Thursday, May 11, 2006

psst...hey buddy, wanna buy a golf course?

The Lanier Golf Club is closing this year. Although one of the older tracts in Atlanta, it could still hold its own as a stand-out course that was strong in the junior golf circuit, as well as a superior test for its strong local membership.

One of the more recent juniors that cut his teeth on this course and now plays for Georgia Tech is Roberto Castro....he is going to be a do I know this? About six years ago I played here in a tournament, and one of the members asked me if I knew him. I shook my head no, and he told me to remember this kids' name...."he's gonna be awesome." I'm a believer now.

But I digress.

The number of golf courses in America being over-run with zealous commercial and residential developers that would rather see an SUV on a concrete driveway than squirrels playing chase in a stand of pines, is staggering.
Did you know that (according to the National Golf Foundation) 94(ninety-four) 18-hole courses closed in 2005?! Break that down...that's one closure every 3-4 days!!!!

Why is this happening?

Land value:
The closer the golf course is to a major city the higher cost of land, thus the higher the club's fixed expenses will be. At some point the resell value will outstrip the operating income. That's when the rezoning signs go up.

Fixed number of golfers:
The number of courses per golfer capita is huge. Too much supply, versus little demand (with no increase being seen on the horizon) means something gotta this case...the golf course.....hello mixed-use development!

Affinity memberships:
One membership buys access to three or four courses....kind of a buyers club for the rich.....if your golf course ain't pretty enough to be in that dance....eventually, it will be for sale. A stand-alone course will not be able to compete with the buying power of three or more courses under one umbrella.

The bottom-line here is that if you are buying a golf-course lot with a view of the 18th hole, with the hopes of building your future retirement home on it, you'd better make damn-sure that view of the 18th will still be there when you make that move.

Personally, I'll go for a waterfront view. They don't build Walmarts on water.

Thanks for reading, keep it in the short-grass.


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