A survey of golf course architects has discovered significant optimism for the next few years, with many design businesses expecting their turnover to return to, and in some cases exceed, pre-pandemic levels.
The European Institute of Golf Course Architects (EIGCA) asked its members about the impact of the pandemic on their businesses, and 86% said they felt the golf course design industry would stay the same (51%) or grow (35%) over the next few months compared with 2019. More than half, 57%, expect turnover in the next 12 months to be at least the same as it was in 2019, and this rises to 66% when looking at the next 24 months.
EIGCA Members were most optimistic about projects in the Middle East, Africa and North America, forecasting this area would grow, while Central/South America is expected to see a decline in projects.
When asked about the challenges they face in the next 12 months, over half of members had concerns relating to safe travel, restrictions on the ability to meet clients face-to-face to progress works, and constraints on bidding for future projects.
Other key challenges included golf clubs not proceeding with projects and being hesitant to invest for the future, and ensuring a Covid-safe workplace for employees. A handful of members even cited the challenge of how they would manage an increase in workload.
EIGCA president Christoph Staedler said: “This survey shows that a feared long-term negative impact from the Covid pandemic on the golf industry has not been realised. Although one-fifth of EIGCA members reported a reduction in turnover of more than 50 percent compared to 2019, this is balanced by 48% experiencing either no impact or one that has been positive. The optimism expressed by our members signifies that the industry has been adversely affected by the Covid-19 restrictions, but will be stronger than before when the pandemic is over. We golf architects are in a strong position to seize the opportunities ahead.”
The survey was conducted in February 2021, with a 73% response rate from EICGA members response.