Jones noted that despite the economic challenges of recent years, opportunities continue to present themselves.
“Golf remains what it has always been – a great avenue for people to interact – and its appeal is strong all over the world,” Jones said. “In developing countries, golf is hugely attractive for developers and the newly affluent alike, because golf estate projects provide leisure, security and better housing opportunities to people who really want them. But there is definitely a trend in developing markets to go for designers that are already established. Often, to make your name you just need one great opportunity, a good client with a good site in a good location. There’s no doubt those can be hard to find these days, but in all honesty they were never easy. I really believe that people who have talent and determination will find the openings they need.”
Jones noted the greater emphasis today on “return on investment” from course owners.
“Golf has always been a business for people who like to dream, and you still have to buy into those dreams and be a part of helping to make them come true, but even the dreamers are more pragmatic now than they were in the past. Even the dreamers are focused on the hotel or the environment for people to live and enjoy their pastimes, in a way that perhaps they weren’t back in the 1990s. But that has to be a good thing really – it means projects might be harder to get going in the first place, but they are much more likely to succeed in the end.”
International projects – both new and renovated projects – continue to give Jones reason for optimism. Projects his firm is working on or recently completed included those in the Bahamas, Japan and Maexico.
The complete “Golf Course Architecture” article can be found here.