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May 2019 Industry Report

The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 16,000 points since its bear market low slightly more than a decade ago. The wealth generation has been a booster shot in the arm for golf communities in second home markets. A couple of interesting statistics from The Wall Street Journal on second home ownership trends:

– 1,500 square feet is the median size of a vacation home

– 54% are detached single-family homes

– 39% paid all cash for the transaction

– 33% of homes are located in a resort area, 33% are by a beach, 21% are lakefront, 18% are in a small town 

Special offer for your next member trip

Coeur d’Alene Resort in Idaho is one of the few high-rise hotels in the world set on a freshwater lake. Two notable enhancements have been completed for the 2019 golf season. Every guest room has been updated and its iconic par 3, with a floating green, received a complete renovation.

The resort has a special incentive to bring your next member group to Coeur d’Alene. In addition to complimentary room and golf for you and your spouse, you receive a stipend of $25 for each paid member room night. For example, if you brought five member couples for four nights, you would earn $500 cash. For more information, please contact Taylor Fore, golf sales manager, at tfore@cdaresort.com.

The tax man cometh

Keep an ear to the ground in New York. Two state legislators are sponsoring a bill that could alter the manner in which golf courses are valued for property tax purposes. The bill would allow local governments to assess the value of golf courses based upon their “highest and best use” rather than their value as a golf facility. If the bill gains momentum, this could become a nationwide trend.

Aloha from the Big Island of Hawaii

Last December, 32 teams from around the country competed for bragging rights and a $10,000 professional cash purse during the Mauna Kea Pro-Am, a Big Island tradition since 1972.  Golf professionals able to field a team with three paid members this December (3-8) receive room, golf, most meals, and airfare up to $900 – a value of $4,500. For an invitation, please email me at Mark@ExecutiveGolferMagazine.com.

“Green shoots” of growth

While not at pre-Great Recession levels, according to the National Golf Foundation, our sport is experiencing stabilization in on-course participation, with a new support level around 24 million golfers. Almost one in every nine Americans plays golf in some form, more than participate in basketball, tennis, baseball, or skiing. There were an estimated 2.6 million beginners (those who played on a golf course for the first time) last year, which is near record levels and marks the fifth straight year with over 2 million newcomers.

Worthy of an Oscar

Borrego Springs was a hideaway for Hollywood stars back in the 1950s. The small community (to this day there isn’t a stoplight in town) was a haven for Tinseltown’s elite to enjoy privacy and balmy skies. Rams Hill only adds to its allure as a true oasis in the desert. Golfweek recently ranked the club as the third best resort course you can play in California behind Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill. “My design is a shell-shocker of an experience.” – Tom Fazio. More: www.RamsHill.com.

Historic in every way

French Lick Resort was welcoming guests for more than a century when the LPGA was founded by 13 pioneering women. With two sister hotels—the West Baden Springs Hotel and the French Lick Springs Hotel—the resort opened in 1845, the same year that America only had 27 states in the Union. This year, French Lick Resort will host a Symetra Tour in July (supporting future LPGA greats) and the Senior LPGA Championship in October (recognizing the Tour’s legends). More: www.FrenchLick.com.

A runaway success story

While golf participation has remained steady in recent years, Topgolf has been growing like crazy. Golf industry executives have been working to find ways to “bridge the gap” from a Topgolf participant into a player. A couple of interesting statistics:

– 94% of non-golfers feel comfortable at a Topgolf venue (In your mind, how does your club stack up?)

– 75% of non-golfers who visited Topgolf said they are interested in playing on a course

– 29% of golfers who recently visited Topgolf say the experience leads them to play more traditional golf

Taking a break from Blackjack

Lake Las Vegas (30 minutes from The Strip) provides the ideal combination of two Jack Nicklaus Signature courses (Reflection Bay and Southshore Country Club), Westin and Hilton hotels, 10 miles of shoreline with acres of white sandy beach, multiple dining and shopping diversions, and a modern fitness and swim club. Its newest guest amenity, open to the public, is The Lake Las Vegas Golf Academy featuring an indoor hitting bay with Trackman technology, a Scotty Cameron putter fitting system, and will soon offer a 25,000 square-foot practice tee. More: www.LakeLasVegas.com.

Rise of destination golf

Almost half of the new 18-hole courses that opened over the past five years were built more than 50 miles from a major city. As our sport continues to find its sea legs with America’s changing demographics and leisure preferences, destination golf has become a bright spot. Journeys to Bandon Dunes in Oregon and Kauri Cliffs in New Zealand have become a rite of passage for the golf purist. The newest entry into the burgeoning market is Forest Dunes in Northern Michigan. Currently the resort offers Weiskopf and Doak designs with a short course in the planning stage. Each has a distinctly different feel. The Forest Dunes Course (Weiskopf) is highly regarded for its conditioning and bent grass fairways and greens, while The Loop (Doak) features a creative concept—a reversible design that alternates directions every other day. More: www.ForestDunesGolf.com.

A “best places” to live on the coast

America’s history began along New England’s rugged coastline. Many are surprised to learn that Pilgrims first landed on the tip of lower Cape Cod before relocating to nearby Plymouth. The Club at New Seabury has long been one of the Northeast’s most respected clubs in a globally recognized area known for its fishing, sandy shores, and beach lifestyle. Member amenities include two golf courses (Ocean and Dunes), a 42,000 square-foot clubhouse (with unobstructed views of Nantucket Sound), the Beach Club (with its signature blue umbrellas), and Athletic Club (featuring 14 all-weather tennis courts and zero-entry family pool). Coastal Living named The Club at New Seabury a “Best Places To Live on the Coast in 2019.” More: www.NewSeabury.com.

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