Homeowners living in so-called golfing communities are seeing the premium they paid disappearing as an increasing number of golf courses in the U.S. are closing down. According to the National Golf Foundation, almost 200 golf courses located in suburbs across the Sun Belt have shut down.
The reason is that less and less people are interested in playing golf. According to the National Golf Foundation, there’s been a 20% decline in the number of golf players in the U.S. since 2003. But some people put the blame for reduced interest and the closures of many golf courses on how they were built. According to them, many golf courses were built in neighborhoods that turned them into public parks, the Wall Street Journal reported.
One of the problems associated with closed golf courses is that once they’ve been shuttered, the areas are often left abandoned and stuck in legal limbo while authorities determine what to do with the spaces. The Ahwatukee Lakes Golf Course in Phoenix for example, has become overgrown after being fenced off and abandoned for the last five years due to a legal dispute.
Golf course closures have a big impact on nearby homeowners, whose properties on average see their values fall by around 25%. But in some cases, nearby homes see a decrease in value of more than 40% when a legal dispute is involved, Blake Plumly, a golf development consultant based in Orlando, told the Journal.
A case in point is the Crickentree golf course in Columbia, South Carolina, which closed last July. Developers had plans to use the land to build 450 new homes, but current residents living nearby have protested against the idea, leaving the process in legal limbo.
“We were buying peace and quiet and serenity,” one resident said to the county’s planning board, explaining why she originally bought her home near the golf course in 2013.
Officials in the county say they need to weigh the opinions of residents against the public benefit before deciding whether or not to allow the development to go ahead. Ecapital Management had purchased the old Crickntree course after it went bankrupt last year, with the plan being to sell the land to a developer to build new homes.