According to a new report from the National Golf Foundation there have been nearly 1,300 golf facility transactions since the beginning of 2007 and they think data indicates this number may be under reported due to the imperfect collection of transactions.
Significant highlights of the report include:
25% of the facilities sold opened in the 1990s, while four in ten were new in either the 1990s or 2000s.
52% of the public facilities sold were “value” priced (peak season weekend green fees with cart of $40 or less) – a percentage that is similar to the total current supply of value courses.
“Premium” priced golf courses (peak green fees of $70 and above) represented 17% of the public facilities transacted – moderately higher than the 11% of total existing premium supply.
Nearly 8 in 10 transactions, privately owned public courses – daily fee + semi-private – represented a disproportionate percentage of total sales (they account for only 59% of current supply). As would be expected, municipal facilities accounted for a disproportionately low percentage of total sales, as only 3% changed hands (16% of current supply).
Golf courses built as part of a real estate development were 35% of transactions but represent only 19% of existing supply.
Florida, with 150 sales (about 12% of total) over the subject time period, topped the state counts, followed by Michigan (86), California and Texas (70 each), and Ohio (65). Florida is home to 7% of the total current U.S. golf supply; Michigan, Ohio, and Texas about 5% each; and California 6%.
Sales increased from 107 in 2011 to 151 in 2012. (Note: County sales records can be two-to-three months behind, so most data captures only the first three quarters or so of 2012).
The number of transactions above $3 million represented only 27.2% of the total sales, down from 47.8% of the total sales in 2011 while the number under $1 million rose from 13.8% of the total sales in 2011 to 31.6% in 2012.
The average price fell by about 45%, from $3.96 million in 2011 to about $2.16 million in 2012 (excluding outliers over $30 million such as the Ritz-Carlton Lodge at Reynolds Plantation in Georgia, and Doral Golf Resort & Spa in South Florida).
There is increased interest in U.S. golf course ownership from foreign investors in countries such as China, Korea, Japan, Great Britain and Canada.
The data suggests the number of courses for sale may be declining and the average sales price could be increasing.