Tags: Golf | Courses | Suffer | Recession | Membership | Dwindles

Golf Courses Suffer in Recession as Membership Dwindles

By    |   Tuesday, 03 Aug 2010 08:27 AM

Some recession-battered golf courses aren't just coping with lighter crowds as many reportedly are edging perilously close to bankruptcy.

Courses from Florida to Arizona, where golfing was once a daily exercise, face major cutbacks or foreclosure, USA Today reported.

For example, 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,” he told USA Today.

Eight golf courses in the Phoenix area have gone through foreclosure or bankruptcy since commercial properties started facing serious financial problems in 2008, USA Today reported, citing 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.

The number of golfers fell about 3 percent nationally in 2008 from 2007, while the number of "core golfers" — those who play eight or more rounds a year — fell 4.5 percent, according to the National Golf Foundation (NGF).

Private-club memberships stand at 2.1 million — 900,000 below the peak of 3 million in the early 1990s. There are 27.1 million golfers in the U.S. now, down from 30 million in 2005, the NGF says.

The recession has hit professional sports in other ways as well.

The Texas Rangers of Major League Baseball has filed for bankruptcy and will be auctioned off to bidders in early August.

The baseball team's current owner, Tom Hicks, has been forced to sell the club in order to pay off some huge debts incurred by his company, Hicks Sports Group, which defaulted on about $525 million in loans last year, the International Business Times reported.

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Some recession-battered golf courses aren't just coping with lighter crowds as many reportedly are edging perilously close to bankruptcy. Courses from Florida to Arizona, where golfing was once a daily exercise, face major cutbacks or foreclosure, USA Today reported. For...
Golf,Courses,Suffer,Recession,Membership,Dwindles
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2010-27-03
Tuesday, 03 Aug 2010 08:27 AM
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