April 30, 2015 - On April 16th, Blackbird Asset Services completed an auction in Buffalo, New York for the maintenance and other turf equipment of Westwood Country Club. Westwood was founded in 1921 and closed to make way for a new planned community development.
According to industry figures the game of golf has lost 5 million players in the past decade. Where business deals were commonly made on golf courses, The New York Times is reporting that they are now made on high-end bicycles. So why is this?
Some seem to contribute the downturn to the slow pace of the game itself. A round of golf can take up more than four hours of a day, driving impatient and busy individuals from the game. Also, in today’s economy things like groceries and bills take precedence over a relatively expensive game. In 2014, the average cost to play a round of golf on a public course was $36 per person, and a privately owned facility that is open to the public cost on average about $45. According to a survey, private country clubs require an average spend of $520 per month in addition to other initiation fees and yearly dues that vary widely.
Last month, The Washington Post published an article called “Why Americans Fell Out of Love with Golf” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/03/05/why-america-fell-out-of-love-with-golf/). In this article they state “It's been years since the increasingly unpopular sport of golf plunked into the rough, and the industry now is realizing that it may not be able to ever get out. All the qualities that once made it so elite and exclusive are, analysts say, now playing against it.”
The number of Americans who claimed to have played golf at least once in 2014 has fallen to its lowest point in years, and the number of young people aged 18-30 playing the game as dropped nearly 35 percent. Because of these statistics more golf courses have closed than opened in the past few years and will most likely continue to do so. Although troubling for golf courses there are some industries that will most likely benefit.
The sale at Westwood Country Club was a huge success for the seller. There were over 250 bidders from 3 different countries and 23 U.S. States. In addition to strong equipment prices, we learned there was a large demand for used golf carts from companies to individuals for non-golf use.