A new golf course construction boom is spreading across the world

By Jason Scott Deegan

Golf’s post-pandemic resurgence has spurred on developers looking to invest in building new golf courses.

INVERNESS, Scotland – After roughly 15 years of lean times, new golf course construction is experiencing a post-pandemic revival.

Golf’s popularity during the pandemic has inspired a tidal wave of new projects. Architect Tom Doak said last week that investors who have been sitting on the sidelines are starting to emerge. His phone hasn’t stopped ringing. “It really started at the end of 2020,” he noted.

What do most of these projects have in common? The type of high-end, adventurous golfer they’re looking to attract.

Many of these new projects are being built on spectacular pieces of land in exotic locales like Scotland, St. Lucia, New Zealand and beyond. The ones popping up on U.S. soil tend to be elite private clubs. The only notable exception to both of these trends is Bar Run Golf & RV Resort in Roseburg, Ore., a public course by Dan Hixson that opened this year with relatively affordable green fees ($35-$95) that will cater to locals as well as nomads with clubs. The biggest selling point? It’s on the way to Bandon Dunes, America’s most coveted resort.

How mad is the rush to built the next great golf course? I got this message on Linkedin: A large-scale developer is “looking to develop high-rise hotel and residential projects and large gated golf course and luxury home development projects across major U.S. markets. Let me know if you have or know of large land sites, golf courses or hotels for sale.”

Nicklaus Design is one of the few legacy brands still very active. The Golden Bear’s firm has two developments in its south Florida backyard – the Panther National Golf Club and the Sandhill Crane Golf Club Par 3, both in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. The one I’m most interested in, however, is the Ury Estates scheduled to open in 2024 outside Aberdeen in Scotland.