Recent economic challenges have driven many small golf courses to the brink of bankruptcy, and beyond. Some courses have changed hands more times than the players on the course change golf tees, and the surrounding communities have suffered. In Palm Beach County, where there are more golf courses than public beaches, the issue of having a view of a gold course that is no longer up to par (pun intended) dominates many association meetings.
Otherparts of the country have faced similar issues. States like California, Florida, and Nevada have all felt the brunt of this recession, and the subsequent decrease in disposable income that is the bread and butter for most golf courses. In extreme cases, the surrounding HOAs have felt it in their own best interest to not only become partial landlords for some of the residents, but become golf course tycoons as well. In one example of this, the Woodhaven Country Club Homeowners Association (HOA) has closed on the purchase of the Woodhaven Country Club in Palm Desert from Textron Financial.
Woodhaven Country Club includes an 18-hole Championship golf course course, eight lighted tennis courts, and a 34,000 square-foot clubhouse which includes a gym and racquetball courts. Built in 1983, the Country Club was foreclosed on by its lender Textron Financial in May of 2010, a victim of the economic recession and the dramatic changes taking place in the golf industry, according Will Gustafson, CEO of Synergy Golf Course Management which owns and manages golf courses and related real estate in California, Arizona and Nevada.
“Woodhaven’s struggles were through no fault of its own,” says Gustafson, whose company has managed the golf course and overseen the improvements at the County Club since being taken over by Textron and will continue to manage the golf course for the HOA.
Golf courses around the country are struggling to survive, with about 10 percent of the nation’s 16,000 courses being taken over by their lenders. “Many troubled residential courses like Woodhaven suffered only because they were viewed more as an amenity to a housing development than as a separate operating business,” adds Gustafson. “Properly run, Woodhaven will continue to be a jewel in the desert. We applaud the HOA for having the wisdom and initiative to buy the course and preserve what has been a valuable asset for the local community for nearly 30 years.”
Woodhaven is the most recent example of homeowners and members across the country seizing the opportunity to protect home values by acquiring these courses. Last week, the members of Desert Mountain Golf Club in Scottsdale, AZ acquired the club’s six courses and surrounding land to “ensure the future of our community,” according to a report published by The Arizona Republic.
“The country club’s future is now in the hands of those with the greatest stake in its success,” says Woodhaven General Manager Bob Evert who will remain in the same capacity under the new ownership. “This has always been a great golf facility and with the proper focus, it will be again. The Club has improved dramatically since Synergy started managing it after Textron took it over. It provided us with a look into the Country Club’s potential. Woodhaven Country Club will prove to be an excellent investment for the Homeowner’s Association.”
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Some information for this article was obtained from PRlog.org, a free press release service.