Golf Course Architecture - Issue 65, July 2021

48 POST-COV I D DES IGN Building on the boom Ironically, as the Covid pandemic was decimating economic and social activity around the world, golf recorded some of its best numbers for a generation. Adam Lawrence asks if the pandemic-fuelled golf revival has legs S ince GCA started publishing sixteen years ago, the overall story about golf has mostly been one of decline. Overbuilt and struggling for popularity against other, seemingly ‘cooler’ leisure activities, golf has been under constant pressure across the established golfing world. The golf magazines and websites have been filled with stories of courses closing and golfers giving up the game. The overall supply of golf courses has declined substantially since 2005, and the building of new ones, in established markets at least, has slowed to a tiny trickle, with golf course architects overwhelmingly making their living through renovations. Then, in 2020, came the Covid-19 pandemic. For several months, much of the world was locked down, with hospitality, retail and leisure businesses shut down in many markets. Last summer, as the first wave of the pandemic declined, much of what had been closed in the severest lockdowns was able to open. Fairly early in the pandemic, researchers worked out that the virus found it vastly more difficult to spread in the outdoors than indoors;