DragonRidge Country Club in the Las Vegas valley, built for $53 million, can now be had for between $12 and $15 million. In Wisconsin, The Bog, one of the state’s most highly regarded public courses, is listed for $6.5 million.
One of southern Nevada’s most exclusive country clubs is for sale, reports KLAS-TV of Las Vegas.
Richard MacDonald is one of the few developers in southern Nevada who did not go bankrupt in the recession, the station reports, having successfully developed MacDonald Highlands in Henderson, Nev. and building DragonRidge Country Club as part of the gated community, sinking $53 million into the golf course.
Now, KLAS-TV reports, MacDonald has decided to sell the club for between $12 and $15 million, and not because he needs the money.
He told the station that he is currently in negotiations and expects to announce a deal by the end of summer.
In explaining his reasons for selling, MacDonald told KLAS-TV that his development business is humming again, with people buying lots and building restarting in the region’s highlands. But the golf course, like many courses these days, is struggling to make money, MacDonald told the station.
“Everybody knows the golf business is not what it used to be,” he said.
Before the recession, KLAS-TV reports, people lined up to pay $80,000 just to become a member at DragonRidge, and also pay $250 for a round of golf and spend freely at the club’s restaurant.
While the recession caused several Las Vegas golf courses to go out of business and forced many private clubs to go public, KLAS-TV reports, DragonRidge remained exclusive and MacDonald weathered the storm.
But it now sounds, the station notes, like MacDonald is tired of waiting for the country club lifestyle to get back to what it once was.
“Even though they say, ‘Well, the affluent people are doing fine,’ a lot of them are,” he told the station. “But there are lot of people on the lower tier of affluence who have been injured, have lost money and are trying to recoup that—and that makes it difficult to keep your dues coming in like they used to.”
So MacDonald will now take a loss to get out from running the golf course and tennis facility.
“Quite honestly, I think if we have someone with more experience in operating upscale clubs, they may do a better job than I’ve been doing,” he noted.
One thing that definitely won’t change is DragonRidge’s exclusive status, KLAS-TV reported, because MacDonald says he will only sell it with the stipulation that it remain a private club.
And he thinks that even in this still-recovering economy, a private club can flourish if it is operated well.
In Wisconsin, one of the state’s most highly regarded public-access golf courses in Wisconsin is for sale, reports the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal
The Bog in Saukville, Wis., which hosted the 112th State Amateur Championship in July, has been listed for $6.5 million by the Insight Golf Group on behalf of owner Terry Wakefield.
The Bog was designed by Arnold Palmer and Ed Seay and opened in 1995. It averaged 19,131 rounds per year from 2008-2012, the Journal-Sentinel reports.
Wakefield said he was selling the course primarily because of the increasing demands of running his consulting business, The Wakefield Co., which focuses on financial services, the Journal-Sentinel reports.
“That business is exploding right now,” he said. “I just don’t have the bandwidth to be up there [at The Bog] engaging with the members and the customers like an owner should.”
The Bog is ranked among the top 10 courses in the state by Golf Digest magazine and is known for its exceptional conditioning and fast greens, the Journal-Sentinel reports. It has five sets of tees and measures 7,221 yards from the tips.
Tournaments it has hosted include the 2006 State Open, the 2005 State Women’s Open, the 2003 Greater Milwaukee Open Pro-Am and the 1999 Great Lakes Amateur Championship.
“I’m proud of the product out there and the fact that the golf associations want to come back and have tournaments there,” Wakefield told the Journal-Sentinel. “The feedback they get from the people who participate is always very positive. That’s been an important part of our history and our success.”
Wakefield, of Mequon, Wis. said a condition of sale would be that the new owner honor rounds pre-sold for 2014.
“We sell a lot of rounds of golf over the winter and we also sell a lot of memberships in October and November,” he told the Journal-Sentinel. “We are going to make sure the owner honors those memberships.
“Frankly, that’s my biggest worry, is that people will be skittish buying rounds of golf,” he added. It’s going to be business as usual. All of the customers’ rights are protected.”
Wakefield also noted a secondary reason for selling The Bog.
“I am about at the end of realizing the tax benefits associated with depreciation,” he told the Journal-Sentinel. “The looming end is an incentive to sell the property. A buyer can come in, re-depreciate these assets and realize tax benefits in addition to a positive cash flow.”
Wakefield said he spent between $10.5 million and $11 million to acquire the land and build The Bog.
“There is an opportunity for someone to buy the property for a lot less than the original cost,” he said. “If you were to start from scratch today, the same course would cost between $15 million and $20 million to build.
“The good news is that the banks’ willingness to finance existing golf courses is growing,” Wakefield noted. “A lot of money is flowing back into the golf business in terms of financing existing properties.”
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