Detroit Free Press talks saturated Michigan golf market (which is about to add several new courses)

The Masters is over, which is the annual rite of spring for papers up north to write their first local golf pieces of spring.

JC Reindl of Michigan's Detroit Free Press wrote a column Monday on the state of their boom-bust golf economy.

The paper reports that about 200 Michigan golf courses have closed in the past 15 years, and many believe this is just the beginning:

Michigan golf course architect Raymond Hearn said he thinks the state could lose another 30 or so courses each year for the next two to three years before golf club supply finally matches up with the reduced demand. Many of the courses now closing are small mom-and-pop businesses whose owners barely survived the recession and know they face increasingly uncertain financial prospects as fewer young people take up the game. "I'm not trying to be a grim reaper, but some of these courses have been hanging on by the skin of their teeth for the last eight years," said Hearn, president of Holland-based Raymond Hearn Golf Course Designs. "I don't think they can do it any longer."

But it's worth pointing out that Michigan, despite on all accounts being saturated with courses, is opening more new and revitalized projects than many other states this year, headlined by Forest Dunes' Loop Course, but there is also a six-hole course being added on Michigan's west side, the Falls at Barber Creek is completing its 18-hole course. Gull Lake View Resort, in southwest Michigan, is opening a sixth course, Stoatin Brae. And next year in the Upper Peninsula, the Island Resort & Casino is scheduled to open a second course. So there still appears to be an appetite for the right kind of new golf facilities.

One other local development reported by Joe Guillen of the Free Press is that the operator of Detroit's four munis, Vargo Golf Detroit, appears to be struggling and even has delinquent water bills to the city, (water being a touchy subject in the state to say the least). Ratings from golfers for these four courses on Golf Advisor have really struggled over the past year.



Also, at the bottom of the Freep article, is a stat from the National Golf Foundation that Michigan, despite losing population and a middling economy, still has more public courses than any other state. So, maybe the golf business isn't doing too bad in Michigan, it's just a healthy correction. The best we can hope for is that it's the hastily built, unremarkable courses that don't make it, and the more enjoyable courses located near strong population bases hang on. We'll see if the new courses opening this year, all unique in their own ways, stick around long-term.

As to the riddle posed in the article of millennial participation, I encourage any golf facilities who think attracting them to the game is hopeless, to pin this tweet up in the clubhouse:

Brandon Tucker is the Sr. Managing Editor for GolfPass and was the founding editor of Golf Advisor in 2014, he was the managing editor for Golf Channel Digital's Courses & Travel. To date, his golf travels have taken him to over two dozen countries and nearly 600 golf courses worldwide. While he's played some of the most prestigious courses in the world, Tucker's favorite way to play the game is on a great muni in under three hours. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @BrandonTucker and on Instagram at @btuck34.
0 Comments
Related Links
Golf Advisor weighs in on top courses closed since 2005.
4 Min Read
Convenience has always been king at Garland Lodge & Golf Resort in northern Michigan. Everything is centrally located. Golfers simply pull into the parking lot and never have to leave. Still, as good as everything else is, golf is the ultimate draw.
3 Min Read
Native son Jason Scott Deegan recently explored the western Michigan shoreline and found it's a playground of hills, trees, sand dunes and marshes -- all great attributes for golf.
6 Min Read
It isn't until you've narrowed down your next summer golf trip to the destination of northern Michigan that the real decisions begin. Here are 10 of the best options for northern Michigan golf resorts and what sets each apart.
6 Min Read
More from the author
5 Min Read
December 7, 2021
It may be the private club capital of Florida, but golfers endorse these public-access courses.
4 Min Read
December 3, 2021
It's never been easier to design custom hats, golf balls, clubs, headcovers and more.
2 Min Read
November 30, 2021
It's possible this little ditty finds you scooping up the last bit of cranberry pie crumbs out of the tray. Thanksgiving may have passed but the effects of celebratory eating around the table, and also possibly social imbibing during all the various football games throughout the weekend, are sticking with us. To our bellies and elsewhere.
4 Min Read
November 23, 2021
We scoured the web of golf and found holiday savings up to 50% off.
12 Min Read
November 18, 2021
Golfers can choose from a wide variety of portable launch monitor price points and user experiences. Here is what's new and the best ones to consider to improve your golf.
7 Min Read
November 9, 2021
Our community loves the value and experience at these popular and affordable military facilities and even book online.
Popular
5 Min Read
November 20, 2021
Help the golfer in your life shoot lower scores, look and feel better than ever this holiday season with these eight golf gifts.
2 Min Read
November 15, 2021
Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson and world-class instructors help you get up-and-down more often.
4 Min Read
November 30, 2021
The Jamaica Invitational Pro-Am "Annie's Revenge", one of the Caribbean's best pro-ams, introduces the fun and the sun of Rose Hall near Montego Bay.
4 Min Read
November 22, 2021
Anyone can play Tom Fazio's Wynn Golf Club, which sits in the heart of the Las Vegas strip.
Load More
Now Reading
Detroit Free Press talks saturated Michigan golf market (which is about to add several new courses)