Are the baby boomers the last of the golf generation? With fewer players as baby boomers become less in number, closures of golf courses are outpacing the opening of new ones. The National Golf Foundation reported that 200 golf courses closed and only 15 new ones opened in 2017 and since then the number of courses continue to decline.
Current baby boomers and the Generation Xers tend to place higher value on the exclusivity and luxury associated with country clubs and golf. The younger generation (Millennials) have little interest in golf because it doesn’t seem to offer the experience they prefer. Golf is difficult to learn to play well, has complicated rules and takes several hours to complete the course. Add the expense of equipment, club membership, green fees and cart rentals, the cost seems to outstrip the budgets of the younger generation. Millennials value inclusiveness and want to share their experiences with their friends, putting value on ease, speed and efficiency; the game of golf is lacking in all of these qualities.
Golf Courses “in the green?”
Buyers who are interested in a golf-centered community should pay careful attention to the financial health, ownership and management of the golf course. An owner other than the HOA could decide that it is no longer economically feasible to maintain it and close it up resulting in a dead golf course. When the course closes, homes surrounding it lose substantial value overnight. If the HOA decides to take over the course, it may make dues mandatory for everyone in the community, even if they don’t play golf. The HOA can also increase the monthly dues to support this amenity and maintain the property values. A last option would be for the HOA to wait for another entity to purchase and operate the course, but if left untended for any length of time, it can be an expensive operation to regroom a golf course and have ready for use.
Hobby of the past?
Florida has more golf courses than most other states and many areas are well known for their 5-star golf communities and country clubs. But with the aging baby boomers, the popularity and excitement of living in a golf course community may continue to wane in the coming years.
Some information courtesy of a Wall Street Journal article, January of 2019.