“The government made the right decisions early on”

“The government made the right decisions early on”
Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys

Christoph Städler discusses how the coronavirus pandemic has affected his projects in Europe and how he thinks future projects will play out.

“We are currently working on 17 active projects, one of them is under construction and three more are scheduled to start construction in July, August, and September respectively,” said Städler. “Six of these projects have been put on hold, two of them since 2019, the other four only recently due to the economic effects of the coronavirus crisis.”

For projects going ahead, the team on site have been keeping 1.5 metres apart from one another.

“The virus has affected my travel plans,” said Städler. “I have had no access to my projects in Poland and Switzerland, and even to the German Bundesland Mecklenburg-Vorpommern since the start of the month, where we have a project on the Baltic coast. And other inner-German site visits, which require an overnight stay in a hotel, are not possible because all the hotels were closed by federal regulation.”

Städler has made one site visit to oversee construction of a greens and bunkers renovation project and has worked in his home office the rest of the time.

Three of Städler’s team are working in the firm’s office, keeping the necessary distance. Communication with clients and contractors is being done via email and phone.

“I have completed previously unprocessed planning tasks, have increased acquisition activity, finished files for a design competition, a renovation project of some greens, finished the master plan for another golf course, and I am now awaiting for decisions on whether we will be awarded with contracts for the next phases of design and construction work,” said Städler.

“The global golf industry will definitely be affected. It is not possible at present to predict to what extent this will be the case. It will vary from country to country and will depend crucially on how the coronavirus is brought under control. Personally, I am lucky to have most golf projects in Germany. There, the government made the right decisions early on and it looks as if the restrictions can be relaxed again soon. We expect that the projects here will only be postponed and not finally cancelled.

“On the other hand, our project in Bytom, Poland – the expansion of the golf course from nine to 18 holes – has suddenly become uncertain due to the financial impact of the Covid crisis on the investor. It is no longer possible to think of construction starting in 2020.”