Is a More Family Friendly Model the Key for Golf Course Revitalization?

One thing you constantly see for sale, on commercial property listing websites is defunct golf courses. Many smaller courses have closed or have been on the verge of closing for years. Since Tiger took the golf world by storm, there has been little-renewed interest.

I’ve long thought to renovate old golf courses, could be a great value-add investment play, but the question is how do you attract new members and build something that is going to last.

An interesting angle on revitalizing a golf course is being tried at the Dupont Country Club. Investing in more family-friendly activities, an app, and upgraded food seems like some excellent steps in the right direction.

Golf course investors would be smart to look at the success of companies like LifeTime Fitness, that cater to an active clientele and families.

This recent article from WHYY highlights the changes being made, New owners investing millions to update DuPont Country Club.

Longtime members Ben DuPont and Don Wirth believe making the DuPont Country Club more family-friendly will be the key to increasing membership and profits. Country clubs nationwide have been struggling to stay afloat because significantly fewer people are golfing.

“The experts that I’ve talked to, and I agree with this consensus, say, families are looking for more things to do together over shorter periods of time. So that means 18 holes of golf for dad by himself or mom by herself is out,” DuPont said.

“But 9 holes, or a rock climbing wall, or a chance to get fitness, and swim in a pool, or hit golf balls in a driving range — those things are actually on the uptick nationally. And we think by just listening, doing a better job listening to the market that we can turn this around.”

The businessman said they’re investing $18 million to upgrade the club. For starters, they’re improving the internet speed at the club; creating a phone app that allows you to make reservations for your children, order takeout or reserve a meeting space all from your phone. They’re also elevating the quality of food service at the club.

This summer, DuPont said construction will begin on three all-season swimming pools, a 15,000 sq. ft. fitness facility and an indoor driving range.