Residential Estate Industry Journal 4 - Page 38

GOVERNANCE ESTATES OF PLAY THE BUSINESS OF GOLF….. PUTTING TOGETHER THE PIECES STEENBERG ESTATE WHILE THE GAME OF GOLF WAS UNDERGOING THE EVOLUTION THAT SAW FUNDAMENTAL CHANGES IN EQUIPMENT, ESPECIALLY WITH THE GOLF BALL AND CLUB SHAFTS WHICH MADE THE GAME MORE AFFORDABLE, OTHER CHANGES WERE ALSO TAKING PLACE. I use the word “unusual” in that the required To many developers (whose focus is, not ROIs will generally mean that any land unnaturally, on property sales), a golf earmarked for a golf estate development course is seen as a very attractive package will have a significant percentage of the through which to market and sell the area proclaimed being considered to be development itself. A full-time professional golf tour had be a prime example and one where a developed, the club golf professional became separated into a section distinct from those professionals who played tournament golf full time, and then television turned professional golf into a largely “useless” for any other purpose. This renders the argument, from the “green lobby”, that golf course construction always consumes prime land quite redundant. Eagle Canyon in Johannesburg would developer’s involvement concluded. the needs of the developer in the sales golf estate. stages of a project, either through greed, For many of the original pioneers in these Shifts in lifestyle expectations, especially and the advent of the golf estate. once the stands had been sold out and the There are too many examples where group when it came to both purchasing two cars, the arrival of the shopping mall course, as an integral part of the estate, into a successful and vibrant residential developments, the expectation was that focus, which prompted the “need” to have legacy aspects of how to sustain the golf disused quarry was turned from an eyesore major spectator sport. after World War II, were also coming into In the past, little thought was given to the golfers would be a very significant interest unrealistic expectations and/or poor financial modelling, have not been in step with the longer-term needs of the golf course and its related facilities. properties and using the facility. This problem was then aggravated by With the benefits of hindsight, certainly of golfers who would purchase and take in South Africa, therein lay the seeds to problems with the provision for maintenance overoptimistic projections about the number up residence at the new estates. What transpired was that a significant In terms of the latter I am not sure which and upkeep of the golf course that would development can rightfully claim the title come home to roost a few years down of being the first golf estate in the world, the line. at golf estates did not in fact play golf. Since the middle 1980s there has been borne out by the international average on but certainly the first of its kind in southern Africa was Selborne Park in KwaZulu-Natal. something of a boom in golf-related majority of the residents and homeowners This unexpected statistic was subsequently this ratio, which put the numbers at about The developments at Selborne were unusual, developments, and one of the key financial as they moved the estate away from its problems that can be faced by estate golf original function as a working dairy farm residents at estates with a golf course as courses lies in the original structure of the into Denis Barker’s dream of a residential the centrepiece. Added to this generic factor “business” relationship between the property golf estate. are regional considerations in addition to developer and the golf facility. the desire to have a “fairway view” (well, PAGE 36 75:25 in favour of the non-golfers as