What’s a Golf Course Worth?

Views: 45 Comments: 0 0 Post Date: December 8, 2020

This game has inspired Kings, Heads of States, business and community leaders, rookies like myself, and my 8-year-old.

I learned that spending 4 hours with someone playing golf is the best way to get to know them. That’s how I met my wife. It’s a game you just play. That why they say…. The most important shot in life and golf is the next one.

Let’s see what a golf course is worth.

I have valued many unique assets including hotels, airports, large tech companies, and governmental assets. I host this show to educate owners on valuations, so they can use this information to maximize their business’s value.

Golf industry like any recreational industry booms in good times. Today there are 17,000 golf courses in America, making $20 billion annually, for the pleasure of over 100 million golfers. Yes, that is every 1 out of three people in America either plays or watches golf.

whatsitworth

There are FOUR LATEST TRENDS evolving this industry and the game –

  1. Less is more – over 50% of golfers are millennials and women. This demographic prefers shorter events. 9 holes, those are shorts holes, or can be completed in 90-100 minutes. Instant gratification isn’t fast enough for some. Their tastes are also changing the food menus, beverage choices, service levels at golf courses. Where women and millennials go, every one follows.  They are the future.
  2. Tech and fashion – lighter clubs, swing analyzers, Bluetooth music, breathable, lighter, and comfortable clothes, and even arcade games are changing this 500-year-old sport.
  3. Environment – the environment has always been a controversial topic in golf. Smart greenskeepers are realizing that when it comes to keeping their course environmentally safe, simple is better. Use of low water grasses, GPS sprayers, simple natural fertilizers, and ride mowers for tees and greens are in. As they say grass does not know the cost.

whatsitworth

There are four reasons investors pay big money for when buying golf courses –

  1. Cash flow – cash is king. Think logically, if the course isn’t making money why would someone buy it? Today 80% of the courses are not making money. Making the 20% that do, most sought after.
  2. Highest and best use – if the course isn’t making money, what might be an alternate use for the real estate? It is difficult to start or increase the revenue of a golf course, so many times the alternative of using the real estate for other purposes (e.g. housing development) may be the highest and best use. Depending on the overall economic climate.
  3. Low CapEx – courses that have been neglected and not well maintained, require tremendous effort, resources, and time to bring back in line. Requiring big financial commitments from new investors, without a promise of future returns. Not a good recipe for a good investment.
  4. A strong reputation – golf is an experience. If your course has not given a positive experience for the players, employees, members, it will leave a mark. Courses that have legacy reputation of fun outings, family, events, weddings, and positive community building, are the ones in the 20% of the courses that make money and are most sought after.

One of the most fascinating things about golf is how it reflects the cycle of life.

No matter what you shoot – the next day you have to go back to the first tee and begin all over again and make your self into something. – Peter Jacobson

If you are a golf course owner or a future investor, look for courses that can be transformed for the new and upcoming golfers. We have seen time and time again, that the species that survive aren’t the strongest but the ones who adapt and overcome the fastest.

Bharat Kanodia – Founder and Chief Appraiser

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