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Golf course development

To quote Alice Dye, president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, "Golf courses are among the best land uses for communities. They provide an outstanding recreational outlet and preserve greenspace in an increasingly urban world." Those two reasons alone are enough to justify and support the development of new golf courses.

Over the past 4 years, golf-course development projects have steadily increased, according to the National Golf Foundation (NGF). In fact, from Jan. 1, 1997, through Oct. 5, 1997, 845 golf courses opened or underwent construction, which is a 22-percent increase over 1994's 694 course projects. Table 2 illustrates the total numbers for new facilities and expansion over the four-year period.

In 1996, the number of daily-fee course-development projects continued to skyrocket over the number of municipal and private course projects (see Table 3). However, the number for municipal and private courses is significant--335 and 245, respectively. For a breakdown of the actual figures on the various types and sizes of courses under development for 1997, see Table 1.

Tracking the development of new golf courses, as well as those under construction or expansion, is a relatively uncomplicated task. Tracking golf-course closures, however, is much more daunting. When courses are no longer in operation, neither are their sources of information. While conducting its research on golf-course closures, NGF had to rely on secondary sources for information. Some of those sources outside the golf industry include post offices, chambers of commerce and local government agencies. NGF was able to verify the closing of 48 courses in 1996 based on deletions from its database. These included 36 daily fee, 4 municipal, 1 private and 7 military courses. Land development was cited as the reason for 24 of these closures, and military-base closures account for the 7 military courses.

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