This discussion group is best enjoyed using Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari.
There's a bigger problem for me. I keep trying to participate, and I don't have anything nice or constructive to say anymore. Sorry again for the invective.
How much of the country club issue is really just a demographic issue? The baby boom generation was huge, leading to a massive expansion in the number and type (housing development/resort) courses. Generation X was much smaller. There really aren't enough of us to support any industry the way the baby boom generation did. Many industries and economies are starting to feel the effect of that very small generation now as we are in our 40's and 50's but we don't have the collective spending power of the previous generation. However, the following generations are much, much larger. There will be enough of them to drive higher demand for all kinds of things, including golf and private country clubs. Yes, there is still another round of economic/societal turmoil to go through to resolve the debt issue. But, on the other side of that, there will be enough people demographically to support all kinds of things.
I think the demographic argument is overdone as births did not fall THAT much. See the chart below - they fell below 3.5M per year for the 70s but other than that they have been between 3.5-4.3M. And I am guessing that this is somewhat, if not completely, offset by longevity and folks being in better shape for longer thanks to medical advances like joint replacements.
Very few people agree with that analysis. I predict a lot of suburban and urban golf course will be developed into smaller, affordable housing.
What I cannot figure out is why some clubs struggle and others do not. I was a member at Four Streams outside of DC. Golf only and excellent golf and world class food. We had a good caddie program and it was a second club for most. At one time we were capped at 250 single members (meaning no spouses). It was over leveraged when we bought it from the developer and the initiation fee went from $60,000 to a fraction of that. We still lost members. A member bought the club but from what I understand the club is struggling again. I wonder if some of the clubs that struggle the most are second clubs. The other area country clubs to which I belonged are doing fine.