Smart Idea: Savannahs Outlet Golf Course With Executive Tees
Someone made a golf course more fun to play (and it sure wasn’t a barnyard rooster)
Learn how they did it here.
Golf Helps Drive Prices in Scotland’s property Hot Spots
Read the story in The Daily Newspaper in Scotland.
It’s Not All Doom and Gloom.
Encouraging news in Club and Resort Business News.
Here’s the opening excerpt: “Despite the closing of courses across the country, many builders are enjoying success with golf-based communities, Builder magazine reported. “To meet the demand for golf course living, builders and developers are opening new projects and refurbishing others,” the industry publication serving the home building industry reported.”
HERE’S COOL HEADS PLANNING: A failing golf course community kept cool heads, formed a proper committee, and with careful planning avoided losing millions in property values.
An unusual golf course management company, Green Golf Partners, operating out of Danville, Illinois leased a struggling Florida 27-hole golf course, now known as Cape Royal Golf Club, 11460 Royal Tee Cir, Cape Coral, FL 33991, and turned it back into a thriving community center.
Here’s the story:
Case Study: Helping HOAs Keep the Golf Community Dream Alive
The stakes are enormous for homeowners when the golf course at the heart of their community threatens to close. Property values and lifestyle dreams hang in the balance. The National Golf Foundation says the number of golf courses in the U.S. continues a gradual decline from its peak, as the marketplace rebalances following a building boom that lasted more than two decades. These golf courses were built to increase the property values of adjacent lots and homes. In the event the course closes, these lots see their value drop precipitously. But a golf course closure is anything but inevitable when residents are determined to stop it -- when they find the right partner. That’s what happened at Cape Royal, located near Cape Coral in Lee County, Florida.
The Fall and Rise of Cape Royal Golf Club
The Royal Tee Golf Club, the 27-hole public course built in the mid-1980s and the centerpiece of the Cape Royal residential community, had been slipping for several years. The homeowners could see it happening. The developer had finished building-out the community and appeared to lose interest in maintaining and operating the course. The course abruptly closed in August 2016, when the owner told the independently-controlled Cape Royal HOA he would stop maintaining it, cease paying dues, and that the property would be sold. Facing a predicted decline in their home values of between 20 and 40 percent (which would mean an overall decline of $30-$60 million in this development), the HOA activated a strategic plan that had been in the works for about a year to prevent the golf course from being developed by another owner. Within six months the HOA was able to:
Generate support from the owners of 483 Cape Royal homesites to purchase the golf course.
91 percent voted to approve the $1.4 million purchase, financed with a loan being paid using a $295 annual Golf Course Acquisition Assessment on each homesite, roughly $24 per month.
The purchase closed in January 2017.
The golf property was eventually renamed Cape Royal Golf Club.
Secure a 10-year lease with Green Golf Partners (GGP) to lease and operate the course, and to do so without any HOA funds to subsidize the golf operation.
“GGP was very enthusiastic about the potential of Cape Royal Golf Club, very willing to work with us, and had the financial means to recover the course while sustaining minimum revenue,” said Don Weigand, HOA President. “They are a great group of people, incredibly honest, take a lot of care where the money is spent, and focus it in the right areas.”
Green Golf Partners: “On Their Side” with Deep Experience, Perseverance
Green Golf Partners is well aware of the common problems facing HOA’s and municipally operated golf courses throughout the country. The GGP team paid several visits to assess exactly what needed to be done to bring the course, which CEO Matt McIntee describes as “very fun and very playable”, back into condition. GGP renovated the greens, fairways, bunkers and tee boxes. They also performed infrastructure improvements to the building and irrigation system. Complexities are very common in restoration projects but were handled thanks to GGP’s wealth of experience and deep understanding of golf course engineering and food and beverage operations.
McIntee also said GGP approaches projects in a manner that will help homeowners preserve their dream and, more specifically, their property values. He was impressed that the HOA was trying to maintain the grounds even before they had purchased the course. That approach, coupled with perseverance to see a difficult project through to conclusion, were key.
“Our approach is really simple. We are going to do whatever we can to help them reach their objectives. We are really on their side,” McIntee said. “For every club that closes, finally one fought back. They took matters into their own hands by partnering with a reliable and honorable operator.”
Blowing Away Expectations
The results that followed the January 2018 grand reopening have far exceeded expectations. The course is seeing 250-300 rounds of play each day; outstanding by any measure and far above previous numbers. The Caloosa Club restaurant and bar already have plans to expand thanks to higher than expected food and beverage sales. Cape Royal has become the gathering place for community activities such as pickleball, bocce ball, card and activity clubs as well as host of many special resident events.
“The response to the golf part of the community has been overwhelming,” Weigand said. “What’s happening in the revitalized Caloosa Club is 100 percent more than anticipated. We’re busting at the seams. Golfers and non-golfers are enjoying the convenience of the Caloosa Club”
This model can be replicated in many other situations where communities face the possibility of a golf course closing. McIntee says that while each situation is different, GGP can offer entities that are affected viable scenarios showing what the golf course is worth, the costs to make necessary renovations, analysis of market conditions and risk assessment that allows informed decisions.
“At the end of the day, community-based golf courses provide open space, a tranquil and safe setting with the added bonus of maintaining and in some instances increasing property values”, McIntee said. “ GGP brings all of the disciplines necessary to operate, maintain and maximize the golf course experience. Oh, and by the way, we also bring some fun with us”.