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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Patience Rewarded: Golf club ownership a challenge, but bargain price could ease pain

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     If you are a well-to-do golfer confident in a turnaround of the economy and the golf course business, there may never be a better time to pick up an interesting golf course at a bargain price.  Just last week, the famed Pleasant Valley Country Club in Sutton, MA, former home to both PGA and LPGA tour stops, sold at auction for $5 million to a family that runs another private course in the area.

        That $5 million is several multiples more than the listings of other clubs for sale around the country.  Musket Ridge,

Expect country clubs to sell for prices close to their annual revenue figures.

for example, a Maryland daily fee course within easy driving range of the Washington metro area, is listed at $3 million and has reportedly received a few low-ball offers since being put up for sale in October.  The club, which was built in 2001 for more than $12 million, generates a reported $2.26 million in annual revenues.  Daily fee golf competition in the D.C. market is fierce, and the guess here is that the bank selling Musket Ridge will wind up giving it away for about the equivalent of annual revenues.

        A couple of hours west of Musket Ridge, Virginia National Golf Club is wedged into the historic territory between the Blue Ridge and Shenandoah Mountains.  As a frequent visitor to the area, I can attest to how beautiful those mountains are, although I have not played the Davis Love Management run course in Bluemont.  The Civil War Battle of Cool Spring was fought on the site, an apt metaphor for a club that has struggled for most of its 10 years.  The challenging course (rating 73.3 and slope 137 from just 6,316 yards) was designed by Jerry Matthews.  No sales price is listed.

        Another 10-year-old club, the 18-hole semi-private Falls Village Golf Club in Durham, NC, has been on the market since last summer, after its owners entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  Revenues for 2008 were just $1.38 million.  The Falls Village course was designed by Bill Daniels of the Lee Trevino Design Group. (This could mean the layout is friendly to those who fade the ball.) According to Google Maps’ satellite view, the course is surrounded by woods but, for now at least, no homes.

        In Hot Springs, AR, the Belvedere Golf Resort is listed at $1.295 million with an option to purchase an adjacent 460 acres for just $499,000.  The golf course, which was designed by Herman Hackbarth, opened in 1949 and is located in Hot Springs National Park.  Based on comments of those who have played the course recently, the next owner will have to invest a significant amount in renovating and reseeding a layout that has suffered in the last few years.

         If you would like me to investigate these or any other clubs for sale across the nation, contact me and I will get on it.  As always, there is never a fee for my services.
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Larry Gavrich

This blog was conceived and is published by me, Larry Gavrich, a former corporate communications executive who founded HomeOnTheCourse, LLC, in 2005.  Our firm advises baby boomers and others seeking a lifestyle in which golf is a major component.  My wife Connie and I own a home in Connecticut (not on a golf course) and a condo at Pawleys Plantation in Pawleys Island, SC, on a Jack Nicklaus layout.  We began our search for our home on the course more than 15 years ago, and the challenges of the search inspired me to research golf communities and write objective reviews of them.


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