In the latest in our series of conversations with golf course architects about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, GCA speaks with Paul Jansen.
“Many of the golf clubs I consult with have stood the test of time, are primarily funded by the local golfers and are doing fine.” said Jansen. “Some of them have only just reopened and the last thing they are thinking of at this time is current and future works. Most of them have not even broached the subject.”
Jansen is currently under way with work in Japan, where he is overseeing a bunker renovation project and his new course work on the sub-continent has continued as per normal.
“Japan has always adopted a very considerate and respectful approach where it comes to distancing and hygiene, even before recent events,” he said. “So, construction work has continued as normal but without me being on site. We were using drone technology at the start of the project and have continued this as per normal so there is not much change really. If anything, I’m using CAD a bit more than before.”
The various restrictions on air travel has meant Jansen has been at home for the longest period that he can remember.
While working from home, Jansen has built a small putting green in his backyard.
“The longest putt is only around 15 feet, which is fine when you consider that 72 per cent of putts are within 10 feet of the pin, at least according to my friend and short game coach Dave Pelz,” said Jansen. “My son and I compete against each from time to time, which is fun and one of the reasons for building the green.”
“The time at home has also given me the opportunity to work on the Pelz Player Greens product, which was launched earlier this year. We’ve had a lot of interest already globally and I’ve used some of this time to build partnerships, work on proposals and now I’m starting to visit a few of the local clubs in my area given I can get out and about. In the States, I know Landscapes Unlimited have been busy on the Pelz Player Greens front as well.”
Jansen has also used this time to complete work on his book, Golf: Sustainable by Design.
“The book is a culmination of things I have seen on my travels, articles I had written and seminar presentations I had done over the past ten years where it pertains to golf course sustainability and design,” he said. “I use examples from over 50 golf courses around the globe, courses I’ve visited or worked at, to highlight sustainability principles and how they can benefit. It’s as much a picture essay as anything else since the book is being distributed to regions of the globe where English is not the primary language and the hope in this case is that pictures will speak a thousand words.”
As he considers what is next for the golf course industry, Jansen said: “I believe the limitations and impact of climate change and the cost of resources will guide golf into the future. Golf clubs will be looking at ways of reducing inputs and focusing on avoiding unnecessary maintenance if they are not doing so already.
“There will also be opportunities to identify additional streams of income and I am confident we will see more multi-use facilitates and smaller golf courses. I don’t think the playing fields are going to get bigger. Local is key and if more clubs embrace this in everything they do, then it should help them secure their future.”
Golf: Sustainable by Design is available to buy on Amazon.