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Plan B for Your Golf Course: Protecting and Pursuing Development Rights

November 2013
National Golf Foundation

We have all read the headlines of storied golf courses struggling financially and even filing for bankruptcy protection. The many articles tell us that lifestyles are changing, demand for golf has decreased; other sources cite outdated courses as the problem, pointing to newer courses with modern amenities as having better financial prospects. Courses planned in better times died on the drawing board during the Great Recession, too, with government approvals but no course. These situations all beg the question, what happens next on land formerly used or planned for golf course purposes? This article gives a land use attorney’s perspective on planning to repurpose a golf course. Land development in most states and localities involves a long, expensive process; the pointers below should help the owner of a failed course or one that needs to be repositioned decide whether an alternative business plan involving development of at least a part of the property can and should be pursued.

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