New solutions for flagging US courses


New solutions for flagging US courses
Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley

A new project has been set up in the US with the objective of finding creative solutions to the problem of neglected and underfunded public and private open spaces, including golf courses.

The Parks Legacy Project is the brainchild of experienced golf developer Alan Mishkin, who has worked alongside real estate professionals and planning and recreation consultants to outline the plans for the project. Using a solution-based approach, the board will look to upgrade open spaces while also creating long term financial sustainability for sites involved in the venture.

“What we have noticed is that many open spaces, whether parks, golf courses or preserve spaces, are rapidly deteriorating,” says Mishkin. “Cities and community associations are simply running out of ways to keep up with conditions and the replacement needs of infrastructure.”

Michael Farrar, a real estate broker and part of the Parks Legacy Board, explained the thinking behind the project. “We first look for the potential to redevelop underused land. This land can either be within the property, or located somewhere else that is under control of the municipality or owner,” said Farrar. “On a golf facility we look at ways to reconfigure the golf course, change its make-up to a shorter layout or perhaps reduce holes from 27 to 18, 18 to 9 or from a regulation length to a shorter layout.”

“In many cases we are able to simply find under-used land and make nominal reconfigurations that allow for an appropriate level of development,” added Farrar. “In this case the course is not changed at all, yet the effort sets in motion a long term financial return. Regardless,solutions are always proposed that will complement the available golf facilities in the market.”

The Parks Legacy Project will endeavour to judge the best way to make financial sense of land that is available through a reconfigured facility. The board will look to create one or more revenue streams, potentially through more efficient management. Other possibilities include using lease payments generated from new development, with tax revenues from developed land being reinvested to ensure future care and quality.

Other board members of the Parks Legacy Project include real estate consultant Keith Mishkin, golf management consultant Peter Robbeloth, and Forrest Richardson, a golf course architect and golf planner.