Buying distressed golf courses can make you money
Gary Player Group has launched a US$1bn (R7,6bn) fund to buy up distressed golf estates around the world, and has secured half the amount, according to property website Global Edge.

It quotes CEO Marc Player — eldest son of the legendary golfer Gary Player — this week saying the fund is targeting such resorts. Billions of dollars were spent in the property boom building them, and many are in trouble because of collapsing demand.

“We see this as a perfect storm,” Marc Player told a golf business forum in Belek, Turkey. “There may not be a lot of guys hiring us to design golf courses, but maybe we can acquire the ones that are distressed.”

The fund is in discussions with the owners of courses that include Dubai World’s Turnberry Resort in Scotland and the Sea Island Resort in Georgia.

As Turnberry, which hosted last year’s British Open, is owned by the Dubai World unit Istithmar, it could also mean that its Pearl Valley Signature Golf Estate in Paarl could soon be owned by Player.

Analysts say there are good opportunities for cash-rich investors to step in . “I think it’s a major opportunity and it’s the right timing,” says Andrea Sartori, a partner at KPMG property, leisure & tourism advisory services.

Additional comment by FM Online:

It is a typical property situation to buy property distressed at a deep discount and sell it at a profit a few years later. They have the cash and they feel it is the right time to buy.

The group would decide how to upgrade the golf courses. They would look at ways to improve each property and make it more attractive and profitable to other buyers

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