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Investing In Land - Is It Time To Look At Golf Course Property?

investing in land - is it time to look at golf course property?

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Published date:

October 08, 2014

Last updated date:

October 08, 2014

By Manny Manriquez

Investing In Land: Is It Time To Look At Golf Course Property?

Is it time to buy real estate on golf courses? There have been two great golf booms in the past century - in the 1920s and 1990s. During each of those decades an average of one new golf course opened in the United States every day. In the 1920s most of those courses were built in and near cities, many of which were those town's first municipal courses. In the 1990s most of the new courses were constructed on converted farmlands and were part of planned "golf communities" where superstar architects designed courses that were used to sell building lots to smitten golfers. The last boom bottomed out - hard - with the crash of the housing market. The downturn was the toughest the industry had ever experienced. Instead of new courses being built existing ones were closing at a clip of well over 100 per year. No one was looking at property on golf courses. In the past year there have been recent stirrings that golf course property prices are rebounding. Is it time to look again at property along the fairways? The number of golfers in America has plummeted in recent years. The days of Dad packing up the clubs on Saturday morning, saying good-bye to the family and disappearing for the entire day are gone forever. The idea of a five-hour round on the golf course is a time-suck too horrible to contemplate for most busy would-be-golfers. But despite pretensions to the contrary golf has never been a sport of the masses. It is a rich sport with small numbers and passionate devotees, most of whom dream of looking out their living room windows at greens and sand traps. If you look at the 1920s and 1990s the two big golf spurts coincided with happy economic times. If golf booms when the the money flows and you think the money will begin flowing once again, it could be time to invest in golf course property. On the down side, golf course property comes with risks that are not normally associated with other types of land. For instance, most golf courses are not guaranteed to always remain golf courses. Many of those homesites bought in the 1990s are sitting beside the weed-infested, overgrown fairways of financially failed clubs. Even financially flush golf clubs are not immune from deep-pocketed developers looking to build homes on attractive land and making offers that are too good to refuse. Instead of open space in your back yard you have more streets of houses in your future. So go into golf course property assuming nothing is permanent and read all documents ahead of the contract. Take a real estate lawyer along with you to navigate any deed restrictions and local zoning ordinances. That way hopefully the worse thing in your future as a golf course property owner will be a few stray Titleists in your back yard.

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