Covid-19 Christoph Städler

Date: Wed 17 Mar 2021

Positive outlook for golf course design industry post-COVID pandemic

A survey of golf course architects to determine the impact of the COVID pandemic on the golf course design industry signifies optimism for the next few years.

EIGCA asked its members about the effect of the pandemic on turnover in 2020, compared to 2019 levels. 48% said their turnover had remained the same or was higher. Those with projects in the Middle East, Eastern or Central Europe, were more likely to have experienced a positive effect (See item 3 below).

Looking to the future, 86% felt the golf course design industry would stay the same or grow (51% and 35% respectively). Members were most optimistic about North America, forecasting this area would grow. The geographical area which members were most pessimistic about was Central / South America, with a prediction of a decline in projects.

To support this positive outlook, members were asked to consider their expected turnover in the coming 6, 12 and 24 months, in comparison to 2019. In 6-12 months, 57% expected turnover to remain at the same level or be higher, with members more optimistic about projects in Northern, Eastern and Central Europe, the Middle East, Africa and North America. Optimism for turnover to remain static or be higher, increased to 66% of members when looking to 24 months ahead, with most positivity for projects in the Middle East, Africa and North America, followed by Central and Eastern Europe.

When asked about the challenges they face in the next 12 months, unsurprisingly, with projects scattered across the globe, members put travel at the top of the list. Over half of the respondents had concerns relating to safe travel, restrictions on the ability to meet clients face-to-face to progress works, and constraints on looking / bidding for future projects. Other key challenges included: golf clubs not proceeding with projects and being hesitant to invest for the future; and ensuring a COVID-safe workplace for employees. A handful of members cited the enviable challenge to some of how they would manage an increase in workload. Only two members cited Brexit as a challenge in the next 12 months.

“This survey shows that a feared long-term negative impact from the COVID pandemic on the golf industry has not been realised. Although one-fifth of EIGCA members reported a reduction in turnover of more than 50% compared to 2019, this is balanced by 48% experiencing either no impact or one that has been positive,” says Christoph Städler, EIGCA President. “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.”


1. The views expressed in this survey amongst EIGCA members is a snapshot captured one year after the first country went into lockdown. If the restrictions associated with the pandemic continue for longer than currently envisaged, the data may change.

2. EIGCA members were asked to take this survey in February 2021. 73% of Fellow, Members, and Associate Members responded.

3. For context: members were asked to identify the geographical regions in which they have design projects.

  • 71% Europe (split into Northern, Southern, Eastern and Central Europe)
  • 8% The Middle East
  • 6% Asia
  • 5% Africa
  • 5% North America
  • 4% Central / South America
  • 1% Oceania

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