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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Rumors of golf’s death greatly exaggerated

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Enough already.  Golf is not dead, nor is it suffering from some long slog down the drain because (allegedly) our social network addicted children aren’t interested in the game; the gainfully employed have suddenly decided they can’t afford five hours of relaxation on the course; and Tiger Woods is not playing to his former level.  According to a National Golf Foundation study, the reason interest in golf is waning is the reason why all other forms of recreation that cost money are suffering –- it’s the recession and the related issues of job insecurity and personal expense cutting.

        The number of golfers fell a modest 3.6% in 2010, from 27.1 million

Golf isn't suffering so much because of inherent issues; it is suffering because of the recession.  This too shall pass...eventually.

in 2009 to 26.1 million last year.  The NGF defines a golfer as a person older than six who plays at least one round in a given year.  The numbers of golfers who play an average of eight rounds or more a year also fell 3.6% in 2010, to 14.8 million.  Although the sport lost an estimated 4.6 million golfers last year, it also gained 3.6 million.  The number of lost golfers declined significantly, according to the NGF report.

        With golf retail sales up in the first quarter of the year as well as an up-tick in “golf consumer confidence,” according to the NGF, and with a bit of clear-cutting reducing the over-supply of courses, only the strong golf clubs will survive -– as will the game.

Dog Eat Dog?  Dominion Club owner and members head to mediation sessions

        A bankruptcy judge in Richmond, VA, has ordered that the owner and members of the local Dominion Club settle their differences at formal mediation.  In one corner is the golf club owner, local developer HHHunt, which claims it cannot make good on its promise to repay members’ deposits…but which wants to continue to run the club after its Chapter 11 bankruptcy claim is settled.  In the other corner are the members of the golf club who are owed the deposits and, with some apparent justification, have lost faith in the developer’s ability to manage the club.

        At issue is the $1.6 million Hunt owes 100 club members, and another $10 million the developer will owe other members in the coming months and years.  It is hard to fathom a middle-ground solution to the dispute, as long as Hunt wants to have its cake -– wipe away the deposit promissory -– and consume it as well -– continue to own and manage the golf club.

        A mediator does not have a dog in a fight like this, but the one who has been assigned to this case has some experience related to dog-fighting, albeit indirectly.  Frank Santoro presided as the federal judge at Michael Vick’s bankruptcy proceedings in the wake of Vick’s felony conviction related to dog fighting at his Virginia home.  We will stay tuned to see if the fur flies at mediation.

Read 2480 times Last modified on Friday, 27 September 2013 11:29
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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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