Harris Kalinka

Imagery + Animation Golf + Architecture

Wednesday 1st July 2015

Do you need 18 golf course animations?

We’re always asked, almost without fail, to give a quote for 18 animations of a golf course – one for each hole. Or if it’s a 27-hole course, then it will be 27 animations.

Creating so many animations does require an investment. It takes a lot of time to create a 3D model for an entire course, and to render upwards of 6 minutes of animation (assuming 20 seconds per hole). As we know time is money, the more hole animations you ask for, the more it will cost.

So the questions I like to ask my clients are: do you really need 18 animations? And if you do, do you need them all now? Or is there a better way to spread the cost and the benefit of having them for your particular situation?

Our advice would be to think carefully about what you really need and what is the best way to engage and excite your audience. Then create a presentation strategy around this.

When 18 animations make perfect sense

There are times when creating 18 animations in one go is absolutely necessary and the best option. For example if you need to:

  • Show the changes to each hole of an existing course renovation
  • Show the client what each hole looks like
  • Show the members or visitors the best way to play each hole

But what if you’re short on money or time? The important thing is to realise when it’s the right time to create 18 animations, and when it’s the right time to create animations for just a couple of holes. This can save you money and most importantly, it can have the biggest impact on your audience.

When 18 might be 15 too many

Sometimes 18 animations can be overwhelming, and it can be difficult to digest so much information in one go. This is especially true in a presentation.

For competitive design pitches and very tight deadlines

If you’re pitching against other course architects for the design of a new course, then it might be tempting to create 18 animations. But there’s often very little time to put together a presentation for a competitive pitch. To create 18 animations, we’d need to prepare a 3D model for the whole course, which is a big ask, and you (the course architect) will need to prepare grading for every hole, which is an equally big ask. Budget is also a consideration if you’re not being paid for your pitch; you want to keep the costs as low as possible, whilst giving yourself the best chance of winning.

A good option is to create animations for just a couple of holes – to give an idea of the details such as bunker styles, planting and other features – and complement this with an aerial view of the entire course. We don’t need the grading to do an aerial course view, so it’s far more time and budget friendly.

This will give an overview of the layout and a glimpse of the character of the course. We can achieve this with a 90-second animation, which is a nice length for a presentation. (You don’t want them to fall asleep.) And if they want to see the rest of the holes then you can include this in the contract when you win the project.

For design projects where the course is only an element

In some projects, the golf course is only a part of a far bigger development, and you may need to market a number of other elements too. If you also need to attract non-golfers, then showing 6 minutes of golf hole animations will do you no favours.

The golf course will always be a draw when it comes to the marketing, but the animations are an opportunity – that shouldn’t be missed – to showcase everything the development has to offer. Rather than have 18 holes, you can mix golf with other leisure activities or facilities that are available. Show the tennis courts, spa and heated pool, as well as the clubhouse as a venue for a wedding or conference. The end result is a multipurpose animation that can appeal to a range of target audiences.

Presenting your design to investors, members or the media

If you’re presenting your design for a new course to a client, investors, club members or the golf media, why not do it in a way that will hold their attention? Whet their appetite by first showing them just two or three holes of the course.

After that, you could ‘unveil’ one hole at a time. You could release one animation a week or one a month, to keep people interested.

This can be a particularly good strategy if you want to keep the existing members (of a course that is being refurbished) or potential members (for a new course) happy during construction. They will inevitably be itching to see the new course. If you show it to them all at once they then have a very long and frustrating wait to play the course. But, if you show the new course one hole at a time, it will go some way to keeping them happy in the run up to the opening. You can release the hole animations on social media at a specific time each month which will engage your audience and give them something to look forward to seeing.

If you’re considering animation and you’re unsure of the best strategy for presenting the design of the new course get in touch. We’ll tell you honestly if we think you need 1 or 18 animations.