Experience Design

Surf Lagoons and Golf Courses: The Greatest ‘Water Feature’ Ever?

Beyond the groomed perfection of the fairway lies a world of potential that is emerging within the golf industry. While the sport has long reigned as a symbol of relaxation and a refined leisure experience, a new opportunity is swelling to the horizon – the integration of surf lagoons into golf resorts.

Imagine trading your nine iron for a surfboard without having to leave course grounds. It may sound like an unconventional concept, but as we dive deeper, you’ll discover that the mix of surf and golf is not only feasible but that it holds immense promise for golf businesses. Surf lagoons in golf courses can help draw in new consumer groups, differentiate revenue, and ultimately build a more robust business model.

Land and Water? Check and Check

With acres of land already acquired, along with established water rights, golf courses are often sitting on the perfect foundation for making waves. Afterall, finding land and securing water is half the battle when developing a surf park from scratch. Luckily, for golf courses the large footprint of a surf lagoon could be an ‘easy’ addition into your masterplans. In fact, the average surf lagoon takes up less space and utilizes less water than one hole of a golf course.

If you’re developing a brand new golf course, adding a surf lagoon is even easier as you can plan around it from the get-go. If you own or operate an existing golf course, and are interested in exploring how a surf lagoon can fit, here’s a few examples of how existing golf courses are capitalizing:

  • Converting extra holes that aren’t generating revenue (i.e. 18+ hole courses)
  • Utilizing extra acreage from large water features, surroundings, etc.
  • Redesigning a few existing holes to be shorter to accommodate space

Jumping on this new trend within the golf industry is a smart move, especially when it comes to master planning. It’s a venue type where the land is often easily available (or convertible), which makes the design potential limitless. Plus, with a wave tech that is non-invasive and offers 360 degrees of development potential, you can optimize guest flow while maintaining stellar open views of natural surroundings.”  – Endless Surf Architect, Anthony Marinakis

Palm Valley Golf & Surf Resort taking advantage of surf in their master plan

Surf & Golf: Complimentary Lifestyles

It’s no coincidence that some of the world’s best surf locations double as premier golf destinations. Beyond the usual suspects of California, Hawaii and Australia, even places like Los Cabos, Bali, and South Africa all showcase a strong connection between the two.

Although there aren’t specific statistics to prove how many people are both golfers and surfers, a quick google search makes the linkage quite clear. Recognizable brands and publications are consistently leveraging the two activities together in their content and marketing efforts (Watch a recent production by Yeti here). Golf.com even published an article on the ‘overlap’ of athlete’s passions between golfing and surfing – proving that the connection is a natural one.

Kelly Slater, perhaps the greatest surfer of all-time, has been quoted on his love of surfing and golfing, saying,

I don’t think it’s an accident that those first years I really got into golf, in ’96 and ’97, were probably my best years in surfing.”

No wonder so many surfers here in San Diego and around the world possess a “Surf AM, Golf PM” mindset. As both groups share an appreciation for outdoor activities, and the skillful nature of both sports, there is huge a connection that industry pioneers are capitalizing on in the surf park space.

Boost revenue and create a haven for the greater community

Integrating a surf lagoon into a golf course isn’t just about enhancing the recreational experience – it’s strategic move that can lead to healthy revenue generation while fostering a sense of community that extends beyond the green. Surf and golf can create a hub that’s not only financially lucrative but socially enriching as well:

  1. Expanding Revenue Streams: In addition to surf session revenue, golf courses can also benefit from rentals, F&B, hosting special events/competitions, sponsorships, and even exclusive membership packages.
  2. Community Magnet: Surfing introduces an exciting new dimension to the traditional golf experience that will diversify and attract a wider audience, including surf enthusiasts, families, and younger generations.
  3. Economic Stimulus: The creation of a surf and golf hub will have broader economic effects as it will attract new investment opportunities as a well as tourism. This will not only boost your bottom line but also the local economy.

Palm Valley Golf & Surf Resort in development on Australia’s Gold Coast recognizes these immense benefits and is adding in an ES56 lagoon alongside its existing golf course. Luke Altschwager, Managing Director says,

Beyond offering an authentic vibe in an attractive setting, while providing perfect waves for all types of surfers, a world-class surf pool anchors a whole new level of economic investment in the surrounding area.”

Palm Valley golf resort is taking full advantage of a surf lagoon’s development potential

Reap the Benefits in This Surf and Turf Revolution

With an estimated 35 million surfers worldwide (ISA) and 100+ surf parks in planning worldwide, we can confidently say that surf is taking over (more data on surfing’s rapid growth). With this growth comes serious business potential to meet the un-satiated demand for surfing and create a community lifestyle hub beyond your clubhouse.

Are you intrigued by all the potential that the convergence of surf and golf offers? We don’t blame you. With the rise of inland surfing technology, the concept is no longer just a pipe dream – it’s a match made in recreational heaven. From the shared lifestyles that appreciate both calm and thrill, to the potential to create vibrant community hubs that not only cater to golfers but also the local community and beyond, the idea of adding a surf lagoon to a golf course is a concept that’s rising in popularity.

We envision a venue where fairways and barrels can coexist in perfect harmony, and we’re here to help make that happen.

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