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muda

Buying a golf course

25 posts in this topic

Does anyone have any information on how, where, etc to buy a golf course? I've been interested in knowing how this process works and how much money someone can make owning a course. Any information will help including where to begin looking at courses for sale.
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I don't know all the details, but this site has listings of golf courses for sale or up for auction: Hilda Allen Real Estate

I know this because the golf course I live at (I'm a member at a different club) was up for auction through this site recently, but was pulled off before it came up to bid. It's a good place to dig around a bit, but certainly doesn't have all the details you are looking for.
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In general, a golf course is a poor investment. Most private ventures into golf course ownership fail for multiple reasons. It's the typical 90/10 business rule.

I wouldn't consider buying one unless I had several million dollars laying around and wanted a course I could play as my own and could make private and limit it to people in my circle of friends to play on.

If you are considering buying one to make money at there are many other more enticing opportunities out there that have less risk, and cost less to get involved in.

Either way you slice it (no pun intended), a golf course should not be expected to make money, or become profitable unless you've got a 10 year window in which to invest in it. And throw in the uncertainties of weather, climate, and playability and you have to overcome a TON of obstacles just to be successfull.

Nowadays you're seeing a big trend towards course ownership in courses designed by big named tour pros, such as Jack Nicklaus, Fred Couples, Gary Player, etc. I guess people figure that if you put big Jack's name on their course then all of a sudden their grass is just a bit greener then the local muni down the street, therefore allowing them to charge $125 just to play the place on a weekday.

Just my two worthless cents. Take it for what it's worth.
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I do believe owning a driving range would be more profitable.
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I do believe owning a driving range would be more profitable.

Especially with little short-game areas, and maybe even a short 18-hole putting course (no spikes allowed at all, and not astroturf).

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Especially with little short-game areas, and maybe even a short 18-hole putting course (no spikes allowed at all, and not astroturf).

What I'm thinking about is an off-season, off-hours indoor golf center, with 5-6 high-class virtual golf stalls, full swing analysis, launch monitors, computer analysis, club fitting, PGA lessons... from there - leagues, tournaments, rounds at St. Andrews, Pine Valley and Pebble Beach... maybe a little bar... putting green... pro shop...

Figured I'd need about $500K to start it up. Any sponsors out there ?
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Especially with little short-game areas, and maybe even a short 18-hole putting course (no spikes allowed at all, and not astroturf).

I can't stand astroturf putting and chipping greens.

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I don't know if this has been done or is being done right now but to build a par 3, 9 or 18 hole course in Arizona and put lights up for night golf. Maybe only keep it open for thursday-friday-saturday pay in the summer and run it from 4pm-10pm. Keep it open from 12pm till 8pm in the winter.
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I don't know if this has been done or is being done right now but to build a par 3, 9 or 18 hole course in Arizona and put lights up for night golf. Maybe only keep it open for thursday-friday-saturday pay in the summer and run it from 4pm-10pm. Keep it open from 12pm till 8pm in the winter.

SHHHH! I'm in AZ and working on it.

Okay so I'm not right now but yes I agree that would be great!
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SHHHH! I'm in AZ and working on it.

The key to a light golf course in my opinion is that you got to have in or right outside the city to make money, because I do not see people traveling a great deal to play golf at night for the first time, but once they see and play it for the first time I believe they will want to come back. Finding land close enough to the city is a program for the area since it grows at very high rate.

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We've got one near me in SW Florida. It's a 18 hole executive course with 9 holes under lights. I used to play there fairly often in a 2 man tourney on Thursday nights.
AZ might be a better place cause the bugs will eat you alive down here. There is a bit of a learning curve to playing at night too. The ball has shadows, distances are harder to judge, and greens are very hard to read.
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The expected profits are determined by a couple major factors. The first is, can the course generate the rounds and revenues needed to cover not just the daily operating cost, but cover your courses fixed debt. The second factor relates to the first, is your course going have good playing conditions. Your course must have these condition if you expect returning customers. If you own a property that is making a profit, you have to reinvest in the course. This will take away from your personal gains in the short term, but help insure the long term success of your business. I am a15 year PGA member, 13 of those working for large golf management companies, an have spent the last two years working with banks and owners of distressed golf courses, all these properties have three things in common. Poor facility management, lack of reinvestment in there courses and high water cost. Where should you look to buy a course?....since the down turn in the economy, private equity groups and large management companies have been looking for properties with documented 3 million in yearly revenues and 1 million in population within 30 minutes of the course. Basically courses that mainly failed due to poor course management . I believe and know of properties that don't fit that model that can be purchased at unbelievable prices and be a profitable and valuable addition to some ones real estate portfolio. Look South, (not Florida) year around revenue without crushing water costs. If you would like to know where to find the best value still on the market email me at mikebarber@pga.com. Good luck
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If I could afford a golf course I wouldn't be bothered about profits id do it for the love of the game and the enjoyment I would get out of it, If you are buying one your obviously a millionaire anyway, why do you need profits and if you are buying it just for that, I would say it would not be a brilliant investment as it would take years to get your money back

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Ahhh, just the type of stuff I dream about.  Here in Wisconsin we have a neat little place with a heated stall driving range and a lighted par-3 course.  You can buy luminescent balls there for extra visibility at night under the lights.  I find the main problem with the par-3 is with the tees: your options are to hit off a mat or use the rubber tee that is inexplicably set at the proper height for a deep-faced fairway wood (aaargh!).

I would love to build, or find, a nice 3-hole golf course.  Par 4, Par 5, and a Par 3 finish, maybe 1100 yds.  No heavy foliage to hide lost balls, just water.  I would pay 50% of a standard 9 hole green fee just for the convenience of getting my fix in a half-hour or so.  With some cleverness you could arrange extra tees to create a Par 4/5 and a Par 3/4 and wind up with a Par 36 9-hole layout on just 3 or 4 acres.

I've heard about the driving ranges of legend in Japan, but never seen it in full detail.  I'm imagining a heated stall range with the auto-tee feature (tee pops up out of the ground with a new ball after every drive), and then why not an integral launch monitor?  Better yet would be some technology that actually gives you yardage on each shot, as we all know at the range anything out past 250 yds is a total guess as to carry and roll no matter how many markers are out there.  Heck I can't even tell how far my short irons are going to within better than 15 yds.

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The expected profits are determined by a couple major factors. The first is, can the course generate the rounds and revenues needed to cover not just the daily operating cost, but cover your courses fixed debt. The second factor relates to the first, is your course going have good playing conditions. Your course must have these condition if you expect returning customers. If you own a property that is making a profit, you have to reinvest in the course. This will take away from your personal gains in the short term, but help insure the long term success of your business. I am a15 year PGA member, 13 of those working for large golf management companies, an have spent the last two years working with banks and owners of distressed golf courses, all these properties have three things in common. Poor facility management, lack of reinvestment in there courses and high water cost. Where should you look to buy a course?....since the down turn in the economy, private equity groups and large management companies have been looking for properties with documented 3 million in yearly revenues and 1 million in population within 30 minutes of the course. Basically courses that mainly failed due to poor course management . I believe and know of properties that don't fit that model that can be purchased at unbelievable prices and be a profitable and valuable addition to some ones real estate portfolio. Look South, (not Florida) year around revenue without crushing water costs. If you would like to know where to find the best value still on the market email me at mikebarber@pga.com. Good luck

Just though I'd let you know that this thread is closing in on a decade since it's last post previous to yours. Nothing wrong with bumping old threads, in fact the mods prefer that to multiple threads about the same thing, but you're probably wasting your time by addressing the OP.

Welcome to TST.

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I was commenting on an investment, with ROI that most who put money into a business expect. Your dreaming about just spending..and losing money for a personal ply ground. What ever floats your dream!
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I was commenting on an investment, with ROI that most who put money into a business expect. Your dreaming about just spending..and losing money for a personal ply ground. What ever floats your dream!

@Mike D B use the quote button under the post you are responding to, it makes it easier for people to follow the conversation. Things get really confusing when no one knows who is talking to who.

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Especially with little short-game areas, and maybe even a short 18-hole putting course (no spikes allowed at all, and not astroturf).


Our Arcadia golf course (18 holes of par 3, mats on every hole), driving range with full distance range balls makes money hand over fist. It's lit for evening/night golf. They charge a lot more than the local 9 hole courses.

I don't understand it. The two 9 hole courses in the next town town are amazing. Great views, long holes (one even has a 508 yard par 5).

Mediaguru is absolutely correct, and I don't understand why.

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