Golf Course Architecture - Issue 65, July 2021

52 Covid pandemic on the golf industry has not been realised,” says EIGCA president Christoph Städler. “Although one-fifth of EIGCA members reported a reduction in turnover of more than 50 per cent compared to 2019, this is balanced by 48 per cent experiencing either no impact or one that has been positive. The optimism expressed by our members signifies that the industry has been adversely affected by the Covid-19 restrictions but will be stronger than before when the pandemic is over. We golf architects are in a strong position to seize the opportunities ahead.” One golf architect in a good position to judge the situation is England- based, Australia-born Tim Lobb, whose practice has for many years been spread across a large range of countries. “I did an interview early in the pandemic in which I said, ‘by the end of the year I think they should be moving’. I think we can add a year to that!” says Lobb. “There are still delays on the bigger projects because of the pandemic. We haven’t been able to get stuck into them because we haven’t been able to travel to site. We have projects in Egypt and Poland that are moving slowly.” But Lobb says that prospects for the future are bright. “We have been bidding for big new resort activity in Europe and North Africa. The number of leads this year has been huge. There’s still a bit of time to wait, but I think there is a boom coming. Whether it’s a traditional 18-hole course or something else, who knows? We have been getting enquiries for nine-hole projects, which hasn’t really happened in the past. Our local scene has been constant. Clubs are still committing investment to their courses. Last winter, clubs didn’t want any disruption to the limited amount of play that was possible, but now they’re getting back on track and scheduling in their plans. And we have had more enquiries for large renovation jobs within Europe.” But Lobb sounds a note of caution, based on the continued difficulty of global travel. “I have been a couple of times to Egypt this year – to Hurghada and Cairo. I have clients wanting to do work, so I needed to be there. But it is quite a big decision to travel at the moment, with £500-600 worth of Covid testing, even if you don’t have to quarantine at all. I think that the way forward may be to merge trips together into longer, multi- country visits, something that was basically unheard of in the past.” GCA POST-COV I D DES IGN While architect Tim Lobb (left, with Soma Bay’s golf course superintendent Andrew Hughes) has managed to travel to Egypt this year, he expects that travel will remain difficult for some time “ I think there is a boom coming. We have been getting enquiries for nine-hole projects, which hasn’t really happened in the past” Photo: Tim Lobb