It is reckoned there are about 16,000 golf courses in the USA and, for an 18-hole course, anything between 100 and 200 acres is needed. For an 18-hole course, the amount of water required depends on the location. Not surprisingly, courses in the South-West are the most thirsty – the National Golf Association reckons annual water bills for a course in, say, Arizona, could be at least $107,800, www.nga.org.
There is also the sobering fact that some say younger achievers are turning away from golf (is it an old person’s game? It certainly takes too much time). Some seem to prefer spinning cycling, in classes or on Pelotons at home. Then there are those for whom membership of an Equinox club is sacrosanct and that gives access to boot-camp exercise classes.
In California, Tower Market convenience stores owner Tim Rogers has put his enthusiasm, and money, into building the Thermal Club, in Thermal, a community in the Coachella Valley, 25 miles from Palm Springs. The Thermal Club is essentially crowd-funded, with initiation fees of $85,000 complemented by annual dues of $12,000: members get access to four tracks over 450 acres, two restaurants and a BMW performance driving school. There are also 48 bungalows for overnight stays, as well as 268 home sites.
Other clubs include the Monticello Motor Club which opened in 2008, 90 miles north of New York City. Today its 225 members, who include hedge fund managers and investment bankers, pay about $125,000 to join and they get access to BMW’s motoring school. At the Concours Club, 14 miles west of Miami Beach, initiation fees for the 40 invitation-only founding members were $350,000,with no further annual dues – now the plan is to extend total membership to 200, with initiation fees of $150,000 and annual payments of $35,000.