Palm Coast Golf Courses Battle for Cash Flow

Hammock Beach Club and Grand Haven; formerly private are opening up their doors to those who live outside the gates at attractive prices

Palm Coast, FL – December 24, 2009 – started reporting months ago about the cash flow difficulties faced by golf courses around the country. At least two local golf courses are reacting. Both the Bobby Ginn-founded Hammock Beach Club and Crescent Resources’ Grand Haven Club have opened up their membership to those who live outside the gates.
In doing so, they risk alienating existing members who paid a premium for a private club. However the realities of the marketplace leave few options. Simply put, golf courses are expensive to operate. Costs are relatively fixed. When member-driven revenue is insufficient to cover costs, outside revenue becomes necessary.
The club facilities of the Ginn-developed Hammock Beach Club, have historically been available only to property-owners and guests, as well as resort guests renting members’ units within the Club’s Rental Program. The initiation deposit for full golf membership is $60,000. The club recently rolled out its Exchange Membership, a new membership class aimed to bring in members from outside the gates. The Exchange Membership is also available to residents with properties in the Club’s Rental Program.
The exchange membership requires a non-refundable $5,000 initiation fee. Monthly dues are $775 for a family membership. An annual cart plan is available at $2,660. The Exchange Membership is recallable after three years. Regular memberships are not. Exchange members have access to all club facilities available to full golf members including both the Nicklaus-designed Ocean Golf Course and the Watson-designed Conservatory course, golf tournaments, restaurants, the multi-million dollar swimming complex, tennis, fitness center, club discounts, and more.
The Grand Haven Club is owned by Crescent Resources, the parent company of Grand Haven real estate developer LandMar Group. Both companies are currently in chapter 11 bankruptcy. Grand Haven’s refundable (subject to certain conditions and minus a transfer fee) membership deposit has been $35,000. The Grand Haven Club is currently floating a few trial membership balloons; both set to expire at the end of 2009. First, a recallable Invitational Membership, with full golf member privileges is available to non-residents. The Invitational Membership carries only a $1,500 non-refundable initiation fee. This membership is not available to Grand Haven residents.
A second Grand Haven plan allows Grand Haven residents to join (full golf) by paying only $10,000 now and signing a promissory note for the $25,000 balance. If the membership remains in good standing for three years, the note will be forgiven. [I wonder if they thought about the tax consequences of the debt forgiveness to the member.] Still awaiting the results of the annual membership renewal process, the Grand Haven Club has not announced any promotional programs for 2010.
5 replies
  1. GENE
    GENE says:


    In the past few years there have been so manyh "deals" at Grand Haven that it makes me feel that I am sitting at a poker table.

    I believe that a more prudent approach to turning a profit would be two fold.
    1. Instead of irritating existing members, do everything possible to create better morale. People are leasving and management should find out why. They are trying to get new members at the risk of losing some that they already have. I have always been of the opinion that one gotem is better than two getums.

    2. There seems to be an excess of managerial personnel. Just a thought but a little pruning might help.

  2. John Boy
    John Boy says:

    Local Golf Courses

    Only a fool would even think about giving money to Golf Courses who are in bancrupcy. The chances of these clubs surviving is some where between slim and none and slim has already left town. Combined with the problems ar the Grand Club, the days of local golf are long gone. I’d rather play at a public course and not support the people who contributed to the Real Estate Bubble which inturn lead to the enconomic problems that will take years to overcome.

  3. Bernard Hollenbeck
    Bernard Hollenbeck says:

    Grand Haven Club

    Having been a GH golf member for seven years, this is the most active and vibrant the club has ever been. Most of us think that some of the "glass half empty" crowd that left the club is a net gain for us. I and the people I play golf with are well satisfied. Even so, we must concentrate on attracting younger members whether they pay an initiation fee or not. Otherwise, the demographics of GH will cause a natural decrease in participation.

  4. Down The Middle
    Down The Middle says:

    Grand Haven

    Why would you want to play Grand Haven and not some place else .First it’s in Great shape ,second has as good layout as you want,and we have the best staff around ,Food service is real good ,and without question we now have some of the nicest people.If you want you can play by yourself and camplain because know one is listening anymore.

  5. Turner Lett
    Turner Lett says:

    Cash Flow – Grand Haven

    In all my working year, I never believed that we would spent our latter year living in a gated community and having the privilege of playing on a private golf course, and a Jack Nicholas Signature Course to top it off.

    During this decade of exclusivity I have been treated to near royalty by the working staff, exposed to innumerably golf outings and events, and dined in pleasure with our friends.

    Consequently, it is our continued intent to strongly encourage the efforts of Hampton Golf in their efforts to respond and recover from the current economic conditions. If we fail to create a favorable response to their attempts of success, then we as members and property owners will be suffering also. Our investment in our homes are at stake and our golf facility will suffer if they don’t get our support.

    Let’s get past the "me’s" and elevate our level of support to the "we’s."


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply