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Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: High Pointe won't open--what does that mean?
« Reply #25 on: February 21, 2010, 11:32:07 PM »
Ed:

It's under about a foot of snow at the moment.

They maintained it vaguely last summer, but toward the end of the year they let it go, and I imagine they didn't spray for snow mold at the end of the season ... so there will probably be little left of the course this spring.

I did have a few people last year express interest in helping me purchase the course if it could be had for a decent price, but they wanted to see the last 5 years' financial reports and taxes for the course ... and the owners would not share them!  So, the discussion was cut short.

I would love to resurrect the place and do something good for golf in my home community, but this is not a good time to try that in Michigan, and I really don't need the distraction of a second job.  If it had lasted five or ten years longer, I'd have bought it and retired to manage it, but now, I guess not.

Jim Nugent

Re: High Pointe won't open--what does that mean?
« Reply #26 on: February 22, 2010, 01:24:50 AM »
If it had lasted five or ten years longer, I'd have bought it and retired to manage it, but now, I guess not.

In that case, do you think you would have made regular (or some) changes to the architecture, ala Ross at Pinehurst or CBM at NGLA? 

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: High Pointe won't open--what does that mean?
« Reply #27 on: February 22, 2010, 07:43:33 AM »
Jim:

I really don't know if I would change anything or not.  I've had a couple of ideas on that score, but they would be tempered by the fact that it was my first course and it would be interesting to keep it as it was for that reason.

The one hole which doesn't work well is the 18th, and to this day I don't know how to fix it ... anything I can think of to help is verboten because of the wetlands around it.

JC Jones

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: High Pointe won't open--what does that mean?
« Reply #28 on: February 22, 2010, 09:13:48 AM »
Although it would create a long green to tee walk, I always thought that hole would be cool as a 250-290 par 4 with the tees pushed up to just short of the water.
I get it, you are mad at the world because you are an adult caddie and few people take you seriously.

Excellent spellers usually lack any vision or common sense.

I know plenty of courses that are in the red, and they are killing it.

Tim Nugent

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: High Pointe won't open--what does that mean?
« Reply #29 on: February 22, 2010, 09:24:57 AM »
JC, hypothetically of course.  A long snowy winter sure brings out the armchairs ;D
Coasting is a downhill process

Richard Hetzel

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: High Pointe won't open--what does that mean?
« Reply #30 on: February 22, 2010, 10:25:51 AM »
I guess I won't be playing High Pointe this summer when I am in Traverse City for a week in late June. High Pointe is worth a replay round....Me thinks I won't get to play Lochenheath either.

Where will I play that week? Belvedere maybe? Long drive. Aga-Ming Sundance? Elk Rapids??? Spruce Run???? (only GTR course I have not played) I have played all the others around there.

I will be there again in late July and will play Kingsley....
Last 8:
Smock GC (IN), Westbrook CC (OH), NCR CC - South (OH), Fort Jackson - Wildcat (SC), True Blue GC (SC), Pinewood CC (NC), Asheboro Municipal (NC), Pete Dye River Course (VA)
Next Up: Wolf Creek, Conestoga, Sand Hollow, Red Dixie Hills, Black Desert

Michael Rossi

Re: High Pointe won't open--what does that mean?
« Reply #31 on: February 22, 2010, 10:57:14 AM »
I don't see any reason why High Pointe can't open.  I know it is not the best in the long run(business wise), but in the short run, if they were willing to drop there rates to say $25 for 18 and a cart, they would be packed this summer.  Not only would they get the resort goers, but the locals would be willing to pay that price as well. Just keep the grass mowed and rake the bunkers to keep expenses low. They could cut expenses more by just being open on Fri, Sat, Sun also. Grass can go a couple of days without being mowed, so there would be no labor expenses for those days during the week when they are closed.  Lochenheath could do the same thing also, although I do not know the whole story management wise with that company.

I know it may not be what the management would want to do, but it would at least be a way to make money.  There are a lot of locals up here that would be willing to pay for golf at a reasonable rate, but there are not a lot of options.

Steven

Its not that easy. At $25/round and say 20000 rounds you only have $500K, not enough - and if you want to open only 3 days per week getting 20K through would not be possible.


Jerry Kluger

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: High Pointe won't open--what does that mean?
« Reply #32 on: February 22, 2010, 11:08:39 AM »
Tom:  I would talk to the people who took over Inniscrone, the Gil Hanse design outside of Philadelphia.  It went into bankruptcy and sold and when a few of us GCA guys played it last year it was $50 including cart and the place was packed on a Saturday including a group of about 20 people taking a lesson. 

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: High Pointe won't open--what does that mean?
« Reply #33 on: February 22, 2010, 11:28:25 AM »

Steven

Its not that easy. At $25/round and say 20000 rounds you only have $500K, not enough - and if you want to open only 3 days per week getting 20K through would not be possible.



Michael:

I think the course could break even or do slightly better than that if they charged $25 a round and $35 on weekends, under the present ownership ... it wouldn't be PROFITABLE, but there is no debt, and they have nothing better to do with the property right now.

Unfortunately, they aren't interested in that.  And if you had to buy it from them for $2 million, it would be hard to make any sort of return on the capital in the short or medium term.

Jud_T

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: High Pointe won't open--what does that mean?
« Reply #34 on: February 22, 2010, 11:42:19 AM »
Bummer,

I was hoping to play it this summer... :'(
Golf is a game. We play it. Somewhere along the way we took the fun out of it and charged a premium to be punished.- - Ron Sirak

Michael Rossi

Re: High Pointe won't open--what does that mean?
« Reply #35 on: February 22, 2010, 03:51:44 PM »

Steven

Its not that easy. At $25/round and say 20000 rounds you only have $500K, not enough - and if you want to open only 3 days per week getting 20K through would not be possible.



Michael:

I think the course could break even or do slightly better than that if they charged $25 a round and $35 on weekends, under the present ownership ... it wouldn't be PROFITABLE, but there is no debt, and they have nothing better to do with the property right now.

Unfortunately, they aren't interested in that.  And if you had to buy it from them for $2 million, it would be hard to make any sort of return on the capital in the short or medium term.

Tom


In Michigan with the surrounding population and ease to get to, it is possible and the recognition of HP would help, $25-35 is a great price point that the game and economy could use more of, my though on this is that if the course was leased to a group for a $1, that included ,maint barn and space for a proshop, you still would need carts, equipment and supplies. For 500K you could break even and protect the asset (course). For a fleet of carts, equipment, labour and supplies you would need a bankroll of 500K. However I think that a group with 500K would be better off to put his money in the bank and get a return than risk it.

For example a course I know of just went through this process, creditor protection followed by bankruptcy. The trustees realized that the asset (course) would lose its value if left unmaintained and harder to find it a buyer. They put up 450K for maintenance of the asset and found a guy to run the facility, he put up an additional 250K of bankroll to secure equipment, proshop supplies and carts. The course opened this past season, was maintained and from my last conversation with the operator, probably will get all of his cash back and a little for his trouble. The plan almost worked, a buyer was found but then their financing fell through, the trustees are about out of cash and it is uncertain what the 2010 season will bring to the facility.

Operate from April to September: Use a blended rate of $25/round, 27 weekends. 81 days, 9 hours of available tee times (possible 270/day). That is 21870 potential tee times. Hope if never rains and every available tee time is filled with a foursome at 8 minute intervals. It is just not as easy as it sounds especially if only operating 3 days per week; I hope both facilities survive these challenging economic times.

Bill_McBride

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: High Pointe won't open--what does that mean?
« Reply #36 on: February 22, 2010, 10:10:16 PM »

Steven

Its not that easy. At $25/round and say 20000 rounds you only have $500K, not enough - and if you want to open only 3 days per week getting 20K through would not be possible.



Michael:

I think the course could break even or do slightly better than that if they charged $25 a round and $35 on weekends, under the present ownership ... it wouldn't be PROFITABLE, but there is no debt, and they have nothing better to do with the property right now.

Unfortunately, they aren't interested in that.  And if you had to buy it from them for $2 million, it would be hard to make any sort of return on the capital in the short or medium term.

And good luck getting a $1.4M loan these days (70% LTV seems typical these days) even putting up $600K down.

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: High Pointe won't open--what does that mean?
« Reply #37 on: February 22, 2010, 10:19:52 PM »
Bill:

The ONLY way I would ever buy the golf course is to raise $2 million from my former clients and friends.  A leveraged course in this location is going to fail.

Michael:

Unfortunately, my original client passed away three years ago.  He might have leased it to me for $1.  His son has no interest in that, sadly.  And, FYI, there is no golf season up here in April.  You'd have to discount the rates to nothing to get anyone to play then.  The season is really mid-May to early October ... and that's why there are so many struggling golf courses.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: High Pointe won't open--what does that mean?
« Reply #38 on: February 23, 2010, 01:51:34 AM »
Bill:

The ONLY way I would ever buy the golf course is to raise $2 million from my former clients and friends.  A leveraged course in this location is going to fail.

Michael:

Unfortunately, my original client passed away three years ago.  He might have leased it to me for $1.  His son has no interest in that, sadly.  And, FYI, there is no golf season up here in April.  You'd have to discount the rates to nothing to get anyone to play then.  The season is really mid-May to early October ... and that's why there are so many struggling golf courses.


Tom

The golf season in Michigan has always been the same.  This isn't the reason courses are failing unless people didn't realize the season only lasts 6 months.  The reason courses are failing is because of the economy and over-build.  I would also say that prices were generally too high to consistently grab and hold the Michigan market.  Relying on out of staters (which high price points effectively does) to make a profit was never gonna work for long in Michigan.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Tim Nugent

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: High Pointe won't open--what does that mean?
« Reply #39 on: February 23, 2010, 09:26:20 AM »
Hpw much does the loss of high-paying, great retirement manufacturing jobs (ie. auto industry) play into this.  It seems that Northern Michigan was/is the vacation land/second home area for the unionised middle class .  Michigan seems to have been hit harder than just about anywhere else in this down-turn and doesn't seem to have an answer to a recovery since many of those jobs are gone for good.

What is befuddling is how a course with a Pedagre could fall.  It would be helpful if some with more intiment knowledge could shed some light on this case study.  It's hard to determine what killed the patient without performing an autopsy.  But once that is known, steps can be taken to prevent further deaths.
Coasting is a downhill process

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: High Pointe won't open--what does that mean?
« Reply #40 on: February 23, 2010, 10:02:08 AM »
Tim:

I've already done the autopsy.  No doubt the economy of northern Michigan has been a big factor.  When I moved here, locals told me "as the car industry goes, so goes northern Michigan".  Except our tourist industry did not get a commensurate bailout.

Location:  not great, a bit far out of town for the locals, and on the wrong side of town from the higher-end homes.  The original business plan expected to pick up a lot of overflow business from Grand Traverse Resort, but that never happened ... they failed to establish good relations, and after the resort went bankrupt, new ownership decided to build themselves ANOTHER golf course [before the SECOND owner failed, and sold to the Indians at 50 cents on the dollar].

Management:  failed on every level.  Fired the local golf pro who was popular in town.  Had one of the best teaching pros in the country four years ago -- Anthony Kim was taking lessons from him and practicing on the course in his spare time -- and fired him because he wouldn't fire a bag boy the owner didn't like.  Had 8 or 9 superintendents over 20 years, and 6 or 7 pros, plus a couple of years where they didn't have either.  Failed to establish connections with local golf pros or downstate pros to refer people there.  It was hard to watch.

I'm sure there were some people that didn't like the design, too.  But there were lots of people who did.  You would understand it all much better after a 10-minute conversation with the son of the original client.

Mike Cirba

Re: High Pointe won't open--what does that mean?
« Reply #41 on: February 23, 2010, 10:08:31 AM »
All I know is it's a damn shame.

I'm also glad I was able to play there two summers ago before this as there are any number of very memorable holes that I'll take with me.

Don_Mahaffey

Re: High Pointe won't open--what does that mean?
« Reply #42 on: February 23, 2010, 10:12:14 AM »
Tim,
My wife is from TC so thru the years we’ve visited the area a lot and I've played HP about 10 times.
How could it fail? Obviously the macro economic factors are part of it, but I think it was failing even when the economy was good. IMO, whoever was managing the place wasn't very good at it.
Maybe I hit it at all the wrong times, but they took green and lush to a whole new level. I don't think they had the slightest bit interest in maintaining the course in a manner that fit the design...green was good and it sure looked like they never spared the quick release N.
The customer service wasn't that impressive either and there was a number of times my father-in-law and I wondered aloud why we were giving them our $$$. I don't know all the facts, but I think they were just getting by and when the economy in that region went bad what little sustaining business they had went away.

The course could work, but it would have to be managed in an old school way, sort of like a family restaurant where everyone pitches in. The current owners could probably find someone to do that for them, but who wants to put in all the sweat to keep it alive during these tough times only to have it taken back when things turn around? If ownership was willing to let someone earn equity, then they could probably make it work. But they better move quick as the longer it's closed the less its worth and the more resources needed to open.

Michael Rossi

Re: High Pointe won't open--what does that mean?
« Reply #43 on: February 23, 2010, 10:19:08 AM »
Bill:

The ONLY way I would ever buy the golf course is to raise $2 million from my former clients and friends.  A leveraged course in this location is going to fail.

Michael:

Unfortunately, my original client passed away three years ago.  He might have leased it to me for $1.  His son has no interest in that, sadly.  And, FYI, there is no golf season up here in April.  You'd have to discount the rates to nothing to get anyone to play then.  The season is really mid-May to early October ... and that's why there are so many struggling golf courses.


Tom D

Still a 6 month season, April - Sept or May - Oct.

The posts are making this situation sound pretty dismal, and like the Pound Ridge topic the ownership is entitled to do as they see fit with their business. I feel for you with on this one it has got to be tough to watch your course go through this, but keep in the back of your mind that the place will be there long after all of us are pushing up daises. Hopefully someone will come along in the not to distant future and make it work.


Tim Nugent

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: High Pointe won't open--what does that mean?
« Reply #44 on: February 23, 2010, 10:51:14 AM »
Tom, Don seems to back up your observations.  Not the first time the "you're lucky we let you play here" attitude ran a place into the ground.  I understand that property taxes can be quite daunting for the 1st owners in Michigan.  How does Jr. justify paying them on a closed course?  Seems like an installment sale would be better than the slow bleed of the taxes. (unless Jr. has more dollars than sense). If they didn't sell the equipment, isn't there also a yearly tax on that too?

I did read in a newspaper article that they were trying to get some residentail zoning but it was zoned AG andprobably would not be changed to accommodate them.  (This was perplexing because I thought I read that #18 was changed to accommodate housing plans.)  That got me wondering if this was the end result of a failed ultimatum "give me the zoning or I'll close the course!".

Don, you are so correct in noting that if something isn't done this year, it could reach the point of no return.  As Tom said, after this winter (Chicago has twice the ave snowfall and that snow only melted for 1 week - then froze to ice under new snow) the damage to the turf is likely to be great.  And if they kept it as green and lush as you observed, the original fescue fairways were probably (Tom can speak to this) overseeded with bent and have alot of Poa - which will be the first to crap out.  I would think that it would take several months just to put humpty-dumpty back together again , which means an Aug/Sept re-seeding window would be optimim and the 1st play you could expect would be May 2011.  And that's not including any damage to the buildings if they weren't taken care of (heated in the winter).

What is farm land going for in the area?



Coasting is a downhill process

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