As you probably expected, the recession is having an adverse impact on golf course memberships and country club memberships.
Recession-battered golf courses aren’t just coping with lighter crowds. Some are edging perilously close to bankruptcy. Courses from Florida to Arizona, where golfing was once a daily exercise, face major cutbacks or foreclosure.
Myrtle Beach, S.C., a once-booming 70-mile strip of beachfront property nicknamed “Golftown, USA,” has been hit especially hard: Where there were about 125 golf courses in 2006, there are now around 100.
“It’s just a shakeout of golf,” says Donald Wizeman, CEO of Myrtle Beach Golf Association, which produces a website for golfers traveling to Myrtle Beach. “The real estate market is so depressed here.”
Things are just as bleak in Arizona. Eight golf courses in the Phoenix area have gone through foreclosure or bankruptcy since commercial properties started facing serious financial problems in 2008, according to IonDataExpress.com, a real estate analysis firm. Many more are reducing their hours this summer, says Tom Stine, co-founder of market researcher Golf Datatech.
You should also expect to find incredible deals for golf travel and green fees on courses all around the country.