October 2018 Industry Report

Although golf continues to face demographic and societal headwinds, the thriving domestic economy is boosting membership rosters. With the financial outlook improving, clubs are committing to reinvestments. During the past two years, private golf clubs in Florida have invested more than $1.1 billion in capital improvements (data from RSM Consulting).


Many Boards are considering tightening outside access by eliminating reciprocal programs that allow outside play, reducing membership categories, and scaling back non-member events (like weddings).


I would like to inject a note of caution. At many of America’s top private clubs, dues now average $1,000/month. What is surprising is $775/month of that is allocated exclusively to payroll costs. Throw in the rough estimate that golf course maintenance costs average $91,600 per hole per year (a facility with 18 holes equals an annual cost of $1,648,800) and dues revenue is depleted quickly.


Before tightening exclusivity, evaluate what’s the true hit to revenue and how it will impact future budgets.


Faster than Amazon Delivery

EASE Drones is testing a drone food delivery service at King’s Walk Golf Course in North Dakota. Here’s how it works. Golfers make an order on an app. The staff places the items into a payload, which is transported to you on the course underneath a drone. Once the drone reaches its destination, it uses a rope to lower the snacks and beverages down to your foursome with a delivery charge of $3 (plus food costs).


Bali Hai – A Sure Bet In Las Vegas

The probability of winning a blackjack hand against the dealer is 42% and a loss is 49% (ties are the remaining 9%). A sure bet for great golf can be found at Bali Hai Golf Club, a lush oasis located two par-5s from the famous Las Vegas Strip (987 steps to be exact). The club, along with its resort partners, offers golf packages – from value to premium – starting at $169/person. On course amenities include Bluetooth cart speakers, gourmet food, and a par-3 contest providing an opportunity to double your money (this is Vegas after all). More: www.BaliHaiGolfClub.com. Golf professionals traveling to Las Vegas receive complimentary golf with an accompanying paid member. Please email Alex Canetti at acanetti@balihaigolfclub.com for information.


Rams Hill – A Story of Renaissance

The Tom Fazio design at Rams Hill is a course you likely aren’t familiar with. Closed for many years, the fairways turned to dust and the majority of nonindigenous trees were lost. In one of golf’s true success stories, the resort destination is “back from the ashes.” Smart investments included a new irrigation system, extensive planting of native trees, and drilling of six wells (water is always a concern in the desert). The clubhouse was expanded and, in an effort to limit its environmental footprint, a one-megawatt solar farm was installed to provide a renewable energy source for the wells and course irrigation system. “Rams Hill is a shell-shocker of an experience. It’s off the beaten path, but worth the travel. The lush fairways against a stark and barren landscape make it one of a kind.” – Tom Fazio. More: www.RamsHill.com.


The Biltmore – A South Florida Icon

The Biltmore was designed by Leonard Schultze, architect behind Grand Central Terminal in New York City. There are approximately 2,500 National Historic Landmarks across America, 45 of which are in Florida. The Biltmore Hotel is the only resort in Florida to earn the prestigious designation. Currently in the final stages of a $25 million renewal, the resort’s Donald Ross course is undergoing extensive renovations – keeping true to Ross’s original blueprints. “My facilities have been the undisputed #1 golf schools in America for decades. Moving my international headquarters to The Biltmore has provided the opportunity to build modern training facilities. It’s very exciting times at The Biltmore.” – Jim McLean. More: www.BiltmoreHotel.com.

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