve been able to have very constructive meetings through Zoom with the master-planner in Singapore and our design team in the United Kingdom. The main adjustment has been how to continue the design and construction approvals without being able to actually go and meet the clients on the sites.”
In addition to its on-going work, Faldo Design has been pitching for numerous new undertakings.
Adams said: “Surprisingly, recently it’s been quite buoyant. Just in the past few weeks, a few new leads have come up. We have two new potential golf course developments we’re hearing about in Thailand. We have three new ones that have just recently come up in Vietnam. Developers are going ahead with their planning, asking for proposals. So, that’s been very encouraging.”
*To listen to the full interview with Mark Adams, please visit https://agif.asia/agif-podcast/