By Design - Spring 2020

18 | By Design N o good golf course deserves to disappear, though many do— and for many reasons. Among them are fiscal mismanagement and natural disasters, but in most cases, the demise of a golf course is tied to simple macroeconomic fundamentals. Perhaps the raw land is worth more being used in some other capacity, typically for residential and commercial real estate; the golf may succumb. Within a course’s lifespan, the warning signs toward abandonment pulse intermittently in red. Start with the scenario where the golf course operation costs consistently exceed income. In a retirement community, for instance, when members are dying off or quitting the game faster than they can be replaced, revenues are diminished. So, too, there’s a cost to repair aging, failing golf course infrastructure. Key items that need replacement on a 20-year-old course, from the irrigation system to cart paths to broken drainage pipes can add up. It’s not unlike needing to put a new roof on your house. Ignore it for too long and your entire house is in peril— but what can be done if you don’t have the money for that new roof? You sell the house or else do nothing and face the consequences later. In the case of many municipal courses facing decommission, the blame can be similar to private sector woes: rounds are down and so are revenues. Yet, there has also been a philosophical change among some municipalities, that no longer should When a golf course closes, there can often be a string of negative effects on the community. Bringing back the golf, maybe in a re-imagined form, is often a far better solution. Joe Passov considers some rebirth stories GOLF REBORN brink Back from the