In the latest in our series of conversations with golf course architects about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, GCA speaks with Brian Curley, who works extensively in Asia.
Describing the pandemic’s impact on his projects, Curley says: “Of course, there are some on hold but it is difficult to say what percentage of the slowdown is virus driven and how much was there to begin with.” He explains that the timing could have been worse. “I was in between finishing construction and in a period of drawing, production and coordination, which can be done by video conference.”
Curley has a 36-hole golf course project that is in mass earthmoving stage that has proceeded as normal. He also a project to add nine holes outside Hanoi that is currently being grassed, so only a small team is required.
“I normally go to Asia every month – and have for about 25 years – but I cancelled my January trip as I was on top of the situation through Chinese friends who linked me to a website showing leaked videos of the situation in Wuhan, where we have actually done a few jobs in the past.
“I immediately cancelled my February trip as most of the reason for going was coordination with ongoing design work. As of now, I have no definite plans for any travel outside the country anytime soon as some countries such as Vietnam remain closed to travel. I have made a couple of domestic coordination trips, but these were just prior to the world waking up to the issue.
“During this period, I was the only one on the plane with a face mask on – and by the way, one flight was to Boise with the aircraft full of people from a Detroit Ski Club that was highlighted in a story in the Wall Street Journal about the ill-fated trip that encountered a massive outbreak in Ketchum.
“I have done some video presentation of projects rather than travel and I hope to do more in the future.”
Curley is currently busy every day with drawings and planning, and in his free time he has focused on website adjustments and promotional packages.
“On a side note, I was travelling back and forth to China every month during the SARS outbreak as we were building five new courses at Mission Hills,” said Curley. “I was often the only person in the top level of an entire 747. I wanted to say that, during this period, the existing five courses at Mission Hills were packed with people wanting to get outdoors and away from Hong Kong. I believe that the aftermath of this crisis we will see a resurgence of golf and the desire to be in fresh, open air as people adjust to a very new world.”