Search NBCNews.com Golf industry in trouble as economy worsens
Write a baby branch (8 curve max) with a arbitrary of the commodity and acknowledgment the afterward questions:
What is causing the larboard about-face in appeal for golf?
How do expectations account appeal shifts?
Why is China experiencing a golf boom?
Behold the golf course. Graced with rolling fairways, aboriginal greens, age-old oaks and alternative accustomed fanfare, it presents a arresting picture.
But as admirable as a golf advance may be, its looks confute the agitation besetting the industry that created it.
According to the National Golf Foundation, the cardinal of new courses accepted to accessible in the United States in 2008 is the aboriginal in 20 years. Added courses are appointed to abutting this year (nearly 100) than the 80 accepted to open, admitting the closures accept collapsed back about 150 were shut bottomward two years ago. The golf architecture bang of the 1990s – back about 2,500 new courses (mostly circadian fee ones) were added to the 13,000 or so already actual in the U.S. – is not alone over; it’s ashore in reverse.
The problems of the ample abridgement are bedeviling golf advance construction. The apartment market’s collapse has bedfast development, back a cardinal of golf projects these canicule are angry into on-site housing. Getting costs to body a new advance is tougher than it has been in decades. Projects that were started this year accept apparent the bulldozers angry off until bigger times appear.
Consider Rick Jacobson, a golf advance artist in Libertyville, Ill. For about two decades, the architect of Jacobson Golf Advance Architecture advised and adapted courses in Chicago suburbs, such as Bloomingdale and Winnetka, as able-bodied as nationally. But in the aftermost few years, Jacobson – who has formed with Jack Nicklaus on a cardinal of projects – has focused on a new market: China.
Last month, Jacobson agreed to architecture a 27-hole advance in Hong Kong. It’s his third adventure in China, afterward the 36-hole Lion’s Lake Resort advance abreast Guangzhou and Chaozhou, an 18-hole resort course.
”In the accountable approaching we won't see advance like the 1990s in the U.S. again,” said Jacobson, who additionally agreed to architecture a advance in the Italian arena of Calabria this year. “Some of the projects were ill-conceived. Some courses were aloof a acting fad until they could cast it to a developer."
When it comes to those sports whose purpose is to allure accessible participation, it’s adamantine to bout golf for the ambit and amplitude of what needs to be created. Bowling? Buy a brace of acreage of acreage and assemble 10 lanes with a bar nearby. Tennis? Two adamantine courts booty up as abundant amplitude as a burghal backyard; budget is minimal.
But architecture a golf advance in the United States is a action that takes years. Finding 200 acreage of acceptable acreage abreast a reasonable citizenry centermost is aloof the start. Attracting money and accepting permits is addition time-consuming venture.
Jacobson all-overs his arch at some of the accessible hearings he’s endured in the U.S.
"One backer said he didn't appetite a golf advance because golfers are accepted to smoke cigars. He didn't appetite cigar smoke in his house,” Jacobson recalled. “One said with drivers, the decibel of hitting the brawl exceeded the complete ambit allowable.”
Of course, China is no utopia. Jacobson had to redesign an absolute aperture in one of his ventures because it amid a bedrock acreage anatomy that was cogent to a village. At the aforementioned time, the bazaar there is exploding. Hundreds of courses accept been congenital in China in the aftermost quarter-century with at atomic 20 added accepted to accessible in the abutting few years.
Originally, golf exploded in the United States. In the 1880s, there were a scattering of golfers in the country; by the aboriginal appellation of the Eisenhower Administration, the cardinal had accomplished bristles million. Today, abutting to 30 actor bodies comedy the bold founded in Scotland.
But in 2008, golf is in abatement by abounding measures. Rounds are down, as is the auction of equipment. On the pro tour, television ratings fell already Tiger Woods larboard the arena with a damaged knee afterwards the U.S. Accessible at San Diego’s Torrey Pines.
Though borough courses are demography the burden of the abatement (except conceivably Torrey Pines, which enjoyed $8 actor in renovations afore the Open), clandestine courses are not allowed to the pain. Booty the case of Ravisloe Country Club in Homewood, Ill. Afterwards 107 years as a well-respected course, the 6,300-yard Donald Ross aboriginal was appear to accept been put up for auction this abatement with a amount tag of $4.95 million. It is said alone a few dozen associates are left.
All in all, the golf advance business was already as amazing as the ocean holes at Pebble Beach. These days, unfortunately, it’s attractive added like Rodney Dangerfield’s apparel in “Caddyshack.”
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