Architects battle the brands


Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley

Marketing golf course architecture was the theme of the annual conference of the European Institute of Golf Course Architects (EIGCA), held recently in Portmarnock, Ireland.

The newly elected vice-president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, Bruce Charlton told members that design firms, whether large or small, need to develop the value of their brand, so that a course with their name on it becomes recognised as providing a superior golf experience. Adam Lawrence, editor of GCA, emphasised this view: "A signature is a brand name, no more and no less," he said. "The challenge for any design firm is to use whatever marketing method is available to enhance its own image." Incoming EIGCA president Ken Moodie highlighted the role the institute should play. "As members of the EIGCA, we are part of an organisation that runs the industry's leading training programme for prospective golf course designers, as well as representing Europe's best-qualified golf architects," he said. "We need to raise awareness amongst developers and golf clubs looking to renovate their courses that they will get the best advice and standard of design by employing a qualified golf course architect who has EIGCA after his or her name." Architects also took the time to experience golf 'the old way', playing several holes of the Portmarnock Links course, built in the 1990s by architect Stan Eby, using hickory-shafted clubs from the 1920s and earlier.