Golf Course Architecture - Issue 75, January 2024

53 spend, and that there can be better ways to spend that money than on the relationship with a signature player. That’s not to say there aren’t that sort of opportunities, but the conversations about players are infinitely fewer than they were about fifteen years ago. But it does depend on the market. My feeling is that in Asia signature design is still relatively buoyant. Elsewhere, people are looking at the overriding brand for the resort, and quite often it seems to be the hotel brand.” Nevertheless, signature projects or not, EGD’s business is buoyant. Its four lead architects are all highly accomplished, and even if the names of McMurray, Johnston, Hiseman and Sampson are not as immediately recognisable to most golfers as Montgomerie, Langer, Faldo or Woosnam, the profile which Sampson, for example, earned during the recent Ryder Cup as the designer of the Marco Simone course, shows that the firm need not suffer from the decline of the signature model. EGD, with four lead architects, has long been Europe’s largest golf architecture shop, and, since the financial crash of 2007-8, which reshaped the industry globally, it has become one of the world’s largest. The firm covers most of the world, though it is not really active in either North America or Australasia, and Slessor says the current boom is happening all over. “Work doesn’t show any immediate signs of falling off, and frankly we’re not questioning the why,” he says. “It is almost impossible to predict where the next job will come from. We quite regularly have conversations in board about where we need to be concentrating on. And I always reply, take a look at our last hundred enquiries, and if you can draw any kind of trend from them, let me know. But the reassuring thing is that, increasingly, they are wordof-mouth referrals. We’re not getting many cold calls.” Slessor himself says he is still enjoying work as much as ever, and has no plans to stop in the near future, though he is thinking about what form his ‘retirement’ might eventually take. “I’m 61 now,” he says. “My stock answer whenever anyone asks about retirement is that I’m doing something I absolutely love, with people I enjoy working with, and I will do it as long as that remains the case. I don’t intend to be Jones or Ron Kirby and work until the day I die, but I plan to keep going as long as EGD will have me. And even when I finish here, I wouldn’t mind staying involved in the golf industry somehow. Given that I started as a greenkeeper, I’ve sometimes thought about going back to that in a way!” JEREMY SLESSOR “ I’m doing something I absolutely love, with people I enjoy working with” Photo: EGD When Zavidovo PGA National Russia opened in 2013, it became the 50th course in EGD’s portfolio. The firm has now completed over 70 projects in 24 countries