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A Healthy Jump In Green Fees

If you’re looking for a positive sign in the golf industry—and who isn’t?—here’s one: The price of buying a golf course is going up. That might not mean a whole lot given that in the U.S. last year 10 times as many courses closed as opened. But among those that changed ownership, value is increasing. According to the National Golf and Resort Properties Group, part of investment firm Marcus and Millichap, the average price for a course rose 57 percent in 2013, from $2.7 million for 18 holes to $4.25 million. (The market high, $7.33 million, was reached in 2006.) On msn.com, Steve Evokich of Marcus and Millichap was quoted as saying, “After bottoming out in 2012, the golf-course sales market looks to be recovering and stabilizing. Bank financing is slowly returning, the average sales price is rebounding, there are fewer foreclosures and bank repossessions, and more courses are back to producing positive cash flow.” That last fact might be the most positive, indicating that golfers are coming back and paying to play. Couple that with reports that private clubs are seeing growth in membership numbers and the industry has cause for cautious optimism. For the time being, let’s stress “cautious."

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