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David_Tepper

  • Karma: +0/-0
"Cost of joining high-end clubs skyrockets, if aspiring members can get off the waiting list"


Article in the Financial Times:
 "Luxury golf clubs in south Florida have begun charging high six- and seven-figure joining fees as a pandemic-driven influx of wealthy Americans drives demand for tee times to previously unseen heights."


https://www.ft.com/content/cb5a0e3d-b4e1-483c-b324-14e2bb34558d

Sorry, gated.

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
It's not just billionaires.  If you are moving from NY to Florida and you want to get into a good private club, you are looking at the new ones, because you can't get into Seminole or Jupiter Hills or Indian Creek anytime soon.


The price is set to the demand, although some of the most expensive tickets are some of the least good courses, because they assume newbies won't know the difference.

Steve_ Shaffer

  • Karma: +0/-0
"Some of us worship in churches, some in synagogues, some on golf courses ... "  Adlai Stevenson
Hyman Roth to Michael Corleone: "We're bigger than US Steel."
Ben Hogan “The most important shot in golf is the next one”

Matt Schoolfield

  • Karma: +0/-0
This is like an Onion article satirizing everything I hate about American golf culture, except it’s serious.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2024, 08:56:18 PM by Matt Schoolfield »
Building an encyclopedia of golf courses that anyone can edit: Golf Course Wiki
Some strong opinions on golf: Wigs on the Green
I really think golf culture should be more like beer culture than wine culture

Rob Marshall

  • Karma: +0/-0
This is like an Onion article satirizing everything I hate about American golf culture, except it’s serious.


Why? They spent millions building these clubs and they are supposed to let people in for $1000? It's a business and some of these clubs turn around and contribute back to help people in need. Do a little research on how the Bridge in Sag Harbor gives back just to name one.



If life gives you limes, make margaritas.” Jimmy Buffett

Pierre Cruikshank

  • Karma: +0/-0

Palm Beach and Miami alone have just over 10,200 millionaires, 69 centi-millionaires and 9 billionaires. Florida has a total of 29 billionaires and 496,971 millionaires calling it home. Not everyone paying an initiation fee of $700K + to join a golf / country club cares about golf. Joining an 'established club' full of old money is one of the fastest method of social climbing.

One of the contributing factors is financial industry moving staff to Florida to save money. 158 firms with $1.2T in assets under management have moved to Florida since the pandemic. A small percentage of the $1.2T easily pays for a $1M club fee.

When you are making a few millions in NYC then move to FL, you have a lot of disposal income.


Florida will always be Florida.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2024, 01:16:56 AM by Pierre Cruikshank »
"Photons have mass? I didn’t even know they were Catholic.”
― Woody Allen

Steve Lapper

  • Karma: +0/-0
It's not just billionaires.  If you are moving from NY to Florida and you want to get into a good private club, you are looking at the new ones, because you can't get into Seminole or Jupiter Hills or Indian Creek anytime soon.


The price is set to the demand, although some of the most expensive tickets are some of the least good courses, because they assume newbies won't know the difference.


Tom,


  You mostly aren't wrong. That said, I would beg to differ on the newbies not (sic) knowing the difference. For many, if not most, of them in South Florida it's an exercise in immediacy and convenience.


  I know multiple successful people who've joined a very expensive club because they can, it's instant access to a tee time and it's not a far drive from their residence. These folks use their money to make life easy for them and the consideration of course architecture is the farthest thing from their mind. Some have a clue and they usually belong to a better-regarded course somewhere in the Northeast, yet understand that Florida can be a sprawling wasteland of chaotic design and thus set their expectations accordingly.


  Like any other cycle of appeal, this too shall eventually shift. When people ask me if golf and its business is going to stay "hot" for some time to come, I always give the same answer: We are only one recession away from another reversal in fortunes in the game. Florida won't be immune. It's already exposed to a few macro issues (serious climate change impacts, difficulty in insurance and traffic times) that are trending in the wrong direction.
The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking."--John Kenneth Galbraith

Mike Worth

  • Karma: +0/-0

Palm Beach and Miami alone have just over 10,200 millionaires, 69 centi-millionaires and 9 billionaires.


Florida has a total of 29 billionaires and 496,971 millionaires calling it home.

Not everyone paying an initiation fee of $700K + to join a golf / country club cares about golf. Joining an 'established club' full of old money is one of the fastest method of social climbing.



I think the number of Miami/Palm Beach billionaires is under reported. A recent Forbes article indicates 30 billionaires in Palm Beach alone. 


That said, and not trying to stir up anything, there have been several recent posts decrying the growth of super expensive, closed-membership clubs - which presumably mean very few will get to see the architecture of these courses.


These posts strike me as along the lines of “members of treehouse complain they can’t get into other person’s treehouse!“

Tim_Weiman

  • Karma: +0/-0

Palm Beach and Miami alone have just over 10,200 millionaires, 69 centi-millionaires and 9 billionaires.


Florida has a total of 29 billionaires and 496,971 millionaires calling it home.

Not everyone paying an initiation fee of $700K + to join a golf / country club cares about golf. Joining an 'established club' full of old money is one of the fastest method of social climbing.



I think the number of Miami/Palm Beach billionaires is under reported. A recent Forbes article indicates 30 billionaires in Palm Beach alone. 


That said, and not trying to stir up anything, there have been several recent posts decrying the growth of super expensive, closed-membership clubs - which presumably mean very few will get to see the architecture of these courses.


These posts strike me as along the lines of “members of treehouse complain they can’t get into other person’s treehouse!“


Mike,


Sure, we have had some posts complaining about lack of access to famous courses that are private clubs.


But over the years, there have been many GCA participants who aren’t billionaires that have played these courses with members. My favorite example was probably when the late Neil Regan hosted Tommy Naccarato at Winged Foot.


Neil had played the Winged Foot course for like 50 years and graciously recognized Tommy’s obvious love for golf architecture. By the way, that afternoon Neil put on a putting clinic unlike anything I have ever seen. His knowledge of those greens was just amazing.


A sincere love of golf architecture and reasonable social skills can go a long way towards experiencing the best of golf architecture.


Tim


Tim Weiman

Dan_Callahan

  • Karma: +0/-0
Nothing wrong with a private club charging extreme fees if that's what the market will pay. Similarly, there's nothing wrong with a person preferring the model that is most prevalent in Ireland and Scotland, where most of the best courses are open to public play.

Ian Mackenzie

  • Karma: +0/-0
"Cost of joining high-end clubs skyrockets, if aspiring members can get off the waiting list"


Article in the Financial Times:
 "Luxury golf clubs in south Florida have begun charging high six- and seven-figure joining fees as a pandemic-driven influx of wealthy Americans drives demand for tee times to previously unseen heights."


https://www.ft.com/content/cb5a0e3d-b4e1-483c-b324-14e2bb34558d

Sorry, gated.


@Colin Sheehan.... ;D ...this is what I was talking about. Will attempt to paste the article below:



Luxury golf clubs in south Florida have begun charging high six- and seven-figure
joining fees as a pandemic-driven influx of wealthy Americans drives demand for tee
times to previously unseen heights.
Top clubs in the Miami area have doubled or tripled their membership fees since
2020, according to documents and interviews with industry members. The pandemic
saw a flood of rich New Yorkers and Californians moving to Florida, seeking freedom
from harsh lockdowns and income tax, as well as warmer winter weather.
Overflowing demand for golf memberships has left the most exclusive clubs with
years-long waiting lists. New, high-end clubs are also entering the market to capitalise
on demand, offering luxury facilities pitched to the most affluent recreationalists.
Witkoff, a New York-based developer, on Wednesday announced plans for
Dutchman’s Pipe, the first new club in the Palm Beach area in 25 years. Joining fees
for the invitation-only private club, which will open on the site of the former Banyan
Cay this autumn, will range from $300,000 to $350,000.
This is the group’s second new club in the area. The cost of membership at Witkoff
and PPG Development’s invitation-only Shell Bay club, which opened to the north of
Miami Beach late last year, is $1.35mn.
“There’s this access to luxury golf arms race that’s happened,” said one hedge fund
investor who plays in the area. “The types of people moving down there are used to
getting their way and having access to the best of the best. Then you tell them
‘congratulations, you moved to Palm Beach, you can’t be a member of any of the oldschool
clubs because the wait-list is 10 years long’.”
‘Billionaires’ playgrounds’: the $1mn fees upending Florida’s golf clubs https://www.ft.com/content/cb5a0e3d-b4e1-483c-b324-14e2bb34558d
2 of 10 4/10/2024, 4:31 PM
The cost of membership at Witkoff and PPG Development’s invitation-only Shell Bay club is $1.35mn © Laurence Lambrecht
He said that while public local courses may be available, “these people look at
themselves as masters of the universe, and that is not going to be good enough for
them”.
Demand has driven up prices. The exclusive La Gorce Country Club in Miami Beach
costs $700,000 to join, according to documents from this past autumn, up from
about $200,000 before the pandemic. The historic club is not accepting new
applications for membership, according to its website, and people familiar with the
waiting list say it is five years long.
“It’s like the only show in town, and demand is crazy,” said a caddie at La Gorce who
asked not to be named because the discretion-obsessed world of Miami golf clubs is
small. “DJ Khaled has been trying to get in but isn’t in yet. He’s at Shell Bay.”
DJ Khaled did not respond to requests for comment.
The appetite for golf increased in many places during the pandemic, as working from
home increased demand for outdoor recreation, household savings and available
leisure time. While club membership fees have doubled across the US in the past
decade, almost half of that growth has taken place since 2020, according to the
Bureau of Labor Statistics. At the end of 2019, a quarter of golf and country clubs in
the US had waiting lists, according to Club Benchmarking, a research firm. Today,
almost half do.
‘Billionaires’ playgrounds’: the $1mn fees upending Florida’s golf clubs https://www.ft.com/content/cb5a0e3d-b4e1-483c-b324-14e2bb34558d
3 of 10 4/10/2024, 4:31 PM
Nowhere has seen more intense demand than south-east Florida. The cost of joining
clubs in south Florida is more than quadruple the national rate, with the median cost
jumping from $120,000 in 2019 to $200,000 in 2023, Club Benchmarking said.
The Breakers, an elite club in Palm Beach, charges $550,000 for new members, while
those familiar say it was closer to $300,000 before the pandemic. Emerald Dunes
costs $700,000, compared to about $300,000 pre-pandemic, and has a waiting list
members say is 100 people long.
“The old clubs are impossible to get into. It’s crazy the initiation fees that people are
paying to just have a place to go to dinner or play golf,” said one financier who plays
at several clubs in the area.
Elite golf clubs are famously secretive about their membership processes and fees,
making it difficult for even avid players to keep track of price inflation. Indian Creek
Country Club, the private golf club located on the Miami island known as
“billionaire’s bunker”, require that would-be joiners liaise directly with existing
members about the cost and how to secure a coveted invitation.
Indian Creek charges new members $500,000, more than double the pre-pandemic
level, and is considering a further increase, according to people familiar with its fees.
Breakers and La Gorce declined to comment, citing their members’ privacy, although
the Breakers noted that its fee structure had changed in recent years. Emerald Dunes
and Indian Creek did not respond to requests for comment.
“It’s crazy and happening very rapidly. Two or four years ago you had upscale clubs in
Naples and Miami and Palm Beach that were getting two or three hundred thousand
[dollars] and that was a lot,” said Larry Hirsh, president of Golf Property Analysts.
‘Billionaires’ playgrounds’: the $1mn fees upending Florida’s golf clubs https://www.ft.com/content/cb5a0e3d-b4e1-483c-b324-14e2bb34558d
4 of 10 4/10/2024, 4:31 PM
The elite Breakers Club in Palm Beach charges new members $550,000 © Steve Allen/Allen Creative/Alamy
The lack of public information about clubs is part of their marketing. “It’s all part of
the aura. Clubs are very concerned with prestige because some people — that’s what
they pay for,” said Hirsh. Secretiveness means fee increases are “hidden”, and in
2022, the year US inflation climbed to 9.1 per cent, Patrick Harker, the president of
the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, said the wildly rising costs of private golf
clubs could be seen as a silent contributor.
Florida has the highest density of golf courses of any US state, with more than 1,250
courses, according to the National Golf Foundation. But new land for development in
Miami and Palm Beach, bordered by the ocean on one side and the Everglades, a
protected wetland, on the other, is scarce.
Golfers must vie for spots at existing clubs, which sometimes restrict membership so
tightly that a current member must die in order for a new member to be admitted, or
new developers must buy and renovate existing properties at high valuations.
Dutchman’s Pipe will be a private 220-acre course in West Palm Beach, a 15-minute
drive from Palm Beach Island, where the median single family home sells for nearly
$13mn. Acquiring the club “was a generational opportunity”, said Alex Witkoff, the
developer’s co-chief executive. “Building a new course in Palm Beach is never going to
happen.”
The new luxury offerings from clubs speak to the region’s rapid transformation since
the pandemic, and its impact on golf culture.
‘Billionaires’ playgrounds’: the $1mn fees upending Florida’s golf clubs https://www.ft.com/content/cb5a0e3d-b4e1-483c-b324-14e2bb34558d
5 of 10 4/10/2024, 4:31 PM
“People are not looking for the same old country club experience,” Witkoff said.
Dutchman’s Pipe’s bougainvillea-covered clubhouse will feature a spa and a chef who
cut his teeth at Annabel’s, the private members club for the well-heeled in London’s
Mayfair.
“People are seeking world class dining, they don’t want banal club food,” Witkoff said:
“Yes, you will be able to get a great burger, but also branzino and tuna tartare.”
The high price point also aims to sidestep another issue playing out in the old Miami
and Palm Beach golf clubs — tensions between new money versus old members.
Affluent golfers moving from New York and Los Angeles are used to paying top dollar
for elite experiences, and have expectations for what $700,000 should buy. But
members who joined clubs decades ago for a fraction of that price are less enthused
about dues going up to fund costly changes, leading to clubhouse conflicts.
Florida has long been a magnet for
“snowbirds” — Americans flying south for the
winter. But the cost and design of the new
private clubs “is reflective of the people who
have been moving down to Miami” more
recently, Witkoff said, many of whom are
staying for much of the year.
The state estimates that almost two-thirds of
the money that moved to Florida in 2022
alone came from New York. “We are postsnowbird.
We are building these clubs to
focus on Florida today, not Florida a decade
ago,” Witkoff said.
A high entry price also ensures that members have exceptional long-term spending
power — a guard against sudden economic shocks — as well as a “shared
psychographic profile”, Witkoff said.
But some question how long the industry can sustain such rapid price growth, asking
if the current boom will turn out to be a “golf bubble”.
“The question is, is this sustainable?” the hedge fund golfer said. “Is this Florida thing
a permanent deal where people are going to stick around and support these clubs
until the end of time?”
Golf has been a cyclical industry that booms in times of economic growth, and pulls
People are not looking
for the same old
country club
experience . . . Yes, you
will be able to get a
great burger, but also
branzino and tuna
tartare
Alex Witkoff
‘Billionaires’ playgrounds’: the $1mn fees upending Florida’s golf clubs https://www.ft.com/content/cb5a0e3d-b4e1-483c-b324-14e2bb34558d
6 of 10 4/10/2024, 4:31 PM
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2024. All rights reserved.
Golf has been a cyclical industry that booms in times of economic growth, and pulls
back in rough years for markets. After the 2008 financial crisis, many clubs dropped
their joining fees to attract members. They also changed their business models. It
used to be common for members to be able to recoup some or all of their joining costs
when they left, which caught many clubs off-guard when the recession caused an
exodus.
What makes the current surge in the cost of playing golf in Florida so striking to many
enthusiasts is that many of today’s sky-high joining fees are non-refundable. “That
million is sunk,” one player noted.
But as the hedge fund golfer noted of south Florida’s new luxury clubs, “these
billionaires’ playgrounds, where members can afford massive initiation fees, are
betting that these people are recession proof because they’re so flush”.
Golfers writing non-refundable cheques to join these clubs, many of them
professional punters on Wall Street, are making a similar bet.

Pierre Cruikshank

  • Karma: +0/-0

Palm Beach and Miami alone have just over 10,200 millionaires, 69 centi-millionaires and 9 billionaires.


Florida has a total of 29 billionaires and 496,971 millionaires calling it home.

Not everyone paying an initiation fee of $700K + to join a golf / country club cares about golf. Joining an 'established club' full of old money is one of the fastest method of social climbing.




I think the number of Miami/Palm Beach billionaires is under reported. A recent Forbes article indicates 30 billionaires in Palm Beach alone. 


That said, and not trying to stir up anything, there have been several recent posts decrying the growth of super expensive, closed-membership clubs - which presumably mean very few will get to see the architecture of these courses.


These posts strike me as along the lines of “members of treehouse complain they can’t get into other person’s treehouse!“




Mike,
I correct myself. There are at least 58 billionaires living in the Palm Beach area. https://www.palmbeachpost.com/story/news/2024/04/06/worlds-richest-palm-beach-is-home-to-at-least-58-forbes-billionaires/73218737007/


In the past 10 years, the millionaire pop. in W. Palm Beach has grown 90% and 75% in Miami - source.

The cost of these clubs in Florida is basically in line with what some clubs in the Hamptons charge.

-Pierre




« Last Edit: April 11, 2024, 09:59:34 AM by Pierre Cruikshank »
"Photons have mass? I didn’t even know they were Catholic.”
― Woody Allen

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
It seems like the entire point of that article was to advertise the one new course and justify its price as a relative bargain.  Just what golf needs!


But, to the general point, yes, this is why a lot of courses are being built there now; developers think they can make money at it because the demand and price point are so ridiculous.

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Also, don’t forget that not all of the billionaires in FL are residents; there are also a bunch of them who are just in town January to March, which skews the count.

Michael Morandi

  • Karma: +0/-0
My club, located in one of the richest parts of the world, has so far resisted charging what the market will pay for a number of reasons,  not least that we want good people/players who fit our culture and because we want to avoid the boom/ bust cycle that creates the high member turnover that can ruin our golf focused culture.

Kevin_Reilly

  • Karma: +0/-0
MM, with limited exceptions (e.g. Los Altos CC), the Bay Area has always stayed surprisingly below the $ levels of courses in other parts of the country in terms of initiation fees and monthly dues.  Surprising given the otherwise higher costs here.
"GOLF COURSES SHOULD BE ENJOYED RATHER THAN RATED" - Tom Watson

Michael Morandi

  • Karma: +0/-0
MM, with limited exceptions (e.g. Los Altos CC), the Bay Area has always stayed surprisingly below the $ levels of courses in other parts of the country in terms of initiation fees and monthly dues.  Surprising given the otherwise higher costs here.


True, but as you know, there are an increasing number on the peninsula that have relatively high initiation fees but this is offset by an equally high redemption payout.

Matt MacIver

  • Karma: +0/-0
MM, with limited exceptions (e.g. Los Altos CC), the Bay Area has always stayed surprisingly below the $ levels of courses in other parts of the country in terms of initiation fees and monthly dues.  Surprising given the otherwise higher costs here.


True, but as you know, there are an increasing number on the peninsula that have relatively high initiation fees but this is offset by an equally high redemption payout.


Good point - are the new ultra-$$ privates mostly equity or non-equity? 

George Pazin

  • Karma: +0/-0
This is like an Onion article satirizing everything I hate about American golf culture, except it’s serious.


Why? They spent millions building these clubs and they are supposed to let people in for $1000? It's a business and some of these clubs turn around and contribute back to help people in need. Do a little research on how the Bridge in Sag Harbor gives back just to name one.


There's nothing wrong with hoping/wishing for something better. $1000 is a bit of a straw man, no?


That said, who gives a crap how these people spend their $$$$$$$$$$$$? Lots more to worry about out there...
Big drivers and hot balls are the product of golf course design that rewards the hit one far then hit one high strategy.  Shinny showed everyone how to take care of this whole technology dilemma. - Pat Brockwell, 6/24/04

Tony_Muldoon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Not Florida but similar membership profile, and they ain't happy.  If you mess with these guys they have the means to fight back, so I hope the new clubs are well organised,

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/putinesque-the-tycoons-and-sportsmen-taking-on-their-luxury-golf-club-dgmc3cqpp
« Last Edit: April 15, 2024, 09:37:55 AM by Tony_Muldoon »
Let's make GCA grate again!


cary lichtenstein

  • Karma: +0/-0
I have lived in Jupiter since 1998. I arrived here when Mc Arthur owned every parcel and sold and each became gated communities such as the Bears Club.


Now I am seeing history repeat itself in Hobe Sound, the next exit north of Jupiter. There is zero navigable water but the lots are selling north of $$7.5 million in one club that is housing plus golf called the Atlantic plus a condo development on Jupiter Island starting at $15 m each.


Inbetween the Atlantic Club and Apogee is Michael Jordans private Club


Apogee starts now at $650,000 with no housing.


I would never ever think, that development on Bridge Road, which is farmland and far from everything would ever bring such developments at such enormous prices.


It's the difference between me as an ordinary man and these very rich developers who have long term vision and very deep pockets. This is only the beginning, as housing, restaurants, hotels and strip centers will follow.
Live Jupiter, Fl, was  4 handicap, played top 100 US, top 75 World. Great memories, no longer play, 4 back surgeries. I don't miss a lot of things about golf, life is simpler with out it. I miss my 60 degree wedge shots, don't miss nasty weather, icing, back spasms. Last course I played was Augusta

Craig Sweet

  • Karma: +0/-0
These clubs are an example of the income inequality that is quickly bringing the demise of America.
LOCK HIM UP!!!

David Kelly

  • Karma: +0/-0
Here in SoCal, rather then be annoyed at private citizens spending their own money to build golf clubs, I'm more annoyed at cities floating a $60M bonds to renovate their 18 hole muni course by turning it into a 9-hole course with a new clubhouse and a subsidized TopGolf facility.


https://wavepublication.com/montebello-golf-course-to-get-new-clubhouse/
"Whatever in creation exists without my knowledge exists without my consent." - Judge Holden, Blood Meridian.

Chris Hughes

  • Karma: +0/-0

Joining an 'established club' full of old money is one of the fastest method of social climbing.


Florida will always be Florida.



Worked beautifully for Bernie!  Until the tide went out...


Reminds me of an observation one of the smartest investors I know made recently:


"This golf boom reminds me of crypto and SPAC's..."


Make of it what you will.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2024, 01:36:10 AM by Chris Hughes »

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