3 Considerations for Buying a Golf Course

Posted On: / By: Brian Knoderer
Buying A Business

With summer in full swing, now is an excellent time to begin considering a new business venture. After the busy summer months, there is an influx of golf venues hitting the market with a seller intent on finding a new owner before the next playing season. Buying a golf course can be a lucrative endeavor, given that the country club and golf course industry generates $24 billion in the United States alone. But, as with all significant investments, you must be prepared for the challenges and opportunities that come your way. Sunbelt Business Brokers discusses three considerations you should make before tapping into the golf industry.

3 Considerations to Make Before Buying a Golf Course

Before reaching out to golf course or clubhouse sellers, you’ll want to determine what you’re looking for at your future golf facility. These three considerations will set you on the right track for finding a compatible venue.

  1. Environmental Factors

    golf clubs in store

    No matter what region you’re looking to buy in, you must factor in its year-round weather conditions. Many prospective owners tend to seek a location that will work in favor of a 12-month playing season. While a year-round venue can be more profitable, you should also consider whether the region experiences any other weather conditions that could interfere with your property’s operations, such as extreme drought or heavy rainfall.

    Additionally, seasonal courses also come with their share of advantages and setbacks. While having an off-season can give you the chance to catch up on facility maintenance, you may also have to consider the amount of upkeep that goes into managing an outdoor property affected by cooler weather conditions such as snow and ice.

  2. Condition of the Property

    Prospective buyers can find golf courses for sale in a variety of conditions. As with any real estate endeavor, you’ll want to decide if you’re looking for a fully-operational property or more of a “fixer-upper” project. Of course, you can save big initially by investing in a course that is in a less-than-optimal working order. But, when touring facilities and the fairway, you’ll want to inquire about all the in’s and out’s to avoid falling into a money pit. Some fixes are more critical and expensive than others, such as damage to an irrigation or drainage system. In addition to inquiring about the property and the lifespan of its systems, ask about the condition of the maintenance equipment. It’s always good news for the buyer when they’re able to inherit some big-ticket assets.

  3. Market Analysis

    Building a successful golf community requires you know the market you’re selling to. If you’re planning to operate as a private facility, do you have enough local interest to acquire new members and maintain existing ones? Public facilities, on the other hand, rely on the support of returning golfers, which can be favorable if your target audience is a more novice crowd. In either scenario, the largest source of income comes from membership and playing fees. You’ll have to determine if what you’re able to charge for a region is enough to meet your expected profits. Also, research the amount of competition in your area to make sure the market isn’t already oversaturated. It can be difficult going up against other big-name clubhouses with booming memberships.

Golf courses and clubhouses operate within a competitive market, so you must be creative in how you plan to capture new customers. However, thanks to the advancement of digital advertising and the power of word-of-mouth referrals, golf club memberships can rise for those who are willing to work for it.

If you’re interested in buying a golf course, let the Sunbelt Business Brokers team assist in the sales process! Our team has access to a vast network of profitable golf course owners preparing to list their businesses for sale. We can help you identify your ideal golf course business– whether that be a private club or public golf course– and walk you through the steps of closing a deal.  Contact your local Sunbelt office for professional support throughout your business transaction.

Brian Knoderer is the President of Sunbelt Business Brokers. He has over 20 years of experience as a business owner and managing business transactions. As a seasoned intermediary, Brian has successfully represented companies in a broad range of industries helping business owners achieve their desired exit strategy or growth initiative.

Brian is also co-owner of Sunbelt Indiana and Managing Director of MMI Capital Partners, a franchisor focused investment banking firm.

Previously Brian was involved in several entrepreneurial ventures as well as having held corporate roles in Franchise Development for Prime Hospitality and Choice Hotels.

Brian is a graduate of Ball State University with a degree in Management Information Systems and earned his MBA from Butler University. He has received the Certified Merger & Acquisition Advisor (CM&AA) designation, holds both the Series 7 – General Security License and the Series 63 – Uniform Securities Licenses, and is a licensed Real Estate Broker. He has been affiliated with several organizations including the Entrepreneur Organization, a Member of the International Business Brokers Association, Venture Club, and a Board Member of The Entrepreneur Institute.

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