Is New Course Construction Picking Up?
( Click to listen to audio version)
One of the questions we’ve heard amid the current surge in the golf business is whether development has picked up. This question pertains specifically to brand-new courses, as we’ve previously highlighted the significant investments being made in existing golf facilities (plenty of full, new-to-you rebuilds included).
When golf architect Tom Doak mentioned in a recent conversation that it was about a year ago that he noticed an increase in the number of calls he was fielding to design and build new golf courses, it was time to check our database. While Doak’s portfolio is global, we were curious to see if there’s been a rise in new golf course construction within the U.S. since the onset of the pandemic.
Nationwide, NGF is currently tracking 54 new courses that are under construction, and another 38 that are in planning (see definition below.) The former represents an increase of more than 55% compared to the recent three-year pre-pandemic average. NGF members interested in learning more can purchase our Construction Report, which tracks projects from the planning stage to opening day.
The notable uptick in new course planning and construction provides evidence of the opportunity for select development in certain markets (and with certain products). No, we’re not seeing the beginning of another construction boom. We are still in a correction. But this does indicate the that the golf business is in the process of turning a corner with course closures declining and new course construction rising.
So, what is being built today? Mostly specialty facilities, like high-end golf destinations, exclusive private clubs and innovative short courses. You can read more about these developments in our accompanying Spotlight story.
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