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The Homeowners Association (HOA) and its Failing Golf Course Dilemma

Before an intelligent HOA meeting over a failing golf course can take place you must have a proper analysis. How can any decision be reached without knowing all the facts.

Please don't put it off. Call me: 941-739-3990, or write: mike@golfmak.com

Your HOA cannot have a meaningful meeting until you have a proper analysis of the golf course in front of everyone. Most HOA meetings over a failing community golf course are confrontations between the golfers and the non-golfers: The golfers don't want to lose their golf course; The non-golfers do not want to pay for something they don't use.

It is my experience that neither side addresses their true mutual interest: The value of their investment in their residence. Somehow we have to get out of the Hatfield VS McCoy mode and into dialogue that is absolutely practical for everyone.

Understand that whether you play golf or not - if you own a home there you are a stakeholder.

STAKEHOLDER - COUNTY TAX COLLECTOR: One stakeholder who should be concerned is the county tax man. Why? When a golf course closes property values can drop from 20% to 40%, which lowers the assessment, which lowers the property tax, which hurts the already burdened government treasury. Think of it: If 1,000 homes drop 30% in value, won't property taxes drop 30%? Our bridges are already crumbling and so is the money to repair them.

STAKEHOLDERS - EVERY HOME OWNER: If you live in a community that has a golf course as its centerpiece, whether you play golf or not, you have a stake in the physical and financial health of the golf course. When you bought your home you knew there was a golf course in the neighborhood and very likely told by the real estate agent that it was a community benefit. It's open space, beautifully groomed and available for you to use, or not use. It's a quality of life feature that increases property values. The key is that you knew there was a golf course when you purchased your residence. So, why would a non-golfer refuse to participate in a plan to save the neighborhood golf course if they don't play golf?

Some home owners are aging and don't really have a major stake in the future value of their residence (they won't be around much longer). Therefore, these folks cannot benefit by an increase in their living expenses simply to save the golf course. I believe that is a legitimate argument that needs to be addressed.

Of course there are golf course community home owners who don't play golf and have an almost disdained opinion of the game. They absolutely refuse the thought of participating in a plan that will cost them money (or energy) to save the golf course. They, too, may have a legitimate beef - especially if they can prove the golf course is in trouble due to mismanagement. It is my experience that community managed golf courses tend to be mismanaged. Golf courses need to be managed by golf business experenced people.

STAKEHOLDERS - THE GOLFERS: Golfers, of course have a stake in the golf course, because they use it for enjoyment, and social activity. One thing the non-golfers need to be reminded of is that golfers still pay to play the golf course - it's not free. As long as the golf course was financially buoyant everyone in the community was happy. However, in 2017 we are finding hundreds, even thousands of golf courses in financial trouble. (Let me state here that I believe it is unfair to lay blame on anyone for the sudden overabundance of golf course failures.)

SO WHAT SHOULD THE HOA DO?

Your HOA must order an analysis of its failing golf course situation before any meaningful dialogue can take place.

Analyzing: That's exactly what I do.

My fees are affordable. My work is done quickly. I don't preach golf. All I do is analyze the entire scenario as practically as possible. I know exactly what it takes to maintain the golf course. I know how to understand the marketplace. I also understand that the golf course may not be able to survive - at which time alternative uses of the land must be considered.

My point here is that you need to know the facts as they are today. Right now!

Don't put it off. Call me: 941-739-3990. Or write: mike@golfmak.com. It's a free consultation.

Golfmak, Inc., St. Petersburg, Florida. President, Michael A. Kahn