A standard golf course costs a lot to build, but the Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus and Whoever Signature courses cost even more.
A lot of the Signature courses got built back in the late 1990s as part of a residential development - the idea being the lots will sell faster if next to a Signature course. If the lots sell out, you can take it from semi-private to private.
Well, Signature courses can be troublesome once they get up and running. If the owner has 90% of the lots unsold five years later, and it's basically a public course, the sig emblem can be a money pit.
If you want to change the course - remove bunkers, cut down significant trees, alter water hazards - you have to get permission of the designing guru, or you lose your sig designation. Usually these changes involve negotiations.
We have one sig course in the next county that didn't work out as a club, and got bought with the idea of reworking it into a public course. The famous guru didn't like the changes, so the new owner said fine, pull the sig.
Do any of you play at courses built by famous golfers which have de-Signatured themselves?