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Thread: Private Golf courses in big trouble?

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    Default Private Golf courses in big trouble?

    Wondering what everyone's thoughts are on the financial health of private golf courses around Calgary.
    I know the Elks (sorry, "The Winston") are open for new members, although those new members will get hit with some heft specail assesments over the next few years to pay for the brand new clubhouse they are building.

    I have heard radio advertisements for Silver Springs, which used to always have a waiting list, it's now wide open for full memberships.

    What do you think? Are deomgraphics and changings tastesw going to spell disaster for these private courses? Or is this just a short-term thing?

    I like golf, but I can't understand the economics of being a member somewhere. I think I worked out at the Elks you'd have to golf more than 200 times a year to "break even" on a membership. That seems difficult, so really, you'd better be the sort of person who enjoys being part of a club and feels that alone has some significant value.
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    Itís a dying sport!

    Its expensive ($100+) AND you have to commit 4-5 hours to play a round.

    Only was a membership makes sense is if you were retired and wanted to play 50+ rounds a year at that course.

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    I really enjoy golf, but have a hard time justifying a membership. I used to work at Silver Springs as a student, I can see the appeal for the older crowd. Social circles, network, strike some business deals, etc. And hang out at a place where everyone knows you.

    But in terms of younger professionals (like myself) I don't see any appeal to that Ol boys club at all, and golfing the same course over and over would get boring real fast.

    EDIT: went on a tangent, but to answer your original question. I don't think the private clubs are doing well financially. Older members dying/leaving, younger people have no interest in joining these clubs. No replacement of lost revenue. Plus there's really only 4-5 months of good golf weather here.

    I think the writing is on the wall, but you can see they are trying to branch out. The ownership group that owns Hamptons opened up the course to non members so its semi-private, and are repurposing the golf course to build more homes. Same group owns Harvest Hills golf course, and they completely shut it down to build more homes.
    Last edited by Marsh; 04-11-2017 at 09:04 AM.

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    200 rounds to break even? That can't be right

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    Originally posted by riander5
    200 rounds to break even? That can't be right
    Could be wrong. What's the current annual cost of a membership at a decent course?

    First rule of an ExtraSlow thread is to check ExtraSlow's marth.
    Help me figure out what to do with my life. Suggestions?
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    Default Re: Private Golf courses in big trouble?

    Originally posted by ExtraSlow
    Wondering what everyone's thoughts are on the financial health of private golf courses around Calgary.
    I know the Elks (sorry, "The Winston&quot are open for new members, although those new members will get hit with some heft specail assesments over the next few years to pay for the brand new clubhouse they are building.

    I have heard radio advertisements for Silver Springs, which used to always have a waiting list, it's now wide open for full memberships.

    What do you think? Are deomgraphics and changings tastesw going to spell disaster for these private courses? Or is this just a short-term thing?

    I like golf, but I can't understand the economics of being a member somewhere. I think I worked out at the Elks you'd have to golf more than 200 times a year to "break even" on a membership. That seems difficult, so really, you'd better be the sort of person who enjoys being part of a club and feels that alone has some significant value.
    Whoa...200 times a year? I think you are doing your math incorrectly or expect a $20 round of golf? Annual dues at the Elks are just under $3900/year. If you golf 50 times a year its just under $80/round.

    I used to golf a decent amount 50+ rounds/year and even had an annual membership at the Elks. The issue with golf is time, to play 18 holes by the time you factor in driving to and from is it is 6-7 hours out of the day gone. It never used to take that long to play a round. Last year I played once.

    It's all due to what i call the "tiger" effect. Weekend warriors and people who only took up golf because of Tiger are taking minutes to line up putts and pull out gps/range finders for every shot, when they are lucky if they can get to within 20 yards of their intended target. Because of this less people want to golf so courses have to increase rates to cover it. Which reduces your market size, it's all a circle and its causing the death of the game.

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    Originally posted by 88CRX
    Itís a dying sport!
    This.

    The younger generation have no interest it, so death is imminent.

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    Originally posted by Marsh
    I really enjoy golf, but have a hard time justifying a membership. I used to work at Silver Springs as a student, I can see the appeal for the older crowd. Social circles, network, strike some business deals, etc. And hang out at a place where everyone knows you.

    But in terms of younger professionals (like myself) I don't see any appeal to that Ol boys club at all, and golfing the same course over and over would get boring real fast.

    EDIT: went on a tangent, but to answer your original question. I don't think the private clubs are doing well financially. Older members dying/leaving, younger people have no interest in joining these clubs. No replacement of lost revenue. Plus there's really only 4-5 months of good golf weather here.

    I think the writing is on the wall, but you can see they are trying to branch out. The ownership group that owns Hamptons opened up the course to non members so its semi-private, and are repurposing the golf course to build more homes. Same group owns Harvest Hills golf course, and they completely shut it down to build more homes.
    I thought Hamptons sold enough memberships and went private again?

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    I wish it was more common to play only nine holes. That's a much more reasonable timeframe.

    Yeah, my math was screwed up. Although at the Elks now, if they charge each member an extra five grand a year to pay for that clubhouse, which I have heard is a real possibility, then it's a lot more rounds to break even.
    Help me figure out what to do with my life. Suggestions?
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    I used to be a junior at canyon meadows. I believe at the time it was like 40K be accepted and then about ~5k annually but half of that could be used at the proshop or clubhouse. Looking through the members book I was surprised to see how many people didn't actual live in Calgary.

    **This was 10+ years ago my numbers could be a little off
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    Originally posted by ExtraSlow

    Could be wrong. What's the current annual cost of a membership at a decent course?

    First rule of an ExtraSlow thread is to check ExtraSlow's marth.
    I think most memberships range from 40-60 rounds to break even (most = average courses)

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    Originally posted by ExtraSlow
    I wish it was more common to play only nine holes. That's a much more reasonable timeframe.
    This is why I don't play golf anymore unless I have to for work. I am so bored after 7-9 holes that by the time 4-5 hours has gone by and 18 holes I am hating it and have completely stopped caring about the game a while ago.

    I don't mind going out in the evening for 9 holes at some of the cheaper courses though, mostly because I'm not very good so it's not worth spending much on a round haha.

    Some people play 36-54 holes in one day and I can't even imagine....

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    Originally posted by lasimmon


    I thought Hamptons sold enough memberships and went private again?
    They might have, but any random can still play there as far as I know

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    Willow Park membership is up. I think the big issue for many private courses is they are equity.

    I can hear you, "huh? how is equity bad?"

    Cash calls. Exactly why I joined Willow. I know what my annual is going to be, generally (might see small increases in future), and I won't ever be hit with "we are building a new clubhouse, you owe us 20k". I don't think many people in their 30s would like to get a notice they owe 20k just randomly one day... thus why a lot of private courses are not doing well.

    That's my 2 cents.
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    Golfing, bought a set of clubs in the spring of 81, sold them later that fall, haven't golfed since. Wasn't a bad player but there was just many other things that interested me more that I could do in the time spent doing a round of golf.

    Is maybe part of the problem the municipal tax rates in Calgary for golf courses - I do recall something in the news recently regarding golf courses and tax rates.
    Moran supreme

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    I'm a huge golf fan, but only get out 5-6 times a year due to the cost of the sport.

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    Originally posted by FullFledgedYYC
    Willow Park membership is up. I think the big issue for many private courses is they are equity.

    I can hear you, "huh? how is equity bad?"

    Cash calls. Exactly why I joined Willow. I know what my annual is going to be, generally (might see small increases in future), and I won't ever be hit with "we are building a new clubhouse, you owe us 20k". I don't think many people in their 30s would like to get a notice they owe 20k just randomly one day... thus why a lot of private courses are not doing well.

    That's my 2 cents.
    That's true, however the other side of the coin is your equity share can become quite valuable (or plummet in value) with the economy. At Willow, the money you pay for your initiation is just gone, at least with equity you have a chance to make it back? haha. Equity shares at Pinebrook breached $100k back in '07 boom times.

    I'm at Pinebrook (associate under family members, I'm not a shareholder). Shares last year were around $30k when they traded (plus 50% initiation fee due to the club when you buy one), then dues ~$6k/yr for the primary holder, +$3k for spouse. Which means, ~60 rounds to pay for it (I golfed over 50 last year) for the primary member.

    More on topic though, it is a scary time for private courses. In Pinebrooks AGM/annual letter/etc last year, they stated that they'd be facing a membership cliff in the next 5-10 years, I'm sure due to the reasons stated in this thread. I would imagine that's common everywhere.

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    Do they allow non-whites on private courses?

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    Originally posted by suntan
    Do they allow non-whites on private courses?
    Well drrrr. Who else is going to be caddies?

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    Originally posted by lasimmon


    I thought Hamptons sold enough memberships and went private again?
    Hamptons Golf Course is owned by Mormon church (hearsay) and they bought it with redevelopment in mind.

    Phase 1 approved.
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgar...ment-1.4065193

    Pretty sure they can't piece meal like this going forward, next phase will be complete removal.
    Last edited by Xtrema; 04-11-2017 at 06:27 PM.

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