Do you also dream about owning a golf course?
I have since the first grade, when I began sketching them on computer paper.
I'm not currently in a position to buy a golf course, but I do find myself perusing the listings of available courses every so often, if only to indulge a daydream.
On my most recent check, I was stunned at some of the notable golf courses for sale, out of a current (publicly advertised) pool of 300 or so.
Check these out, and let me know if you want a co-investor. I can raid my piggy bank.
Bulle Rock Golf Club - Havre de Grace, Maryland
Selling Point(s): Top-100, Pete Dye design
Asking price: Undisclosed
Bulle Rock has been a fixture on the usual "Top 100 Public Courses in the U.S." lists ever since this Pete Dye design opened in 1998. The consensus choice for "best public course in Maryland," it has hosted some high-level tournament golf as well, most notably the LPGA Championship from 2005 through 2009. Located midway between Wilmington, Delaware and Baltimore, it's in a pretty good location, and the biggest piece of the puzzle - having a compelling golf course - has already been taken care of for any future owner. Also for sale: an 1,100-acre residential development around the course.
River Run Golf Club - Berlin, Maryland
Selling Point(s): Gary Player design
Asking price: $1.85 million
A Gary Player design located smack in the middle of the Rehoboth Beach/Ocean City area, River Run opened in 1991. It's part of a residential community, but the homes don't encroach too egregiously on the holes. The ninth and 18th greens come together in the same general area, and a large, meandering bunker protects both putting surfaces, with attractive views onto a prong of the Isle of Wight Bay.
Victoria Hills Golf Club - DeLand, Florida
Selling Point(s): Ron Garl design; on Golfweek's Best-in-State list
Asking price: $2.5 million
Victoria Hills is one of a handful of acclaimed Central Florida courses that are sometimes overlooked because they're not centrally located in Orlando. But those who do visit the Ron Garl-designed Victoria Hills are typically happy they've done so, as the course ranks #16 in Florida on Golfweek's most recent list of the best public and resort courses in each state.
Tradition Golf Clubs at Royal New Kent; Stonehouse; and Brickshire - between Richmond and Williamsburg, Virginia
Selling Point(s): Mike Strantz and Curtis Strange designs
Asking price: Undisclosed
A management company currently owns these three courses, which include two wild, thrilling designs by the late Mike Strantz, which helped put his name on the map during his brief but fascinating career. We would love to see an owner with an appreciation for Strantz's unique artistic style take on and preserve these two courses. Brickshire is a Curtis Strange signature course that is more straightforward but has its own charms.
King Carter Golf Club - Irvington, Virginia
Selling Point(s): New, part of master-planned community
Asking price: Undisclosed
This Joel Weiman-designed course, which opened in 2005, is located just off the northern shores of the Rappahannock River, part of the master-planned Hills Quarter community. The rustic, rugged bunkering gives the course a good deal of character, and the expansive practice facility is a big draw, as well.
More info: Here
Mattaponi Springs Golf Club - Ruther Glen, Virginia
Selling Point(s): Recognized as a top Virginia course
Asking price: Undisclosed
Mattaponi Springs has long been a favorite of golfers rolling south on I-95 from Washington, D.C. toward Richmond and points south. Golf Digest ranks it among the top 20 courses in The Old Dominion State, public or private. Its relatively isolated location is both a blessing and a hindrance to the course's popularity, though as out-of-the-way golf destinations become more prominent, there may be reason to believe Mattaponi Springs' best days are ahead.
Sapona Ridge Country Club - Lexington, North Carolina
Selling Point(s): Centrally located, not far from Charlotte or Winston-Salem
Asking price: $1.6 million
What St. Andrews is to golfers, Lexington, North Carolina is to barbecue enthusiasts - especially lovers of the vinegary Western North Carolina style of pulled or chopped pork. Sapona Ridge is the town's main private club, currently owned by NASCAR racing team owner and former driver Richard Childress, one of the Tar Heel State's richest men. The course was designed by Ellis Maples and dates to 1968.
Big Fish Golf Club - Hayward, Wisconsin
Selling Point(s): Pete Dye/Tim Liddy design
Asking price: $995,000
The second Pete Dye (along with Tim Liddy) design on this list, Big Fish sits in the forests of northwestern Wisconsin, about 90 minutes from Duluth, Minnesota. True to Dye's style, the course is driven by the juxtaposition of extensive mounding, large sandy waste areas and tiny pot bunkers. It's a get-away-from-it-all type of place and course.
Frog Hollow Golf Club - Middletown, Delaware
Selling Point(s): Convenient to Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware
Asking price: $1.395 million
Frog Hollow is owned by the Town of Middletown, but is being leased to the current seller. The course opened in 2000 and was designed by local architect Allen Liddicoat.
Ocala National Golf Club - Ocala, Florida
Selling Point(s): Rees Jones design
Asking price: $1.5 million
Ocala is prime horse-raising country, but it's also home to a clutch of excellent golf courses, with Ocala National being many people's favorite public track. The semi-private course, redesigned by Rees Jones, takes advantage of the area's naturally hilly terrain, and hosted the 2009 U.S. Women's Mid-Amateur.
Laughlin Ranch Golf Club - Bullhead City, Arizona
Selling Point(s): Fun desert golf and a well-regarded spa
Asking price: $3 million
About 90 minutes southeast of Las Vegas and about four hours northwest of Phoenix, Laughlin Ranch sits at the edge of the Mojave desert. This makes it an intriguing place to experience desert golf in a quieter setting, though Bullhead City itself has its own small cadre of casinos and attractions. The course was designed by David Druzisky and opened in 2004. Interestingly, though there aren't on-site accommodations at Laughlin Ranch, there is a full-service spa. If you buy the course, don't expect much traffic in July, when the average daily high is 114 degrees, with an all-time high of a broiling 126.
Horse Thief Country Club - Tehachapi, California
Selling Point(s): Offbeat, gorgeous location
Asking price: $2.85 million
Most people probably know Tehachapi from the Little Feat song "Willin'," but the town of 14,000 about two hours north of Los Angeles has a bit of interesting history, as the first settlement in the area, and home to a train depot listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The town sets the scene for movies from time to time, and beloved of cyclers and mountain bikers. Tehachapi is home to Woodward West, a prominent sports camp. The course, designed in the mid-1970s by Bob Baldock and son Robert, could probably use some updating, but the lovely views of the surrounding mountains don't need tweaking. Neither does the name.
Donald Ross Golf Club - Fort Wayne, Indiana
Selling Point(s): Great history and name-recognition
Asking price: $990,000
A handful of courses directly bear the names of their designers. Pete Dye Golf Club in West Virginia and Robert Trent Jones Golf Club in Virginia stand out as two high-end examples. Which makes it somewhat odd that Donald Ross Golf Club is relatively unknown, a value-oriented public course. The listing describes the course as having been profitable in 2016, which may make it a good investment for a Ross lover intent on restoring the course to its 1927 specifications and elevating its profile.
Which one of these (or any not listed) would you most want to buy? Any unique ideas for how you'd operate it?
Please share your thoughts or read what others are saying below.