Planning for the capital purchases of a golf course is often bigger than golfers realize. Recently Golf Course Owner Guy was meeting with an individual who over heard me discussing the purchase of a new golf course mower. I would call this individual a very casual golfer at best, and he told me about the new house he was purchasing on a ¾ acre lot just outside Appleton.
He deduced from my conversation that I might be selling my old mower to make room for the new one, and he asked if he could buy it, to mow his new yard. I said “Kevin, you don’t want one of my old mowers, you don’t understand”. I told him the mower we would be getting rid of was still pretty expensive. I went on to tell him the economics. A new rough mower costs $55,000 a new fairway mower $45,000, and a new greens mower $35,000. I can’t afford any of that… so I buy used.
Far From Unlimited Capital
I buy things that have 25% to 30% of their life used up, but I have a great mechanic. The used mowers I buy, come to me in the $18,000 to $30,000 range. Still too much for a lawn mower, right? And oh yeah, I need more than one if your 144 player event is going to shotgun at 8:00am on a perfectly manicured golf course.
Somewhere in there, Kevin thought I had a slightly bigger version of the mowers you can buy at Lowes, and he was hoping to take it off my hands for $800. Kevin, let’s go for a ride. That afternoon, I gave Kevin a quick tour of our maintenance building, I think his jaw nearly hit the floor. He forever understands that taking care of a golf course takes big money and big logistics, and the mower he needs… won’t be found here.
People tell me, this is what they love about my Tales From The Tall Grass. Operating a golf course is so misunderstood. Everyone has awesome suggestions, and in a way, everyone is right. But there is only so much money, so much manpower, so much weather to pull it off. When people are educated about golf, their expectations fall closer in line to the realities. A simpler way to the say the same thing…Augusta is not a benchmark, they are an outlier. Ponder that for awhile.