Golf, Inc. Strategies Summit
I recently returned from Palm Springs (where the temperature was 106º) and the Golf, Inc. Magazine Strategies Summit, where I participated on a panel discussion on Repositioning and Repurposing Golf Courses and Clubs.
Of particular interest from our panel discussion were the statistics John Brown of Brown Golf showed relating to customs at many clubs.  These are issues I first addressed in 2010 and John, along with our panel moderator Van Tengberg and my colleague Ron Carciere did a great job of quantifying these issues. How do we best address these issues and with every club having a unique "culture", what is right for your club?  We all know time doesn't stand still, and that tradition is valuable but markets change and so do even some of the most prestigious clubs. Explore the Power Point shown above and feel free to contaqct any of us to learn more.
Another most interesting takeaway from the conference was the presentation by membership marketing expert Steve Graves who emphasized the following points in his experiences from successful club membership development:
  • What makes the club special?
  • What is the club known for?
  • What is the annual cost of the club?
  • Clubs MUST charge initiation or entrance fees.
  • Take care of the women and kids.
While these all seem relatively simple, boards often lose sight of these fundamentals in favor of what may be on the agenda of current board members.  Steve made a very compelling presentation.
There was also some discussion on interest rates for debt financing with some stories about banks lending at 5% or below but more available options in the 6-8% range and about the active sales market for golf properties in 2014/2015. It was stated that more golf courses sold in the past year than ever before, but also eventually qualified that with 3 large multi-course portfolio sales that fact can be deceiving.  It was also stated that golf course prices are increasing.  That too can be deceiving, depending on how you measure values.  It could simply mean that the courses sold were larger operations than those sold in previous years, and given that we prefer to measure value based on cap rates and gross income multipliers, it is our observation at Golf Property Analysts that values have remained somewhat stable over the past year.  All that being said, most agreed that the conference was well-attended, busy and that 2015 has been  a positive year for most golf course operators.
As illustrated in Geoff Shackleford's blog, the 2015 rankings are out and, as usual create some controversy.  I agree wholeheartedly with Geoff that "Resistance to Scoring" is a category which far too many raters and readers misinterpret into artificially high rankings.  As a 25 year rater myself, I fondly recall taking my sons on rating visits when they couldn't hit the ball more than 150 yards. If the course was too hard for them, what would it be like for the average woman or novice golfer, let alone the enthusiast with limited skill. Of course, golf should be challenging, but in 35 years appraising, analyzing and consulting with golf courses and clubs, I've learned that there is a balance between challenge and fun.  I've also learned that fun is what brings players back and makes the club financially successful.  Yes, US Opens make money, but only a precious few clubs have the ability to host one and regardless of what Pete Dye says in the AMEX commercial about "golfers punishing themselves" nobody likes losing lots of golf balls.  
With many clubs considering and implementing renovation plans to stay competitive, rankings have become a target for many clubs.  Like anything else, it stands to reason that those rankings won't come to you.  Not only does a club have to implement a good plan and execute it well, but if you're going to get ranked you have to know how to do it.  I can't tell you how many of our clients complan to me that they don't host enough rater visits.  I always loved the old saying that "a failure to plan is a plan for failure". Nothing could be more true in this instance.  If you think your club has the "stuff" to be ranked, you need a plan of attack to make it happen.  There's no guarantees here of course, because the favorability of golf courses is not much different than ice cream flavors. Some like chocolate and others vanilla.  I'd love to hear more from clubs on their efforts to be ranked and learn if we can help.
Recent Assignments
IA - Consultation with private club on future planning
NJ - Consultation with private club on future planning and turn-around
PA - Appraisal of daily fee golf facility for bank financing
CO - Appraisal of resort golf course  for tax assessment analysis and possible appeal
IL - Litigation support consulting for private club
NJ - Appraisal of Private Club for ad-valorem tax assessment appeal
MO - Appraisal of Ski Resort for mortgage financing
NJ - Appraisal of Private Club for bank financing
RI - Marketing/Brokerage of Private Club Facility (see more below)
Click HERE for more details
powered by emma
Subscribe to our email list.