IN THIS ISSUE
2013 Golf Course Openings & Closures Update
Spring 2014 Weather Outlook
7th Annual NGF Golf Business Symposium Set for May 13‑14
New Members Q4-2013
Mayor's Blog: Golf Needs a 24 year old Social Media Consultant
Court Rules That Sold Memberships Not Subject To Property Tax
NGF Top 5: This Month
ROUNDS PLAYED REPORT
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November 2013 Rounds Played Report

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2013 Golf Course Openings & Closures Update

NGF recorded 14 golf course openings in the U.S. in 2013 (measured in 18-hole equivalents). Although openings are still at all-time lows, some of the courses opened are exciting additions to America’s golf course landscape.

In 2013, the Dismal River Club, located in the Nebraska Sand Hills, opened their Tom Doak designed Red Course. The 18-hole Doak course complements Dismal River’s existing Jack Nicklaus designed track (which opened in 2006). Golf Digest included the Red Course at Dismal River in a recent ‘Best New Courses of 2013’ article. Ron Whitten, the publication’s architecture editor, suggested that Doak win a Golf Architect of the Year award for his work on the Red Course and two other courses.

Another notable opening was The Cliffs at Mountain Park course designed by Gary Player. Located in the residential Cliffs Communities in Travelers Rest, SC, the course took more than five years to complete because of various delays. But the persistence of Player and his team paid off. A GOLFWEEK magazine review by Bradley Klein praised the course, calling it a “stunning new layout” and said, “The Cliffs at Mountain Park should be a very serious claimant to a place on the top-100 Modern list.”




18-Hole Equivalents (U.S.) - as of Dec. 31, 2013

 

OPENINGS

14

Number      % of Total

CLOSURES

157.5

Number      % of Total

TOTAL US SUPPLY*

14,564.5

Number      % of Total

 

 

PUBLIC

8.5

61%

151.5

96%

10,688.5

73%

Daily Fee

8.0

57%

144.5

92%

8,394.5

58%

Municipal

0.5

4%

7.0

4%

2,294.0

16%

PRIVATE

5.5

39%

6.0

4%

3,876.0

27%

* Updated as of January 27, 2014


While there were a modest number of golf course openings in 2013, closings outpaced openings for the eight consecutive year. NGF logged 157.5 closures in 2013, for a total net reduction of 143.5 courses. As in recent years, these closures were disproportionately seen in lower priced public facilities - 66% of total closures were among courses with a sub-$40 peak greens fee.

The overall reduction in supply is a gradual, natural market correction of the existing imbalance of supply and demand. Since the market correction began in 2006, there has been a cumulative net reduction of 643 golf courses (18HEQ), which represents a drop of about 4% off the peak supply year of 2005. However, the cumulative decline over that periodshould be considered in context. Over the 20-year period from 1986 to 2005, U.S. golf grew by more than 40%, as more than 4,500 new courses were added.

Although there will be excellent new golf courses being built in the future, the gradual market correction is expected to continue for the next few years. Annual net reduction of supply should be in the 130-160 range, helping us inch toward a healthier supply and demand balance.

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