I am not sure if during the creation of a private country club the owners think about the time that will come when the clubhouse would need to be rebuilt. If they are not, maybe they should. Even a commercial building or residence has to be torn down and rebuilt eventually, why would someone feel country club clubhouse would not?
How Long is Too Long?
Normally, a generation covers a span of 25 years. That would seem like a good period of time to be planning for a clubhouse rebuild. Now, for clubhouses built like castles or have a classic design, maybe they can go 35 years or more. But what about clubhouses almost fifty years old that were mediocre at best in their styling and their construction? Wouldn’t 50 years be long enough for the full life expectance of a poorly built building? Many country club owners do not feel this way and are going to start losing members for not thinking of the future.
For the next ten years private country clubs are going to have a very tough time recruiting younger members. Especially if their facilities are worn out, outdated or poorly constructed. It is unfortunate, but newer more modern country clubs are going to be the clubs of choice by the next generation of country clubbers. If there are no new clubs in an area..well, the younger generation will find something else to do with their money.
Who Should Foot the Bill
On the other edge of the sword is the cost country clubs will incur from building new clubhouses. Who will pay those costs? New members are not going to be interested in paying an increase initiation fee and the current members who have put up with the old clubhouse long enough are more than likely not going to be interested in paying an assessment to have the clubhouse built. If push came to shove on forcing members to pay an assessment in this economy I am sure the club’s ownership will probably find a lot of members resigning and the beginning of some very long expensive lawsuits. In either case, the country club will not be the winner.
Finding the funds for building a new clubhouse will be a challenge. Many clubs will have to find investors or borrow money to have the clubhouses built so it does not increase the member’s club due. In this financially ruined economy obtaining loans for the amount of money needed to build an adequate clubhouse to meet the member’s needs will be impossible to do. So where will the funds be found?
In most cases private country club’s ownership is held by investment groups. Its clear these investor groups or country club owners who have invested funds will be who will have to fork over the millions of dollars it will take to have a decent clubhouse built.
More than likely this move will force these groups of investors of aging country clubs to make a decision. Either sell out their country club as is for a lose or pony up more funds for a new clubhouse so to shore up their investments for a better sale later. The smart move would be to make the second choice and sit tight for three more years to recoup the funds from the increase revenue from the overwhelming push of new members wanting to join.
There will be lots of decisions private country clubs will have to make in the near future, if they are not already making them now, that will make a change in how country clubs are seen today. One can only hope they make the right decision.