Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
rkim291968

My ex-home courses closing, changing - proofs that golf is in decline

Note: This thread is 1313 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

35 posts / 6602 viewsLast Reply

Recommended Posts

2 hours ago, sjduffers said:

The Bay Area also has a pretty large population of asian descent, with which (whom?) golf is increasingly popular, and as a result there are quite a few courses around here that are very busy with this demographic, with routine rounds in the 4.5 to 5.5 hours range.

In fact, there is a course near me when I can hardly come and play as a single as a walk-in: all the tee times are taken the day of, the course does not allow a single to book online (or on the phone) even the day before and there is not quite enough daylight yet to be guaranteed to finish when starting in the afternoon... When I do play this course, I see lots of very slow action on the green (every putt seems like it is for a million dollar, because there is wagering going on), groups of 5 playing from the tips when some of the players don't have the game for it, etc...

Yes, it is extremely popular among Asians of every kind here because it's a rich man's sport in Asia. Many Asians (Korean, Japanese, and large growing Chinese/Taiwanese and many other Southeast Asians) come here and find that Golf is within reach of their "class" so they sign up their kids to play. I'd say that my wife's friend is in that category, and she also convinced us to play as well. So, here I am. :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

Want to hide this ad? Register for free today!

Sunol Valley had an interesting history.  As I understood it, the course was developed with union slush funds.  Back in the day, there were stories of it being a mob hangout.  I know there were union golf tournaments with the Raiders in attendance and other sports figures represented, too.   They also had the course lit for a number of years for night golf, which was pretty cool.  Pendragon, I've played every one of the courses you mentioned.  I also heard that Bethel Island GC closed in October.   I saw on LoopNet they wanted $22m for the land!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

By the way, the above was just the rumor I had heard when I was a kid.  No idea if any of it was true.   I kind of liked the legend, though!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

On 2/7/2016 at 1:35 AM, rkim291968 said:

I just found out that my ex-home course, Sunol Valley Golf course, went out of business last month.  I played 2 - 3 times a week for 2 years not too long ago.  The course was done in by shrinking golfers, and 500% increase in water cost in the last 4 years of CA drought.  They could not make money.  

Another ex-home course is now doing business as a golf and foot golf (soccer golf) course.  Golfing customers were not enough.

Another course nearby (Santa Clara Tennis and Golf Club) is going to turn into a parking lot for a recently built football stadium.

It is sad that despite improved economy in Bay Area, CA, golf business is in decline.  They have been in decline since 1990s but most of the courses around here survived 2008-9 recession.  The current drought and the resulting water cost going through the roof appears to be the final nail in the coffin for the weaker courses.  

Sad.

My 2 cents.....................Your X/Former home course.....(whatever that means).....From what I can tell, it's a crappy MUNI you played a couple times a week for only 2yrs!!  (casual golfer)  You quit playing there and went somewhere else yourself, so you are part-reason for the decline...LOL      ...and now it closed!!  OH MY!  who cares?  Based on your comments, it's a bottom-feeder course bleeding golfers.........so it should close!   Right?   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, BuckeyeNut said:

My 2 cents.....................Your X/Former home course.....(whatever that means).....From what I can tell, it's a crappy MUNI you played a couple times a week for only 2yrs!!  (casual golfer)  You quit playing there and went somewhere else yourself, so you are part-reason for the decline...LOL      ...and now it closed!!  OH MY!  who cares?  Based on your comments, it's a bottom-feeder course bleeding golfers.........so it should close!   Right?   

It was not a muni course, and was fairly good when water was plentiful.  I moved on from the course b/c it didn't offer all you can play membership.   After I moved on, I heard the course condition declined rapidly - probably due to CA's water shortage.    

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

2 hours ago, BuckeyeNut said:

My 2 cents.....................Your X/Former home course.....(whatever that means).....From what I can tell, it's a crappy MUNI you played a couple times a week for only 2yrs!!  (casual golfer)  You quit playing there and went somewhere else yourself, so you are part-reason for the decline...LOL      ...and now it closed!!  OH MY!  who cares?  Based on your comments, it's a bottom-feeder course bleeding golfers.........so it should close!   Right?   

It is not a muni course (meaning owned by a municipality). Yes, it was a primary blue-collar golf course, and it's somewhat difficult to fill up 36 holes with constant play.  It wasn't the greatest pair of courses, but you could walk them for just about $20 and the 2 courses were varied and certainly good to practice on.  The reason the place was forced to close, is that their water bill skyrocketed (and the land owner was the Water District, talk about a conflict of interest!), and raising the rates would have certainly failed, as they would have had to be doubled to stay open, but that would no longer fit the primary blue-collar audience of the course, which would have then deserted the place, starting a slower death-spiral (fewer people causing fewer revenues, causing less maintenance, causing fewer people, etc...).

But, Mr Nut, I think you should refrain from making those kinds of comments about things you do not know.

Edited by sjduffers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

Over the last 6-7 years, it seems that everything has been in decline. Our sales have been decreasing as more and more companies are buying from Chinese companies who have reverse engineered our designs. Our headcount is lower than it has been since I have worked there (over 16 years now). Unfortunately, not just golf. It's just a sign of the times.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

20 minutes ago, CarlSpackler said:

Over the last 6-7 years, it seems that everything has been in decline. Our sales have been decreasing as more and more companies are buying from Chinese companies who have reverse engineered our designs. Our headcount is lower than it has been since I have worked there (over 16 years now). Unfortunately, not just golf. It's just a sign of the times.

 

It's not just manufacturing that's going overseas, golf courses too!

The raw materials for motion control are also very plentiful in China.

I was surprised when I designed in a similar motor to your company's from a Japanese company, and 18 months later I was handed Chinese replacement motors to test. The first few were junk, but then I started getting really good ones. The last ones were almost perfect. I was shocked how close they were to the original. As you know, the materials in the inner workings are very critical, and they reverse engineered everything almost exactly. The shock was that the motor was only 1/3 the price. Someone in China did mass spectroscopy to within 1/10 percent accuracy then dialed in the materials. Scary good reverse engineering and cost reduction.

We are replacing one of our CM as well, and the replacement CM built a robot to replace some workers on the assembly line. Very impressive.

If we want to stay on par with the Far East, we really need to bring manufacturing technology back here and educate more people to design machines that can automate things here. We need people capable of reverse engineering things to a very high level of accuracy. We need machinists capable of programming the latest types of machines.

Once our industry is strong again, our golf courses will start to fill up again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

On ‎2‎/‎20‎/‎2016 at 6:48 PM, sjduffers said:

It is not a muni course (meaning owned by a municipality). Yes, it was a primary blue-collar golf course, and it's somewhat difficult to fill up 36 holes with constant play.  It wasn't the greatest pair of courses, but you could walk them for just about $20 and the 2 courses were varied and certainly good to practice on.  The reason the place was forced to close, is that their water bill skyrocketed (and the land owner was the Water District, talk about a conflict of interest!), and raising the rates would have certainly failed, as they would have had to be doubled to stay open, but that would no longer fit the primary blue-collar audience of the course, which would have then deserted the place, starting a slower death-spiral (fewer people causing fewer revenues, causing less maintenance, causing fewer people, etc...).

But, Mr Nut, I think you should refrain from making those kinds of comments about things you do not know.

I remember Sunol was pretty high even on golfnow before they closed, as far as shadow lakes I know there is an effort to reopen sometime in April and know an individual who may wind up managing the facility, the deal is the golf course is still being maintained since the homeowners bought their homes with a golf course view and there would be a lawsuit if it were to go away. Bethel has been neglected beyond belief, I remember in the late 90's early 2000's it was in decent shape and a great option when rains made everywhere else too soggy, heck even saw Joe Morgan playing there once, I know the pro that was going to be under contract there if the remodel would have happened, would have been a really nice place, if those home sites across the street with delta access ever get developed I could see it getting re-opened and improved.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

21 minutes ago, flopster said:

I remember Sunol was pretty high even on golfnow before they closed

GolfNow does not provide any discount at all on a lot of courses, and usually the tee times include carts, as opposed to walking rates. I have played at Sunol, many, many times for $20 or $23 walking, depending on whether it was the afternoon rate or the morning rate. Note that this required a $25 yearly enrollment in their "Players Club", which provided a significant discount, totally unbeknownst to GolfNow...

In other words, you are better off checking directly with a course rather than blindly getting a tee time with GolfNow, except maybe with some of their hot deals. I know, I hardly ever use them anymore, due to same or worse pricing than the actual course, bloated booking fees ($2.50 per player) and a worsening rewards program.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

On 2/19/2016 at 9:48 PM, sjduffers said:

The reason the place was forced to close, is that their water bill skyrocketed (and the land owner was the Water District, talk about a conflict of interest!), and raising the rates would have certainly failed, as they would have had to be doubled to stay open.

If the rates were jacked up above the going rate the course owner would have had a case in court for an arbitrary and capricious decision by the water district. If on the other hand the course had been enjoying below market rates...

I do dislike seeing loss of municipal / low cost open to public courses in urban areas. Good for the game, generally and keeps golf accessible to a wider range of people. But there was a lot of overbuilding of courses and some attrition is to be expected. Many of the 'boomer' golfers have moved to full time golf areas now or do the 'snowbird' thing. Fewer non-golfers of that generation took up golf in their retirement than expected by the industry too. I expect the supply / demand is already starting to balance out. 

Edited by natureboy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On February 6, 2016 at 7:49 AM, Dave325 said:

That is real shame. I would imagine that the courses that remain may even raise there green fees to make up for the loss of profits and rising costs. Our courses here in Ohio are also advertising the Foot Golf thing, though I have never seen anyone playing it. I have seen a couple courses close near here, one was bought by a church (I loved that course, but the church is good too). And another course just announced their  closing this weekend. A couple were sold, but we still have plenty to choose from. 

There is a Greg Norman designed course a couple miles from me. They originally tried to make it a premier country club, but given the per capita of this area, they dropped their fees and came in-line with the rest of the courses in the area.

Are there a lot of others courses in your area to fill the gaps?

Is the Norman course you are talking about Elks Run?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

45 minutes ago, Buck Nutz said:

Is the Norman course you are talking about Elks Run?

Yes! Nice course and a bit challenging. I live real close to it, though I am a member at a course in Bethel. I would have liked to join Elks Run, but the 2k/yr fee made it out of reach in the budget.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

8 hours ago, natureboy said:

...I do dislike seeing loss of municipal / low cost open to public courses in urban areas. Good for the game, generally and keeps golf accessible to a wider range of people. But there was a lot of overbuilding of courses and some attrition is to be expected. Many of the 'boomer' golfers have moved to full time golf areas now or do the 'snowbird' thing. ... 

Way down south near San Diego, Fallbrook Golf Course is shutting down for similar reasons.

Two factors are leading to course closings around the USA:

  • External pressures on business model. The course rkim mentioned had cost pressures due to increased watering costs. Plus, the CA drought probably triggered usage restrictions. All this makes it difficult to turn a profit on a low-cost layout.
  • Capacity adjustments. During the 1990s, many developers from outside the golf industry came in with plans to built golf communities with upscale courses. (See related details in Lockhaven article below.) We have five such operations in our county area. One has sold most of its lots, but the other four sold maybe half the plats - now you see several nice houses and then a couple of acres of grassland.  All five have ended up as semi-private operations.
    • One of the five - Stonebridge GC in Maryville - ended up closing down last spring due to self-inflicted wounds: Developers skimped on course construction with too narrow fairways, silly routing, and no practice area. Enough people started going to other places that it shut down. (My home course in this mix, Stonewolf GC, is doing fine.)
    • One county to the north, Lockhaven Golf Club closed  in late 2014. At one time it had 500 members, but was down to 150 when it shut.

During my trip to Myrtle Beach, I learned that Chinese Investors had bought several area courses as investments. The posted article is a year old. Also, the group is arranging trips to MB for Chinese golfers.

This parallels a trend among wealthy mainland Chinese to move assets out of the country amid displeasure with the political and economic situation there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

53 minutes ago, Dave325 said:

Yes! Nice course and a bit challenging. I live real close to it, though I am a member at a course in Bethel. I would have liked to join Elks Run, but the 2k/yr fee made it out of reach in the budget.

We took 3 trips to that area from West Chester last year due to boredom in courses in this area. I could see Eagles Nest closing in the next 5 years. The front was rather repetitive but the back was creative thru the woods. But given the club house and supplies they need to do some serious work to survive. We played Elks and Legendary and found both to be very nice. With GN for under $25 we couldn't pass it up

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, Buck Nutz said:

We took 3 trips to that area from West Chester last year due to boredom in courses in this area. I could see Eagles Nest closing in the next 5 years. The front was rather repetitive but the back was creative thru the woods. But given the club house and supplies they need to do some serious work to survive. We played Elks and Legendary and found both to be very nice. With GN for under $25 we couldn't pass it up

Ah, yes.  Use to play Eagles Nest when my mom lived close by. It is less busy.  Legendary Run is very nice. You should try Stonelick Hills.... A very challenging top notch course, where they play a lot of tournaments. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

On March 14, 2016 at 10:02 PM, WUTiger said:

Way down south near San Diego, Fallbrook Golf Course is shutting down for similar reasons.

Two factors are leading to course closings around the USA:

  • External pressures on business model. The course rkim mentioned had cost pressures due to increased watering costs. Plus, the CA drought probably triggered usage restrictions. All this makes it difficult to turn a profit on a low-cost layout.
  • Capacity adjustments. During the 1990s, many developers from outside the golf industry came in with plans to built golf communities with upscale courses. (See related details in Lockhaven article below.) We have five such operations in our county area. One has sold most of its lots, but the other four sold maybe half the plats - now you see several nice houses and then a couple of acres of grassland.  All five have ended up as semi-private operations.
    • One of the five - Stonebridge GC in Maryville - ended up closing down last spring due to self-inflicted wounds: Developers skimped on course construction with too narrow fairways, silly routing, and no practice area. Enough people started going to other places that it shut down. (My home course in this mix, Stonewolf GC, is doing fine.)
    • One county to the north, Lockhaven Golf Club closed  in late 2014. At one time it had 500 members, but was down to 150 when it shut.

During my trip to Myrtle Beach, I learned that Chinese Investors had bought several area courses as investments. The posted article is a year old. Also, the group is arranging trips to MB for Chinese golfers.

This parallels a trend among wealthy mainland Chinese to move assets out of the wucounutry amid displeasure with the political and economic situation there.

WUTiger.  Lived in Collinsville from 1983 to 1988 and golf, at the time, was difficult due to lack of courses.  Around the time that we moved Stonewolf and Far Oaks were under construction (or were in development stage) but it was very difficult to find a tee time at most courses. I suspected that the shortage could lead to an overage with weaker courses being the likely victims.  Never got to play Stonebridge but looked at on Google maps a few times. It looked, well, odd.  Sounds like my impression might have been right.

I'd also heard the same thing about Chinese investors in MB when I was there last year.  I think one of the courses we were playing had just been bought.  I also noted that a number of the courses we played could have used a good maintenance upgrade - nothing seriously wrong but little things that indicated that volume wasn't where it needed to be.  Of course it didn't help that they had come out of a wet winter so maybe that was part of it too.  But seemed like a good capital injection wouldn't have hurt some of the courses.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Note: This thread is 1313 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Welcome to TST! Signing up is free, and you'll see fewer ads and can talk with fellow golf enthusiasts! By using TST, you agree to our Terms of Use, our Privacy Policy, and our Guidelines.

The popup will be closed in 10 seconds...