What’s It Cost To Build A Golf Course?


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Regardless of whether you’re a golf fanatic or a business investor you’ve probably pondered what’s it cost to build a golf course?

This might seem like an incredibly specific consideration but it’s a question that carries a lot of weight.

In reality building a golf course is less about creating a playground for enthusiasts and more about a major development project with serious financial implications.

Much like constructing a home or a commercial building there are multitudes of factors to consider.

But surprisingly do you know that the biggest expense isn’t the land or the design but something completely unexpected?

What'S It Cost To Build A Golf Course

Table of Contents

Cost Breakdown

A standard 18-hole golf course construction can amount to $14 million. The cost could range from $7 million to a staggering $25 million depending of course on various factors.

Building golf course greens for instance costs up to $60 per square foot. Also the type of course plays a significant role with minimalist courses costing around $521000 to build average ones around $2218000 and upscale courses reaching up to $5814000.

The golf industry attracted 3.2 million new players in 2021. Investing in golf can be profitable with successful courses generating millions in revenue and profit.

On top of construction costs there are additional costs for factors like mobilization layout and staking erosion control clearing and grubbing rock blasting earthmoving landscaping and seeding. These could add an extra $7100000 to the total build cost.

  • Mobilization costs
  • Layout and staking costs
  • Erosion control costs
  • Land clearing and grubbing costs
  • Rock blasting costs
  • Earthmoving costs
  • Landscaping costs
  • Seeding costs

Land Costs

One of the major outlays when building a golf course is the land acquisition. Buying the land can cost between $2087000 and $3479000 depending on the location and size.

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Typical 18-hole golf courses require 140-180 acres of land but flat lands will need additional costs for soil transport to create the required slopes. Moreover land costs can vary from state to state across the U.S.

As with any other construction project having the right permits is essential. Acquiring the land is just the first hurdle.

The size of the project determines other cost factors such as the design and construction fees the method of constructing the greens and the cost for creating the desired obstacles and features. For example designing a Par 70 or 71 course instead of a standard Par 72 can save costs and increase play speed.

Design Fees

Design fees form a critical component of the total cost of building a golf course. On average design costs for a golf course range from $200000 to $500000.

Factors influencing these costs include the complexity of the project the design philosophy of the golf course architect and the experience of the design collaborators. Typically renowned designers charge higher fees due to their expertise and reputation in the industry.

There is also a variety of costs related to design prerequisites like environmental principles compliance strategic planning and approval permits. A detailed design plan minimizes potential challenges and costs in the actual construction phase which includes elements such as forest or fairways closes hazards and fairway angles.

Construction Costs

The bulk of the golf course construction expense is the construction cost. On average construction costs for one hole can range from $50000 to $200000 translating to a total cost of $900000 to $3600000 for a standard 18-hole golf course.

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The overall construction cost is influenced by several factors including:

  • Land conditions – costs can vary significantly depending on the nature of the site. For instance building a golf course on flat land may require transporting soil to create slopes leading to higher costs.
  • Construction method – the green construction method contributes significantly to the cost. Advanced methods that increase the course’s durability and lifespan can drive up costs.
  • Size of the greens – a larger green typically costs more due to the increased volume of materials used.

Specific construction elements such as mobilization irrigation systems bunkers cart paths lakes water features seeding and planting grass and trees also contribute significantly to the total cost. More luxurious features like a clubhouse exponentially raise the costs.

Building A Profitable Golf Course

The total cost of constructing a golf course varies significantly and hinges on numerous factors. Some of these include acquiring the 120-200 acres of land necessary for an 18-hole course the design fees and various construction expenses.

The average expense of building a standard golf course in the U.S. ranges between $3000000 and $8000000.

Post-construction owning a golf course can be a profitable endeavor if building expenses are managed effectively. Successful golf courses have the potential to generate millions in annual revenue and profit especially with the sport’s growing popularity as indicated by the 3.2 million people who took up golf in 2021.

Land costs for a golf course can vary greatly usually ranging between $2087000 and $3479000 based on the size and location of the land. Designing a golf course can also be expensive with costs running from $200000 to $500000.

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Furthermore constructing a single hole can cost anywhere between $50000 and $200000 bringing the total expense for an 18-hole course to anywhere from $900000 to $3600000. Consequently the approximate cost for building an entire 18-hole golf course is somewhere between $3187000 and $7579000.

Building a 9-hole course might be a more economical option as it typically costs about half of the estimated cost for a standard golf course. Moreover it requires a considerably smaller land area.

A smaller and less expensive option however is building a par 3 course with the cost per hole estimated between $30000 and $50000. This type of course can be built with a lower investment and if situated in an area with sustainable demand can prove to be a valuable investment.

The eligibility for profit also rests on the golf course’s location. If the area has a strong demand—a higher number of active golfers—the opportunity for higher revenue and profitability increases.

For this reason strategic planning and assessing demand are paramount in ensuring the golf course’s success.

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