Poor Golf

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    From Forbes: “How a Declining Middle Class is Killing Golf”

    “The people sticking with the sport are playing fewer rounds than before, often opting for nine holes rather than 18. In total, U.S. golfers played 462 million rounds last year, according to Golf Datatech. That was the fewest number since 1995.

    Golf has been a crummy business for a long time, said Paul Swinand, an analyst at Morningstar Inc. in Chicago.”




    So many articles even in the golf community say the same thing. True it’s been a crummy business for a long time. Especially in these current economic times we shouldn’t be made to bail-out two golf courses and a country club. The POA should exist to maintain an acceptable community for all–not to make sure a few of the old boys club can play cheap rounds of golf and guzzle cheap drinks at a club with not one but two restaurants dependent on subsidies. If the golf operation can’t break even, then cut our HMS and hire local grass cutters.



    Yes, so very many articles.

    From the Wall Street Journal, “Fore Sale:”

    “Now, private golf communities are dealing with the fallout. Many sellers are dropping their prices radically, in some cases even paying people to take their land. Gated communities that once traded on their exclusivity are aiming to appeal to a wider swath of buyers, building family-friendly “village centers” with ice cream shops, hiking trails and bowling alleys. A few are even “repurposing” by reducing courses to nine holes from 18 and selling off the reclaimed land.”




    All that riding around in carts is so yesterday.

    From The New York Times: “Club Members Learn to Swing More Than 5-Iron”

    On a recent hot weekday morning, about 35 members were on the course raking bunkers, planting grass, trimming tee boxes, weeding, digging holes for new bushes and even brandishing chain saws in a work crew that felled three ailing 50-foot trees.

    I know the old golf community culture was a life of leisure, said Jon Pierce, a retired professor leaning on his shovel after planting tee box grass. But a lot of those golf courses are going bankrupt. Being leisurely has left people with a backyard of knee-high weeds instead of a beautiful golf course.

    The economic reality is that we had to protect our lifestyle and investment.




    From CNBC.com: “How Investors Are Betting on Golf’s Decline”

    “We have eliminated specific staff in our golf area within our Dick’s Sporting Goods stores. These changes are necessitated by the current and expected trends in golf. We will invest these cost savings into other aspects of our store operations and into the growth areas of our business,””CEO and Chairman Edward Stack, said in the earnings release on August 19.




    From Money magazine. Fore Make That Five Reasons Golf is in the Hole


    Fore! Golf Course Homes are on the Downswing

    ” in recent years, hundreds of communities – including some designed by golf greats Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman – have filed for bankruptcy, and thousands more are in financial distress.”




    From the Research and Business Economics Journal: “The Moral Hazard of Mandatory Membership in Private Clubs”

    “Because of mandatory memberships, homeowners now have little to no protection from the board of directors and staff of the country club that might be interested in empire building or promoting salary and benefits increases while forcing homeowners in the housing development to pay the tab. Finally, the authors offer an explanation of how this mandatory membership moral hazard may actually lead to decreases in property values and rent transfers among the participants.”




    Good research: “…. an explanation of how this MANDATORY MEMBERSHIP moral hazard may actually lead to DECREASES in property values….”

    Maybe some who just read DNOL comments “for entertainment” will pay attention and start to understand why so many POA members voted the Old Guard “incumbents” out in the recent election.

    Maybe even certain “new” Board members will pay some attention….but with the King still pulling their strings….?




    Yes, V., it sure looks like there are a lot of clueless board members here who just don’t do any looking or researching for themselves – simply relying on what HMS or the Purcell group tells them. It’s clear at their meetings that they are unable to put together any coherent explanations or justifications for their decisions.

    So with the help of Irish Pat and anyone else interested, we’ll just continue providing reality-based news and research on golf here for folks who actually want to understand what Diamondhead is facing. Maybe some news on tennis too.

    And eventually some news on what smart, well-informed, innovative managers are doing to cope with the decline of golf.

    Hint: it ain’t ice sculptures at the country club buffet.



    Been thinking that transferring the golf courses to the city is the answer? Better read this:

    From Public and Municipal Finance, Volume 2, Issue 1, 2013: “The Declining Economic Viability of Municipal Golf Courses”

    “This study presents evidence on the deterioration of the economic situation for municipalities owning and operating golf courses. The results demonstrate that the ongoing financial costs, in terms of operating losses, have been large for more than a decade. Using a unique data set consisting of all municipal golf courses in Florida during the period 1996 to 2010 that were accounted for as enterprise funds, the authors demonstrate that municipal golf courses have had a direct negative financial impact on the communities that own and operate them, and the negative financial results have consistently deteriorated during the sample period, reaching an average of negative $370,478 per enterprise fund in 2010.”




    So WHY do the weak-minded toadies keep listening to the OLD King?

    At the last POA meeting he puffed on and on, with his toadies hanging on his every word: “…..We need to complete the 5-year golf course plan…now people are coming to join our golf club…” ($250,000 per year of our dues to ForeFront Construction, no longer a subsidiary of HMS, plus the ridiculous fees to HMS to supervise it’s former subsidiary.)

    HOW MANY have actually joined?
    Isn’t DCCPOA golf membership down to fewer than 270? Last I heard it was only 268 back before the election. Has this number suddenly increased? If so, what is it NOW? Strange that the King and his toadies are so reluctant to report actual numbers.

    And WHY do we need HMS? Why have an “EXTRA LAYER OF MANAGEMENT,” (as the Old King stated in the minutes) BASED OUT-OF-STATE? Some former POA officers (who seem to know what they are talking about) have said that the POA’s own financial figures show that HMS has NOT helped the POA’s financial position in 3 years BUT was paid almost $500,000 over that same time. WHAT IS HMS? The “Management Company” hired by the Kyger Board in 2011 for $10,000 per month and paid that for 3 years (it’s only $5,000 per month NOW, as a certain Board member rushed to say recently) plus “incentives or bonuses” ($70,000 per year under Kyger, less now) to “run everything” including supervising HMS’s “no longer related” former “independent subsidiary” ForeFront Construction, which is being paid $250,000 per year (for 5 years) to “improve” the golf courses. The Old King, who brags about his total control of the current Board, now has his minions pushing to give HMS a NEW contract which will reportedly move POA accounts to Georgia, let HMS hire/fire POA staff, and increase the “total control” of POA finances by the Old King and his toadies who have managed to run up huge deficits (paid for by the rest of us) for the particular “amenities” they enjoy.

    HMS: http://hmsgolfmanagement.com/

    HMS: In their own words:
    “FOREFRONT CONSTRUCTION and HMS Golf boast an impressive portfolio…The HMS formula for success … includes extensive corporate office OVERSIGHT and control.” HMS Team: Jim Haslam, President & CEO; James Haslam, Dir. of Operations. HMS Golf Management: 1007 Towne Lake Hills East, Suite 330,Woodstock, GA 30189. 770-928-3841. Fore Front Construction Corp.: 7214 Meadow Gate Way, Woodstock, GA 30189. 770-516-2998.




    Some interesting items from the POA’s 2015 Proposed CAPITAL (CASH) Project Expenditures.

    $250,000 for Golf Course “renovation”; 3rd year of 5; (ForeFront Construction)
    $100,000 for Paving FT 9 Pine;
    $90,000 to Replace 20 Golf Carts;
    $10,000 for Cardinal #2 Bridge Construction.

    Plus: $250,000 for Country Club Renovation; $300,000 for “General” Recreation Improvement, etc. totaling $1,042,500.

    This does NOT include the huge annual OPERATING LOSSES that our dues are subsidizing. {This list just includes CAPITAL (CASH) expenditures.}

    If the POA-created City takes over the golf courses, how much would our TAXES have to increase to pay for such “amenities”? (Just think about how the original self-appointed “Incorporators” touted the “only 8 mills” message….)



    Transferring the golf courses to the city would at least end this insane situation of us bailing out rich cheap golfers. Of course the city wouldn’t keep the courses to the ridiculously high standard of the small number of Diamondhead golfers. The city would probably turn some into green space and a park with lakes that could be used by more than an elite few. The articles cited above shows the handwriting is on the wall. Golf is not coming back. Mandating the country club and golf subsidy wouldn’t fly if we turned them over to the city. Nobody wants something that drains your wallet so that a few can play cheaply.



    Turning some of it into park space would likely be a good idea, RogerSmith. Open space is desirable and is property-value enhancing without creating the expenses of maintaining a golf course.

    The several studies showing that golf courses improve property values all pre-date golf’s decline in popularity (will post some later) so they don’t mean much today. But they also show that it was only housing adjacent to courses that benefitted – the benefit fell off very rapidly as the distance from the course increased. That’s another reason not to fall for the meritless argument that everyone’s property values will plummet unless money is poured into the golf amenities.

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