The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020 - 4

COURSE DESIGN
& MAINTENANCE

those in the last several years. I came into the golf business from
the turf equipment side with a little building construction and
renovation experience thrown in for good measure. I know when
I see good course conditions and can spot problems and deferred
Cap Ex almost as second nature. I also concur with Dr. Hurdzan's
analysis of maintenance costs.
I could write a book about my experiences with The Bog, The
Bull, Erin Hills and Fire Ridge. It would include murder, indictments, family dysfunction, financial mis-management, demographic mistakes, design flaws and a host of other issues. There
also would be some humor - some of the mistakes (including a
couple of mine) were pretty funny and some of the characters
were, too. I attended the sad funeral of the original owner of The
Bog this winter with a friend who was the controller for both
Fire Ridge and The Bog. The current owners of Erin Hills and
The Bog have lockers less than safe distance from mine. And
despite the problems alluded to above; the new owners of both
those properties should be proud of what they have done.
What happens to The Bull and Fire Ridge will be interesting
to watch. Fire Ridge has the best location and demographics of
the four. But the revenue range contained in the sale announcement indicate is at least 15% lower than the revenues prior to
2000; and that doesn't include any adjustment for inflation. The
sale price, which generally is a multiple of EBITDA, indicates
that current cash flow is less than half of the average generated

for the first 6 years of operation. I actually played there in 2019
and was shocked at the conditions. It's still a fun design to play,
but I can understand golfers going to play elsewhere with better
conditions.
The Bull is also a puzzle. Perhaps this is a better example of
"Dangerous Beauty" due to some forced carries and greens that
have proven tough to maintain. The revenue numbers in some of
the news articles (apparently well-sourced) are high enough that
the course should have been able to operate profitably even with
relatively high debt service. I suspect it is simply a design that
required a lot more maintenance than would be customary.
In the end, what is going on in my neighborhood is being
played out all over the country. We see examples of deteriorating
conditions and deferred capital expenditures at many of the properties we visit. It is also likely that the pandemic impact will accelerate many of these decisions regarding continued operations,
closure and/or sale. We also see some well-maintained properties
that appear to be prospering.
We also see many renovation plans for courses that believe
they have a future. I would suggest they find a copy of Mr. Ingwerson and Dr. Hurdzan's "Dangerous Beauty" and pay attention when they evaluate their future plans. The courses that can
deliver the best possible playing conditions with reasonable cost
will likely have a much better chance of success. Sometimes, the
design makes that a lot more difficult.
n

Potomac Shores Golf Club
Potomac Shores, Virginia

DISC OV ER

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create memorable member and guest experiences at renowned clubs around
the world. By utilizing the professional expertise of our team and collaborating
with our clients, we reinvigorate golf courses and club communities, making
them relevant, healthy, and sustainable. To learn more, contact the Troon®

Visit TROONMGT.COM to check
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more about who we are,
how we help, and why our
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business development team at 480.477.0505, or visit TROONMGT.COM.

4 THE PELLUCID PERSPECTIVE

JULY 2020


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The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020

TOC
Dangerous Beauty: Is Harder Better?
Another perspective on “charity begins at home”
How is/will COVID impact supply/demand (im)balance?
Neutral national June results, regional “mileage” varies
May Utilization posts nice gain but rounds “rebound” underwhelms
Chicago has a strong golfer base, just needs more motivation/activation
26 Activities; Transacts handily beat Closeds 15-7!
The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020 - TOC
The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020 - Dangerous Beauty: Is Harder Better?
The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020 - 3
The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020 - 4
The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020 - Another perspective on “charity begins at home”
The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020 - 6
The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020 - How is/will COVID impact supply/demand (im)balance?
The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020 - 8
The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020 - 9
The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020 - Neutral national June results, regional “mileage” varies
The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020 - 11
The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020 - May Utilization posts nice gain but rounds “rebound” underwhelms
The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020 - 13
The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020 - Chicago has a strong golfer base, just needs more motivation/activation
The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020 - 15
The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020 - 26 Activities; Transacts handily beat Closeds 15-7!
The Pellucid Perspective - July 2020 - 17
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