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Course of Action

JonMA1

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Am I the only one who’s fantasized about having a private golf course? There’s no logic to the thought. The knowledge, effort and cost necessary makes it, well, a really bad idea.

Still, it’s winter. I’ve cleared snow from the driveway, shoveled the deck and finished the laundry. My wife has taken her mother holiday shopping and I’ve done my 5 minutes of practice - a few times already. 

In other words, I’m bored enough to imagine….

Slow play at the local courses has become unbearable (not hard to imagine that). I have a 25 acre wooded parcel of land, disposable income, a lot of ambition and considerable time on my hands. I own some excavation equipment, a modest collection of golf course equipment and am knowledgable about native grasses and how to get the most with the least amount of water and fertilizer. 

I’ve also hired @MattM (not really Matt) to put in 4 synthetic putting surfaces on the property (https://thesandtrap.com/forums/topic/91834-just-finished-my-backyard-putting-green/#comment-1269307).

The terrain on my property has a little roll to it. There are groves of mixed soft and hardwood trees. The soil is healthy and we get a decent amount of annual rainfall.

While none of the above is true, if it were this would be the result :

GolfCourse2.jpg

This is a cluster - literally. I need to explain a few things. 

The nine holes share common fairways and putting surfaces. The par 4's have a single landing area and the par 5's have two. Most of the ground is covered with native grasses. It gets mowed, but only on a weekly or twice a month basis. You can find your ball and hit out of it, but lies aren’t going to be good and you won’t get good distance. The advantage is that this grass doesn’t requires irrigation or fertilizer. Drought will turn it brown, but the grass is hearty and will bounce back.

There are four areas where the turf resembles that of an average municipal golf course. The surface is smooth, the grass is healthy and it’s mowed tight. The two larger fairway areas are each 73x73 yards. The two smaller ones are somewhere around 40x40 yards. Each of the four are surrounded by 1st cut rough. Because of the size, they require minimal time and money for upkeep.

The tee boxes and greens are made of synthetic turf. The greens are about 15 yards in diameter with fairway-like grass collars. Three of the greens are shared by two “holes”, the fourth is shared by three for a total of 9 holes.

The course totals a hair over 2800 yards from the back tees - not bad for using only 25 acres (unless I've made a gross math error). It’s short, but the tree lines and small greens make it difficult to drive the par 4’s or get on the greens in two on the par 5’s. The hard-to-play turf outside the greens and layup areas discourages too much risk taking. Long hitters may not like it but the distances are right in my wheelhouse. 

Back to reality… I know nothing about what it takes to maintain - much less design or build - a golf course. I understand greens are very expensive as are large fairways which require a great deal of maintenance, irrigation and fertilizer, hence the synthetic greens and small manageable fairway or landing areas of this design.

So is there any way a small group of ambitious golfers could create a co-op of sorts and pull something like this off? Would the upside of always having an empty course waiting for you and a few friends be worth all the toil, money and effort? You certainly couldn't have more than one group out at a time. Would a course like this even be fun to play and, If so, how long would it take to become boring?

If nothing else, it would make a cool backyard.



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I like the idea.  Synthetic greens would be a must.

In the depths of the 2007-2008 recession, one could have picked-up some local private golf courses for $300,000-$500,000 (unpaid bank notes).  Get 100 guys with $5,000 each and we could have owned a course.  Actually maintaining and running the course would have been the big problem.

 

 

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Just wanted to drop in and say I love how you think, man. I saw this quickly on my phone the other night, and glad it got bumped to remind me to look out your amazing layout. Before I dive in, I think you're maximizing the use with using the same greens/tees for multiple holes, minimizing how much is mowed to pristine condition, minimizing how much you need to water it. Just generally getting the most out of a small plot of land but minimizing the work and cost of getting playable holes. Cool idea.

Gonna be a long winter up there with more brainstorms like this? 

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12 hours ago, bkuehn1952 said:

I like the idea.  Synthetic greens would be a must.

In the depths of the 2007-2008 recession, one could have picked-up some local private golf courses for $300,000-$500,000 (unpaid bank notes).  Get 100 guys with $5,000 each and we could have owned a course.  Actually maintaining and running the course would have been the big problem.

How'd you like to break that news to your wife.... "Hey honey, you know that $5,000 we had saved up for for a rainy day..."

I think land up here is still around $2000 an acre, maybe a bit higher with a creek running through it. So for $50,000, I could have the land. The wife and I have talked about our next home having acreage, so 25 acres isn't completely out of the question. Sadly, that would probably be the cheapest part of the deal. 

Excavation would be necessary. Maintenance equipment would have to be purchased. The equipment would need a pole barn. I'm not sure about irrigation for the fairways.

The thing is, maintenance and equipment would be a fraction of what it is for a regular course. The fairway and 1st cut rough landing areas shown above total about 3 acres. Don't know what equipment is needed to keep them in reasonable shape, but it wouldn't take long to roll, aerate and mow 3 acres compared to a full size course with at least 10 times that in fairways alone. Maybe someone more knowledgeable could shed some light. The rest of the course would require running a tractor with a large finishing deck once a week.

12 hours ago, RandallT said:

Just wanted to drop in and say I love how you think, man. I saw this quickly on my phone the other night, and glad it got bumped to remind me to look out your amazing layout. Before I dive in, I think you're maximizing the use with using the same greens/tees for multiple holes, minimizing how much is mowed to pristine condition, minimizing how much you need to water it. Just generally getting the most out of a small plot of land but minimizing the work and cost of getting playable holes. Cool idea.

Exactly the idea. It's not that this will ever happen in my world, but I had to ask the question whether it would be feasible to the right person or group.

To put it in perspective, there are many hunters who will invest a great deal of time, money and effort planting huge food plots for a relatively short season, only to repeat that effort the following year. Or others who will build elaborate gardens and walkways on their property.

Golf is just a different passion.

12 hours ago, RandallT said:

Gonna be a long winter up there with more brainstorms brain farts like this?

There, fixed if for you.

Yeah, because of you I'm also working on a spreadsheet mapping out my 2016 strokes lost and a subsequent practice plan for next year. Thanks a lot!!!  :beer:

Fortunately, I finally received my guitar interface for GarageBand today. Maybe that will keep my mind off of golf.:no:

12 hours ago, dennyjones said:

How far of a drive from Davison?

I'm about 3 hours northwest of you in Mesick. Needless to say, Sand Trap members play free on my course.

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Ha! Just saw this! Very cool idea and I work for $200 a day or all you can drink beer/unlimited nachos/and access to said course forever....

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On 12/12/2016 at 11:12 PM, JonMA1 said:

I think land up here is still around $2000 an acre, maybe a bit higher with a creek running through it. So for $50,000, I could have the land. The wife and I have talked about our next home having acreage, so 25 acres isn't completely out of the question. Sadly, that would probably be the cheapest part of the deal. 

What kind of a course are you going to put on 25 acres?

Or did I misread your post?

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I love it, nice design.

I wonder to myself, how rich would I have to be to justify having that playground on my property.  Thinking about it, it would be really hard to justify given I want to continue living in the San Diego coastal area.

What would be more practical here is a house a couple minute drive in a golf cart from a private country club and in my backyard a short game practice area.  

 

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2 hours ago, iacas said:

What kind of a course are you going to put on 25 acres?

The imaginary kind.  The design is a 9 hole, par 36 course at 2817 yds. The hypothetical plot of land would be 25 acres - about 350 x 350 yards. (Is my math right on that?) 

#1 par 4 - 313,  #2 par 5 - 473,   #3 par 4 - 322,   #4 par 4 - 276,   #5 par 3 - 162,  #6 par 5 - 456,  #7 par 3 - 170,   #8 par 4 - 342,  #9 par - 303

2 hours ago, No Mulligans said:

I love it, nice design.

I wonder to myself, how rich would I have to be to justify having that playground on my property.  Thinking about it, it would be really hard to justify given I want to continue living in the San Diego coastal area.

What would be more practical here is a house a couple minute drive in a golf cart from a private country club and in my backyard a short game practice area.  

 

That would work!

I agree on how difficult it would be to justify it. I'm not sure practicality would be the driving force behind it.

But look at it this way... if fishing was your passion and you liked to go out once a week (in good weather) and catch fish. You could go out on a charter (party) boat for $50 per trip. No maintenance, no slip fees, no gas, no trailering, no insurance...

....or instead spend tens of thousands of dollars on a boat of their own and all the work and BS that comes from owning a large boat. People  more often choose this option.

GolfCourse.pdf

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