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Margaritaville (I've Bought A Golf-Course!)

Johnny boy

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Let's play a round. Just played today and shot a 96. So I shouldn't be too awful to play with lol.
 
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JtBreeze

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Great thread... they have some golf courses in Ohio where I'm at for sale for about $700k. I wish I had the capital to jump on one of those opportunities. Seems like it only took 2 years before you became profitable with the course. That's awesome!
 

Antifragile

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Let's play a round. Just played today and shot a 96. So I shouldn't be too awful to play with lol.

All wrong… the best person to play with is me. I play so bad, I make everyone else look good. Better yet, it’s entertaining for the spectators. Just saying…
 
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Ing

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Well... The winter season has progressed very well for us. I'm still having fun 4-wheeling in the desert. I have 2 trips to moab, a trip to Wyoming and Montana planned this spring/summer. Mostly to visit family but with fun built in.

All the issues that I talked about through this thread have been primarily solved. We have a great mechanic that keeps our equipment and pumps in shape. We basically purchase a couple of big ticket items each year.

The muck that was plugging up the sprinklers had been reduced to a maintenance program. Turns out that the protozoa was growing in the "wet well" portion of the irrigation system. We maintain it with chlorine and similar chemicals.

We have owned the course for about 4.5 years now. For the first 2.5, I worked 7 days per week from 4:00 am until after dark. Got a lot of issues resolved. Then I got sick.

The last 2 years I have had to work on my health. I developed diabetes and the dizziness/nausea problem discussed earlier.

Went through different diet iterations to get the diabetes under control. I am currently eating a high nutrition diet that does not include any processed foods. The result has been great as I was able to get off of the insulin injections. Was shooting 28 units of insulin a day into my stomach. Now none, and the blood sugar is staying under control.

The next hurdle is with the nausea. After 2 years, 3 doctors, and many doctor visits, I may be zeroing in on what is going on. Someone suggested that I go see a chiropractor. It was cheap enough so I did. He found that my head was not on straight. Literally... The skull and top couple of vertebrae were seriously out of alignment. He made the adjustments and I felt great for a few days afterward.

I have been 4 times with similar results. What may be happening is that the blood flow to the brain is being reduced. Not sure yet though but have a battery of tests coming up to look at the area.

The golf course will be paid off in September so there will not be any mortgage payment.

Looking forward, I don't plan on jumping back in on the heavy workload. My efforts will be on planning and cost reductions. Time to finetune the income and expenses.
Sadly I read about your medical issues for the first time. I hope you ll recover. Its shocking for me, every house has its problems.

Btw . I love your Gold project. Still black numbers dur to Covid?
 

SteveO

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Sadly I read about your medical issues for the first time. I hope you ll recover. Its shocking for me, every house has its problems.

Btw . I love your Gold project. Still black numbers dur to C0VlD?
Thanks for the kind words.

I don't really know what the problem is yet. I just know the symptoms. Been going on for years. I get something that resembles nausea but it has a feeling like just being uncomfortable all over. Lots of dizziness and sometimes lose clarity with the brain.

I suspect it is in my neck. I go to a chiropractor and physical therapist once a week and massage every other week. I frequently leave the physical therapy feeling ill and have thrown up in the parking lot a couple times. All he does is work on loosening the vertebrae from the skull.

I have used 8 different doctors at this point. None of them seemed to take a lot of interest. One recommended psychiatric treatment and another told me it was all in my head. A few others just wanted to medicate me.

My primary care has recently gotten on board with it being a neck problem and has setup more testing.

I'm still living a quality life though. Other than working less, I'm still doing a lot of things and having a blast. So, don't feel bad for me. This will get resolved at some point.

The financials for the golf course have taken a big hit. Most of our income is from winter visitors. Hardly any came down last winter. We were in the hole a couple hundred thousand this last year. Counting on things opening back up for the Canadians soon. We have money in savings so I'm not worried at this point.

We still have the best golf course in town. The other golf courses are really scaling back their expenses. We only did a light scaling back and are maintaining our focus on keeping it great.
 

SteveO

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Great thread... they have some golf courses in Ohio where I'm at for sale for about $700k. I wish I had the capital to jump on one of those opportunities. Seems like it only took 2 years before you became profitable with the course. That's awesome!
That is correct but we don't take a lot of money out. There is an endless supply of projects that can be done. Constantly improving.

Golf courses are notoriously difficult to finance.

Good luck.
 
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Bigguns50

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One recommended psychiatric treatment and another told me it was all in my head.
HA! I knew it! I told my wife you are a bit craycray! I mean, all you have to do is watch one of your off-road vids. LOL. I believe you will get through this for certain. Pain, whether physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual, is a great teacher. Can't wait to see how you grow from this when you come out the other end.

7 canyons gold.jpg
7 canyons golf.jpg20210910_101020.jpg

I had a meeting here yesterday at 7 Canyons Resort and thought of you. They're still selling and building houses. They've sold out.
 

SteveO

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I had a meeting here yesterday at 7 Canyons Resort and thought of you. They're still selling and building houses. They've sold out.
Wow... That looks like a $300 plus per round golf course. Talk about views!
 

Mattie

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We have owned the course for about 4.5 years now. For the first 2.5, I worked 7 days per week from 4:00 am until after dark. Got a lot of issues resolved. Then I got sick.
You ever tested whether the water was contaminated or something in the water is making you sick. Chemicals, poisons, pesticides, bacteria, or whatever. This is just a thought.
 
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SteveO

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I am fully licensed as a commercial applicator for the chemicals we use and take all the safety precautions. The lakes are another story. We receive treated effluent water but the water company is well known for cutting corners.

My heart is as strong as they come. I maxed out the stress test last year. I automatically have my heart tested every year due to diabetes. Heart is good though.
 

Bigguns50

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Wow... That looks like a $300 plus per round golf course. Talk about views!
Oh yea. Very high-end. While visiting, I walked up to that overlook and thought. I thought about your course where you took a desert landscape and made something beautiful. They took a beautiful landscape and made a golf course and high-end housing. Being so connected with nature, I was saddened by the development. Your course on the other hand feels good.
 

MJ DeMarco

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Let's play a round. Just played today and shot a 96. So I shouldn't be too awful to play with lol.

That's pretty poor.

I shot a 81.

And I'm sure if I kept going and played the Back 9 I'd beat that 81. :rofl:
 
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SteveO

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Been a while since an update.

We raised our prices this year. Although we have a lower round count, our income is up. That is desirable because cart traffic and other wear factors take a toll during the winter months. The plan was to keep the players that are willing to spend for quality. Seems to be working.

My maintenance superintendent retired at the end of 2021. We replaced him but quickly released the new one. So I am back to filling that role.

I hired a couple extra workers and gave out some decent raises. Using a couple of the crew members to run parts of the crew and take on new responsibilities. Don't know how this will work out yet.

The medical issue was fixed about the same time that the manager retired. So I'm able to work again.

Four years of significant discomfort disappeared in one day. I said in another post some period of time back that the problem was gone. It was only temporary. At that point, I still did not know exactly what was wrong but it went into a lull.

The problem was the atlas was out of place and was cutting off blood flow to the brain. Was also pinching nerves that were affecting other parts of my body. The doctor tapped it back into place. Instant relief.

I have to go back in on occasion to have it realigned. We are working on muscle strengthening as a long term fix.

This guy specializes in this issue and treats a lot of patients for this. Funny how it took nine doctors and four years to find the solution.

Anyway, I'm very enthused and energized at the moment. Really want to make a significant impact at the course.

Looking like revenue will be up this year. Spending also. Let's see which one wins. My costs are going through the roof!
 

Rabby

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I hired a couple extra workers and gave out some decent raises. Using a couple of the crew members to run parts of the crew and take on new responsibilities. Don't know how this will work out yet.
This seems like an effective strategy of late. I've seen similar things in other industries. Between better pay and having a few extra hands, if nothing else, you don't have to close things down as much. If at all. Over a period of months, if you're the one who's open, and other people are closing (or barely functioning) because they run on a demoralized skeleton crew who might be there, or might call in sick this week... well, we can all imagine where the business goes.
 

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@SteveO ... I am SO happy you are doing better with your health. In my experience, your doc is spot on especially with strengthening the muscles to support the skeletal system. Super important. You're going to feel like a new man!

The plan was to keep the players that are willing to spend for quality.
Love this! I also raised my prices to focus on the market I want to serve. I've done this over the years with different products. I keep adding value and it gets to a point where I feel the prices are just too low for the high-value product they get.

Looking forward to your health and professional progress!!
 
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Antifragile

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awesome, happy to read your update @SteveO ! Glad your health is fixed. It’s so important. And glad that in inflation time you raised prices to keep up with quality.
 

MJ DeMarco

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Anyway, I'm very enthused and energized at the moment. Really want to make a significant impact at the course.

Great to hear this and that your health has improved, and updates?

Tell Ms. Shannon I said hello.
 

SteveO

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We decided to do an overhaul of the golf course.

One of issues we deal with here in the desert is warm and cold season grasses. The majority of our play comes during the winter. Our summertime bermuda grass goes dormant with the cooler temps. The grass basically looks like straw and stops growing during the months of December and January.

So, 99.9% of the golf courses in the desert overseed with winter rye. The cost of this is around 150k each year and rapidly rising. Weather changes up in Oregon and Washington are resulting in less seed availability.

Through some research and the hiring of a consultant that specializes in the subject. He recommended that we install an expensive grass on a couple greens and fairways. The idea is that the grass uses less water, handles wear and tear better and does not need to be overseeded.

It still goes dormant but for less time.

In my infinite wisdom, I decided to do the entire course at once.

Some issues came up as we evaluated this process. The primary obstacle is that with the slow growth would lead to much faster greens during the winter. Our greens have way too much slope and undulations. They would become unputtable and we would not have enough locations to place the holes without dramatic wear and tear.

The solution to that is to enlarge the greens and change the slopes.

The fairways are much simpler. The issue with them is that we direct the cart traffic off into the rough while trying to get the winter grass established. This caused our rough to wear out significantly and angered our customer base. They would need to park off the fairways and walk to their ball for about a month.

The solution is to install a different type of turf and widen them out. This turf uses 30 to 40 percent less water and does not wear out as bad. With this and no overseed, the traffic would not need to be redirected.

There were some areas on the course that trapped water and were frequently muddy. They would get torn up and cause grief for the golfers on occasion.

We decided to fix these areas as well. It involved a lot of tractor work, tearing out grass and running new sprinkler wires and pipes. Fortunately, I had purchased a large backhoe to build a road for a property that I was developing and have been able to use it for this project. The golf course has a tractor, but it is not near as powerful as the backhoe.

We also needed to take out a bunch of large trees for the fairway expansions. I got a quote of 30K to do this, so we decided to remove these ourselves.

Another issue is that our customers like to see the nice, lush, dark green winter grass. We will solve this by using dyes. The dye will serve a couple purposes. It will keep the course looking lush, but it will also retain heat and allow the grass to regenerate a bit more during the winter.

The transitions from the grass changings have been such a crazy ritual. We fight like crazy to get the winter grass established. By the time that it really starts to look good, we are applying chemicals to take it out. It will overpower the summer grass and take a lot of it out. Then we spend the summer trying to grow it back. The entire process never seems to make sense.

Thanks to advancements in the hybrid grasses, we seem to have evolved to the point of being able to change this. Our town in Yuma has a slightly warmer winter climate than the rest of the desert. This change over makes more sense for us. We are one of the early adopters of this and are a bit of a Guinea Pig. I get a rush out of this type of challenge and feel strongly that I can make it work.

We have a couple of contractors that are reshaping out greens and tee boxes. We chose not to hire an architect to direct the changes in the greens. I feel that we have a strong batch of expertise on our side. This is all the greens shapers do. Our general manager has been a main player in the development of a couple of golf courses. He is driving the changes and shapes of the greens.

Because of the major changes on the greens, the irrigation has to be completely redone. I am driving that along with one of our irrigators. The crew did not want to take on the massive changes with the irrigation. They wanted us to contract it out. I told them to put their big boy pants on and get to it. We are also making a major change to the controls for the green's irrigation. I want individual controls for each sprinkler head. They are currently setup for three heads per station. I want each to be on their own control. So, we are running many more control wires from the greens to the satellite controllers.

Our schedule calls for seven weeks to make these changes. Half the maintenance crew is working on this. They are working valiantly and are on schedule. Hopefully the stress and pressure will not get to them too bad. It is getting to me a bit. 110 degrees out here right now. Probably 600 feet of trenches for pipes and wires so far.

Running a golf course has never been easy. Low margins and lots of work to do. This project will either be a feather in my cap or not.

We are about 1/3rd of the way through this. I will post a few pictures when I get a chance. Seven days a week for me right now.
 
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ZCP

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And if it doesn't, it will make some nice slides in your next presentation .... can add it to the cat tail list!
 

SteveO

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And if it doesn't, it will make some nice slides in your next presentation .... can add it to the cat tail list!
Took an ungodly number of hours but the cattails are gone!
 
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Last edited:

SteveO

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You read the whole thing and summarized it well.
Excited about your progress SteveO! If your idea works it should save/make you good money with less seasonal stress.
 

GPM

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Wow Steve! Always an adventure.

Another option would be to start a golf course up here, it would be under snow half the year and you would not need to worry so much!
 

SteveO

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Wow Steve! Always an adventure.

Another option would be to start a golf course up here, it would be under snow half the year and you would not need to worry so much!
We have thought about that. Big turnover in employees that way. But the break would be nice.
 
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MJ DeMarco

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At lease there will be no bed bugs, eh? ;)
 

Bigguns50

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@SteveO ... I love this. I'm all about efficiency and maximizing time and profit and making things the best for customers. Are any of your competitors doing this or are you the 1st to use this type of grass and specific watering system?
 
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SteveO

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@SteveO ... I love this. I'm all about efficiency and maximizing time and profit and making things the best for customers. Are any of your competitors doing this or are you the 1st to use this type of grass and specific watering system?
The city golf course is spending 100k to analyze the possibility.

I am definitely the first and likely the only one.
 

SteveO

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At lease there will be no bed bugs, eh? ;)
Gophers were harder to deal with. They chewed the insulation off of miles of sprinkler wires. We killed 2500 in a 4 year period. Now we kill about 10 per year as they try to come back.
 

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