The economy is so bad in California that ‘hundreds” of golf courses have “closed in the past two years and many formerly exclusive country clubs have slashed fees or opened their greens to the public.”
Through September of this year, at least 114 of the nation’s 16,000 or so golf courses had closed, according to the National Golf Foundation, a number that was offset only partly by the opening of 44 new courses.
“People are cutting golf out of their diets because they’ve got to cut something,” said Jeff Woolson, a real estate broker with Los Angeles-based CB Richard Ellis who specializes in buying and selling golf courses.
Woolson and other real estate experts say most golf courses have lost 30% to 50% of their worth in the last two years. Several courses have been forced into bankruptcy.
The number of U.S. golfers peaked in 2005 at 30 million, though the number of rounds played was decreasing. Now with the economy still weak and consumers pinching pennies, many golf course owners face potential financial calamity as loans come due and lenders refuse to let them refinance, Woolson said.
The telling story is in the LA Times, Golf courses suffer as recession deals a bogey