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Old 05-05-2017, 01:10 PM
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Default Longevity of Private Courses

With the growing number of private courses and the attention many of them are going, I thought a thread dedicated to issues regarding their longevity seemed in order. Private courses can close down for any number of reasons:

• Cost of maintaining/running a course exceeds course income.
• Property owner decides to repurpose or sell the property.
• Course proprietor becomes too old/ill to keep it up (or dies).
• Proprietor doesn't have time/resources to keep the course running as a viable entity/gets burned out.
...probably almost as many reasons as there are courses.

A couple of private courses in my area closed down a little over a year ago. One of them was just single element of a commercial enterprise. The owner of the complex decided to sell the land to some developer or company.

The other course closure involved the course designer renting the property from the land owner and promises not being kept by the property owner ...but I can't help but think that the hassle of making sure that someone was always there to collect fees/enforce passes/waivers, plus the ongoing maintenance with very limited ca$h flow were huge contributing factors. Place was well maintained, and I personally saw the guy mowing all the time. Regulars couldn't help but notice things improving on a continual basis.... and after 2-3 seasons, they closed shop.

What happens when Bill simply isn't able to keep up with Flip City?" ...feel free to substitute the course/owner of your choice.

Given how shakey things seem at Highbridge (from what I've read here) I kinda wonder if I'm gonna make it out there before that place closes it down.

Does anyone know of any private courses where people have already made plans for the smooth succession/continuation of the course after the proprietor moves on (in whatever sense that might be)?

I have no clue if the folks who maintain the courses in Mason County plan to keep Flip going. I suspect they already help out with maintenance (but don't know for sure), and I certainly don't know what Bill and his family's plans for the property are.

Course owners: Have any of you actually made plans for your course to carry on after you decide you've had enough (or worse)?

Club members: Have any of you made such plans with owners? Do you truly help out enough to seriously help the people running private courses in your area keep from getting burned out prematurely?

I hate to think it's simply a matter of "better play 'em while you got the chance" ... but have a feeling that's the case for the most part.
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Last edited by BogeyNoMore; 05-05-2017 at 01:13 PM.
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Old 05-05-2017, 01:19 PM
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I'd rather not think about it.
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Old 05-05-2017, 01:22 PM
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Private courses are ephemeral. My list of all-time favorite courses is cluttered with extinct private courses. Plus a few bucket-list courses I never got to play.

Stoney Hill has the benefit of two co-owners, so would have a decent chance of continuing if one of us died. But there are other pitfalls that could cause its demise.

So love your private courses while you can, I say.

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Old 05-05-2017, 01:36 PM
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My wife just chuckles now, and says, "you always say that"....when I say, "You never know how long this one will be around."
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Old 05-05-2017, 01:47 PM
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Like David, I'd rather not think about it too much. I'm about 12 holes into what I hope will one day become 18 to 27 holes.

Of the 65 acres that make up our property, my wife and I own 55 and her twin sister and her husband own the other 10. We're the only ones that currently live on site and thus the lion's share of the maintenance is solely on my shoulders and it's a hell of an undertaking. I could see how one or a combination of any of the things you listed could bring down a course.

I mow grass an average of 4 to 5 hours a week, usually broken up in chunks of 2 or 3 hours. In the spring when the rain is plentiful I mow more, in the summer when it's drier I mow less. When heavy rains come I usually have to spend a few hours re-grading the gravel driveway that gets washed out in a few places. When time and resources (money to hire a legitimate dozer/bobcat operator) allow I need to re-grade with proper slope to control the rain better but for now it's just band-aid repairs with my tractor as needed.

It's more expensive than I realized for sure. I didn't have a lot of the tools needed to maintain a piece of property like this when we bought it. Over the last few years I've acquired so many tools, big and small, hand tools and power tools. I don't even want to think about putting it all down and compiling the costs. Our co-owners have helped some on attachments for the tractor, and other items that are used for the course but overall it's mostly been on us. Hell, a sub-compact tractor is as much as a decent car. It's a great multi-use tool (mowing, grading, materials moving, but the mowing was taking me forever so we invested in a nice zero turn mower, which was another big purchase.

I'm only 36 so hopefully it's at least 30 years away, but I've thought about and would love to leave my land and whatever I make of it to the local county to be made into a park. That said, there's something about leaving the property and the house I designed and built, to my daughters if they want it. What they do with the course/land would be up to them, I can't force them to continue maintaining it. Hopefully they develop a love for disc golf as well but nothing is guaranteed.

As far as help from the local club goes. I made a post on the local FB page a couple months ago about an upcoming work day. I had a lot of people "like" the post, a couple people commented that they'd like to help. Come work day it was myself, my brother in law, and a fellow dg buddy that I used to work with who has helped a bunch already. I'm going to keep trying to get help for work days and would eventually like a set day every month (ex: last Saturday or Sunday of the month) that everyone knows is a work day and see if that helps.
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Old 05-05-2017, 01:55 PM
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I think setting a regular work day schedule might help, that way if someone's inclined to pitch in, at least they can plan for it, as opposed to "I woulda, but already got plans."

I'd like to think that running some sort of league at a private course would at least help ensure the manpower of some local club members at least as far as ongoing maintenance goes.

Last edited by BogeyNoMore; 05-05-2017 at 01:58 PM.
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Old 05-05-2017, 02:09 PM
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Private courses tend to be in remote locations. It's hard enough getting volunteer help for a public course in a well-populated area.

Which also makes it difficult to run leagues or other regular events, on many of them.

"Private Course" actually covers a range of situations, including:

* Disc golfer owns the property ("living the dream")
* Property owner doesn't play disc golf, but knows disc golfer(s) who have arranged to put a course in
* Commercial property that puts in a private course as a sideline (think golf courses and ski slopes, though there are others).

The maintenance may range from marginal (on land that has to be maintained, anyway) to extensive.
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Old 05-05-2017, 02:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BogeyNoMore View Post
I think setting a regular work day schedule might help, that way if someone's inclined to pitch in, at least they can plan for it, as opposed to "I woulda, but already got plans."

I'd like to think that running some sort of league at a private course would at least help ensure the manpower of some local club members at least as far as ongoing maintenance goes.
Yep. My plan is that what is primarily a work day now would turn into a monthly league type day as the course gets closer to completion.
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Old 05-05-2017, 02:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BogeyNoMore View Post
Does anyone know of any private courses where people have already made plans for the smooth succession/continuation of the course after the proprietor moves on (in whatever sense that might be)?
the McCormick property in central MO, where Ozark Mountain is (along with Akita's Run and Spencer-Davis). they sold the property a couple years ago and the new owners kept the disc golf courses and are planning to add a bunch of other stuff too (supposedly) like ATV trails, horse riding, paintball...
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Old 05-05-2017, 02:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidSauls View Post
Private courses tend to be in remote locations.
Gotta be the direct result of property values vs. population.
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