How much are some courses losing?

Golf course financials tell a common, yet interesting tale about the golf industry. While most private courses seldom share profit and loss figures, a recent story about a course in Durham, North Carolina, and another about courses in the San Francisco Bay Area, paint a depressing picture for lower-end golf courses.
Hillandale Golf Course, which has been owned by a trust that is managed by SunTrust bank for the past 50 years, is hopeful to sell the course to the city of Durham because it is losing money.
The foundation’s tax filings show it’s lost $12,510, $175,481 and $92,559 in the last three years. It reported revenue of $628,096 for its last tax year, which ended March 31, 2010.
Spears Consultants, which was hired by the city, reported that the courses’ rounds have dropped from 45,000 to 36,000 over the past ten years. The report warned that public courses have seen a drop in rounds due to the economy and that a glut of courses has “been bad for facility operators.” But it said that “well-managed courses in populated areas” have the best chance to succeed.
Spears has advised the city seek a better management contract and to invest $2.3 million in capital upgrades into the course, improving the course’s irrigation system, bunkers and greens, The Herald Sun reported.
In Mill Valley, Calif., the town’s golf course is expected to lose more than $92,000 this year, after losing $134,000 the prior year, and $85,000 in 2009, the Wall Street Journal reported.
In San Jose, the San Jose Municipal course made a $431,000 profit. But the nine-hole Rancho del Pueblo course, which opened in 2000, lost $280,000. The 18-hole Los Lagos course, which opened in 2002, lost $15,480 last year. The newer courses have never paid for their debt.  

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