Golf Course Real Estate – Tee Time

14.06.15

Just like the game itself, there is more to buying golf course real estate than meets the eye. Anthony Purdew of the Golf Consultants Association offers some useful pointers.

The latest findings from HSBC by the Futures Company Golf reveal that golf resort development continues to provide the backbone of high profile tourism investment in many parts of world. Statistics gathered from over 40 countries, identify Florida, Scotland, Spain and Portugal as the fairway front runners with relative ‘new comer’ Latin America climbing the popularity charts. Golf tourism is also growing quickly in Asia and the Middle East, which currently has the world’s most profitable resort courses with new residential golf projects being developed as part of national tourism strategies in countries as far apart as Vietnam, Abu Dhabi and Cuba. All this fairway activity is welcome news. But with such a proliferation in choice what factors should potential buyers take into account when shortlisting tee and green investments options?

Don’t buy too near the fairway. You want views, but not if it means being woken up by a dawn chorus of lawnmowers. Take note of the width of the greens and the distance of the houses from the tee boxes. Play the course to see where the balls land and golfers congregate.

Play a resort course several times – it has to be sufficiently challenging to hold your interest in the years to come. Find out if there are plans to change the course layout or expand facilities and check if owners get reciprocal privileges at neighbouring courses.

Get to know fellow residents before signing on the dotted line. If you don’t click with your neighbours, you may find your holiday social life distinctly under par. Make sure there are sufficient leisure attractions to keep non-golfing family members occupied.

Fee structures vary from resort to resort, so check the small print. Common extras include community and service charges, club membership fees, social fees and joining fees. Some resorts throw in golf membership for a fixed period, others, it’s a pay-as-you-go set-up.

Examine the stay-play ratio - how much does it cost for a round of golf at the course you are thinking about buying on? How much is the house you are looking at buying? There should be a logical ratio between the two.

For example, if it is a daily fee course and a round of golf is going for £25 in the winter and the house is selling for over £200,000, the property value is probably inflated. If the course is private, check on the initiation and monthly fees for the course versus the price of the home.

Rental income is a great way to offset the costs of a second home, but be realistic about how many months of the year you can feasibly do this for. If you’re planning to rent your home during peak season, you’ll have to consider alternate ‘shoulder periods’ for your own use.

Deed restrictions are notoriously strict in golf communities, so make sure you fully understand the rules – these will likely cover everything from your property’s hedge height to barbecue curfew times. The same applies to golf course protocol. Is it open year-round? Do guests have to pay to use? Rules are there to help maintain the value of your property, but you need to be able to live with them.

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