For 100+ years golf courses have used whatever media forms are available to them at the time to promote themselves. We have seen hundreds of old articles here from newspapers & magazines announcing the formation & development of a new golf course/club. Invariably the articles describe the new course as better or the best of its kind.
Sometimes the articles had photos. Sometimes they did not. Before the internet/digital age, golf courses/clubs had glossy brochures with full page photos to announce/promote their presence. Some took out adverts with photos in golf magazines. Some even resorted to "infommercials"on TV to drum up business.
Now that we are well into the 21st century, it should be no surprise (and certainly no cause for concern) that golf course operators & developers take advantage of all the media options available to them to promote their courses.
To claim that photography has driven up the cost of architecture 20% is nonsense, as is the so-called "research" behind that claim.