Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Week That Was, march 27, 2016

     Naturalizers may nowadays be winning all the most coveted golf commissions, but there’s still plenty of life in “signature” architecture. Here’s proof: Hollis Cavner and his partners have hired two members of golf royalty, Arnold Palmer and Annika Sorenstam, to add some pizzazz to Tartan Park Golf Course, a fading complex they’ve purchased from 3M Company. Tartan Park, in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, currently has 27 holes, but when it reopens next year, as the King & the Queen, it’ll have nine Palmer-designed holes and nine Sorenstam-designed holes. “They epitomize the respectful, family-focused nature of this timeless outdoor sport,” Cavner said in a press release. “The spirit they bring to the game and their work will continue to have a huge impact on future generations who get to experience the new Tartan Park.” Like others who understand the value of “signature” designers, Cavner and his partners plan to build houses on part of their 480-acre property.

     A few weeks ago, Donald “the Candidate” Trump made an off-handed comment about golf -- he called it “small potatoes” -- and Eamon Lynch immediately crossed his fingers and began hoping that those words might signal the Republican front-runner’s imminent exit from our industry. In a post on his website, the former editor of Golf.com practically begged for Trump’s departure, calling him “a blustering vulgarian” whose “incoherence and immodesty” make him “ill-suited to a gentleman’s game.”
     Sadly, this is just gentlemanly wishful thinking. For the record, here’s what Trump said about the golf business: “I don’t care about that stuff anymore. It is like small potatoes, right? I’ll let my kids run it, have fun with it, let my executives have a good time, but I don’t care about it. I care about making America great again.”
     Okay, we get it: These days, Trump has bigger fish to fry. If the truth be told, though, he’s exaggerating his role in the Trump Organization’s golf operations. His kids, Eric in particular, have been effectively running Trump Golf for years. Today, Trump basically has one just job, although it’s one whose value shouldn’t be underestimated. He’s the face of the franchise. He shakes the most important hands and closes the most critical deals. He walks and talks almost exclusively with major power.
     And while I won’t dispute Lynch’s conclusion -- “If he has forsaken us, well then he can at least be said to have made golf great again” -- I have to admit that Trump is right about golf being small potatoes. Equity funds may now be buying golf properties and golf-management firms may be far larger than they used to be, but at its core the golf industry is still made up of hundreds of mom-and-pop companies. Last year one of true powerhouses in our business, the golf and country club division of ClubCorp, posted revenues of $842.6 million. To put that number in perspective, the #500 company on the Fortune 500 posted revenues of almost $5.2 billion. The #1000 company posted revenues of more than $2 billion.
     However much Lynch might wish for it, Trump loves golf too much to walk out the door anytime soon. In fact, given the resilience he’s shown on the campaign trail so far, he may come back stronger than ever.

     The world’s wealthiest people are by and large made in the USA, and their numbers are going to grow. At the end of last year, Knight Frank counted 187,468 ultra-high net-worth individuals on the planet, with the largest number of them -- 65,713 -- here at home. China (13,013) checks in at a distant number two, followed by the United Kingdom (9,968), Japan (6,448), and Germany (9,310). Over the next decade, Knight Frank’s Wealth Report 2016 predicts that the greatest growth among UHNWIs -- people with $30 million or more in net assets, not including their primary residences -- will take place in the United States, which is expected to see an increase of 19,714, to 85,427. Next in line are China (an increase of 9,760, to 22,773), India (an increase of 6,321, to 12,341), the Russian Federation (an increase of 3,847, to 9,190), and the United Kingdom (an increase of 2,990, to 12,958). Other nations that are expected to see significant increases among UHNWIs: Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, Mexico, and Brazil.

     For those who understand the importance of following the money, here’s one final note about the Wealth Report 2016: Knight Frank identifies 21 cities that are home to at least 1,000 UHNWIs, a group led by New York City (5,600). The rest of the top five: London (4,905), Moscow (3,457), Los Angeles (2,820), and Singapore (2,360). The rest of the top 10: Beijng (2,073), Taipei (2,062), Tokyo (2,035), Chicago (2,030), and Zurich (1,754).

     Robert Trent Jones, Jr. has often enjoyed comparing golf architecture to jazz and other forms of art, and now he’s comparing it to wine production. “Golf is like wine,” he recently said. “It’s pleasure, you are socializing, you are sharing, and you work from the land.” Okay, maybe he’s stretching a bit, but Jones was spreading cheer on behalf of this year’s Ryder Cup, which will be decided at Hazeltine National Golf Club in suburban Minneapolis, Minnesota. Jones’ legendary father designed Hazeltine’s golf course, and Junior designed the label for the event’s official wine.

No comments:

Post a Comment