NY Times On "Buyers Market" For Golf Course Purchases

Sarah Max filed an interesting look at the state of golf course ownership, sales and investment, and though the story oddly left out the high-profile Donald Trump's various moves in the sector, it still includes some good information.

Thanks to readers Brian and JB for this.

Before the financial crisis, buyers were paying the equivalent of 11 to 14 times net income, he said. Now, the going rate for a well-run course is in line with other businesses, typically six to eight times net income, he said — assuming there is income.

The change is warranted, Mr. Woolson said, because most courses left on the market have deed restrictions that preclude developing them for other purposes. “Where people got into trouble was thinking golf is a real estate investment,” he said. “Golf courses are a real estate asset only insomuch as they use real estate in association with their business.”

In fact, golf courses typically cost more to build than they are worth. “They’re like new cars,” Mr. Hirsh added. “They’re worth less the minute you drive off the lot.”

Of course, the new car depreciation only happens because the architecture, uh, is lacking permanence.