Many golf courses are in a much better financial position than the end of 2019 while short-term interest rates are near zero making the cost of capital negligible.
The golf industry experienced record growth in 2020, and early results signal another banner year – you can check out the NGF’s latest rounds report here. Many golf courses are in a much better financial position than the end of 2019 while short-term interest rates are near zero making the cost of capital negligible. Quite simply, business is booming, money is cheap, and your borrowing power has never been greater.
With that in mind, future capital investment is heavily dependent on individual goals. Golf course improvements are either an investment for returns or increase the business longevity. For example, adding/creating new amenities will provide an additional revenue stream but may not increase the lifespan of your golf course. Conversely, investing in infrastructure (safety, repair/replace) will improve the longevity of your business but may not increase revenues or profitability. Currently, golf course owners with a longer horizon have an opportunity to invest capital at reasonable costs in both categories.
Below are a few examples of potential investments we have seen successfully executed:
Maximizing space takes many forms dependent on the market position of the facility. It could be argued that every facility could benefit from adding low-cost three season space to increase capacity, event rounds, and utilization during non-peak times. In our experience, a facility generates a positive return on this type of investment in three years. Furthermore, upgrades to dining and banquet space can be utilized to engage the local community by introducing more social (non-golf) programs.
The advancement of simulator technology has significantly improved the fun factor. Major brands are competing to provide the best graphics and most realistic golf experience. Facilities in northern climates are utilizing simulators to engage members and guests year-round. Indigo helped develop and launch a simulator café “ZStrict” at Chelsea Piers in Connecticut.
Fortune favors the bold, and many courses are reimagining traditional golf offerings to turn something “serviceable” into something “desirable.” Recently announced, the City of El Segundo is partnering with TopGolf to reimagine their executive golf course and driving range.
Indigo has developed and constructed more than thirty golf courses and routinely plans, oversees and executes capital improvements at our 150+ managed properties. If you have questions about developing a capital improvement plan for your facility, or simply wish to exchange best practices, feel free to contact us.