Declining Golf Courses

The successful Baby Boomers were up before the sun rose. It was hard to find tee time.  It was the early nineties. Men got away from the wifes for the day. Businessmen would take their clients out    for a relaxed atmosphere of pleasure and business. With the icon of Tiger Woods Golf became the in sport of both Baby Boomers and Millennials. Golf courses were opening around the world.. The cost of a new golf course varies as is buying a car,home or boat. One typical golf course. Heritage Oaks Golf Course in Harrisburg, Va cost 3 millions with an annual budget of $ 500,000 a year to maintain. Buying the land, variance objections for abutters, EPA and financing are just a few of the hurdlers that one would face. The came the real Estate Bust of 2008. Not only were there a flood of homes on the market but tee times started to drop. As many people lost their jobs and homes Golf was one of the first luxuries that was affected.                                                                                                                     Fast forward to 2014-2015 Baby Boomers are retiring at a fast past and the millennials are taking their place. In the year 2000 there were an estimated 30 million golfers in the world. By the year 2015 that had declined to 26 million ( source ESPN)  Average tee cost have kept rising from 1960s at $ 36-$40 for 18 holes, 70s-80s to $ 48 now past 1990 it became over $ 60. With taxes liability expenses, advertising and more competitive golf courses felt the squeeze. At the peak in the world there were 34,011 golf courses in the world. The Us at the peak had 16,052 courses (* ESPN) Now in 2015 that number has dropped to 15,372. All though new courses are still being built there were almost 700 golf courses that were slated to close. It has been since 2006 that more closed than opened. Most Golf courses are public. That at some point the public is allowed to play on them. It is estimated that only 4% are totally private. It takes a lot of golfers to run through the day to break even. Dicks Sports had a 2.3% increase in their business, but their galaxy stores. (for golf) has seen a 10.4 % drop.                                                                                                                                                                       So What now? When a golf courses announces a  closures there is an immediate panic in the surrounding homes. Values drop and for Sale signs pop up. What happens to the Golf Courses. Many are in litigation for years. Failed paid real Estate Taxes. Liens that are not paid, lawsuits, etc. The real estate brokers have a hard time selling the homes. Many owners are shocked to see their  value drop and take too much time to come to grips with reality. There is a new shift in attracting women to play. At one point is was thought to be a mans game now more women are playing. The men population still rules the course, but an increases of 260,000 more women play than did in 2006 ( ESPN)                                                                                Many courses are trying to lure families to play. They are trying larger holes, foot golf and family tee prices. Some golf courses are putting up tents for graduation, weddings and company parties. The flip side is the noise factor. The abbutting homes constantly sne in complaints to police and respected authorities. Golf courses are being added to new countries. Belarus, Azerbaijan and Georgia . There is a new twist many courses are down sized. They are 6,9 and 12 hole courses.Many golf enthusiasts think that the decline is moderating.All well and good. Lets hope we are not in another economic bubble.


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