How Much Does It Cost To Build A Golf Course?

by Alvin Daniel
How Much Does It Cost To Build a Golf Course

If you have been considering building your golf course, chances are that the first question weighing on your mind is how much it will cost to get the job done. The reality is that constructing a golf course requires a lot of resources and expense – from planning and engineering to wetlands impact studies and environmental surveys; there’s no avoiding it.

But don’t worry – while creating a beautiful, championship-caliber course may cost more upfront, there are some ways to optimize cost while still producing an amazing result. In this article, we’ll cover all the details needed to determine how much money you should budget to bring your golf dream to fruition.

 

Overview The Cost of Building a Golf Course

Building a golf course can be an expensive endeavor, and the project cost will vary depending on the type, of course being built. Below is an overview of the different types of courses available, along with estimated costs for each: 

  • Executive/Pitch & Putt Course: An executive or pitch & putt course typically consists of 9 – 18 holes ranging between 80-150 yards long. This type, of course, requires minimal land space, and maintenance costs associated with them are relatively low; estimates put the development cost at around $5 million. 
  • Regulation Course: A regulation 18-hole championship golf course typically has six par threes, 6 par fours, and 6 par fives; the average hole length is about 450 yards. This type, of course, requires more land space than the executive/pitch & putt course and therefore has higher maintenance costs associated with it. The development cost for a regulation course can range anywhere from $10 million to over $100 million depending on several factors, such as the quality of the design, land ownership rights, soil composition, and environmental permits. 
  • Private Course: A private club typically features 18 holes of championship golf that are exclusive to members only. It may also feature additional amenities such as a clubhouse, swimming pool, tennis courts, or other recreational activities. Development costs for this type of course often exceed $20 million due to higher land acquisition costs and additional amenities being included in the overall project.

The cost to build any type of golf course will vary depending on several factors such as the course’s size and location, design quality, land ownership rights, soil composition, construction cost such as drainage system, building bunkers, fairways… environmental permits, etc. 

How Much Does To Build a Golf Course

Overview The Cost Of Building A Golf Course

In addition to development costs, it is important to consider ongoing maintenance costs associated with a golf course that can add up over time. 

In summary, factors that go into the cost to build a golf course you need to consider include:

  • Cost Of The Land
  • Construction Cost
  • Design Cost
  • Maintenance and Upkeep Cost
  • Other Expenses

Now, you want to know more in detail how much these factors cost to complete a golf course.

Keep rolling to explore the best part below!

 

Calculate The Cost of The Land

When calculating the cost of constructing a golf course, one of the major elements to consider is the cost of land. 

The type and quality of land will depend on the type and size of the golf course you want to build. For example, more expensive land may be necessary for a championship-level course with 18 holes, ample terrain changes, and lush landscaping. 

The standard 18-hole course requires around 150 acres – 200 acres, while the 9-hole needs 70 – 100 acres to build the whole course, including a clubhouse, driving range, practice greens, and course.

how much do golf courses cost to build

How Much Does Build A Golf Course Cost?

The cost of land for building a golf course can vary widely, depending on the location (urban versus rural areas), size, and type of land as well as the features it offers, such as soil quality, drainage capabilities, and potential environmental risks or restrictions… Generally speaking, it is estimated that approximately 35% to 50% of the total cost of constructing a golf course will be devoted to land acquisition. 

For example, purchasing an existing 18-hole golf course in Volusia County, FL, with 160 acres of varying elevation changes, may cost upwards of $11 million dollars or more. When buying raw land in Texas without any existing improvements made to it, the average price can range from as low as $4,000/acre up to much higher amounts if there are significant resources, such as water or timber, that add value to the land. In addition, costs associated with clearing and grading of the land can be quite expensive, ranging from $700 to $6000 per acre depending on its condition. 

 

Design Cost And Construction Cost

There are many factors that go into the cost of designing and building a successful golf course. These include architectural design fees, construction materials and labor costs, cart paths, irrigation systems, grass selection and installation costs…

Architectural design fees usually comprise the second largest portion of a golf course budget. A reputable and experienced designer will be able to incorporate existing features of the land into the design, helping to ensure that construction costs remain within budget. 

The average cost for hiring a golf course architect is about $350.000 – $500.000. If you intend to hire a renowned architect, the price is much higher than this number.

Construction materials and labor can range from moderately expensive for basic courses to very costly when building more complex courses with multiple water features and bunkers. 

The estimated labor cost of a construction crew with the appropriate equipment will range anywhere from $6.00 to $25.00 per square foot, depending on the complexity of the design and the number of earth-moving machines required.

Some popular materials needed to build a golf course include sod, soil, gravel, and sand, as well as plants and trees for landscaping purposes. An estimated calculation points out the cost is around $200,000 – $400,000 based on the size and landscape complexity of a golf course.

At the beginning of the project on raw land, removing and clearing some obstructions on the land to prepare for building the course also cost a part up to $300.000. Besides, relocating and shaping the soil may come to around $1,5 million.

how much does building a golf course cost

How Much Does It Cost To Build A Golf Course?

Drainage requirement is an important factor to consider in golf course construction. Proper drainage will help ensure that the turf can survive and maintain its playing conditions throughout the year, even during rainy seasons or heavy storms. Runoff systems may include culverts, drains, retention ponds, and other on-site work to keep water flowing away from greens, bunkers and fairways. Costs for drainage systems can range anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000 or more based on the complexity of the design. 

The green construction method is essential to reduce environmental impacts. It costs around $500.000 when constructing a golf course.

Grass selection and installation are key factors in the success of a golf course. Depending on the climate, grasses like bent grass, ryegrass, overseeded, or perennial are chosen for fairways, while tees can use Bermuda, Zoysiagrass, or paspalum. The cost of grass installation will vary depending on the variety chosen and local labor costs.

For example, bent grass and installation will cost around $2500 per acre, while zoysiagrass will cost around $1000 per acre. 

 

Maintenance and Upkeep Cost

The cost to control erosion on a golf course depends largely on the project scope and type of erosion control measures necessary. Erosion control can range from $0.20-$3.00 per square foot, depending on the size and complexity of the project. 

Irrigation systems are essential for any successful golf course and should include a combination of surface irrigation sources such as lakes and streams combined with underground pipes, sprinklers, pumps, and tanks. Depending on the size of the project, estimated costs could range anywhere from $5000 – $8000 per acre.

how much does it cost to build a golf course

Cost To Build a Golf Course – Install Irrigation Systems

The cost to manage turf on a golf course can range from $0.50 to $2.00 per square foot, depending on the type of grass chosen and the level of maintenance required to keep it healthy. Additional costs could include fertilization, aerification, overseeding, topdressing materials, and other related products or services necessary for proper turf management. 

 

Cost To Build Each Part For The Course

The estimated cost to build each part of a typical 18-hole golf course includes:

  • Tee boxes – $50,000-$70,000 each
  • Greens – $300,000 – $900,000
  • Bunker – $1,500-$10,000 each
  • Lake And Water hazard construction– $90,000-$200,000
  • Greenside cart paths –$2,500-$15,000 each
  • Fertilizer and seed costs – up to $700,000
  • Clubhouse – $300 – $700 per SF
  • Driving range – around $200,000 – $500,000.

The cost of building a golf course can vary greatly depending on the specific requirements of each individual project. For example, the terrain and soil type, as well as the size of the green and the complexity of its features, will all contribute to the overall cost. Additionally, building in an area with extreme climates or difficult access may require additional investments in specialized equipment or construction techniques.

how much does build golf course cost

How Much Does Building Golf Course Cost – Installing Bunkers

 

A Look At The Economy – Are Golf Courses Worth Investing In Nowadays?

The golf industry has been suffering in recent years, with many courses closing due to a lack of interest from the younger generations. Despite this downturn, there are still those who believe that investing in a golf course is still a worthwhile endeavor.

In terms of the economy, building and operating a successful golf course can be quite lucrative; some estimates put the potential return on investment at 10%-15%. Additionally, a golf course can offer its owner multiple revenue streams, such as tee times, pro shop sales, and food & beverage.

Furthermore, a golf course is a great way to attract more people to an area. With the right marketing and promotional tactics, a golf course can be used as a draw for potential customers or clients who may be interested in other services offered by the owner.

FAQs

How Long Does It Take To Build A Golf Course?

The timeline for building a golf course can vary greatly depending on the size and complexity of each individual project. On average, it takes between 1–2 years to complete the entire process from land acquisition to construction.

What Is Included In The Cost Of Building A Golf Course?

When calculating the costs associated with constructing a golf course, there are numerous components to consider. These include land acquisition, design and construction costs, maintenance costs, financing options, and costs for each part of the course, such as green, fairway, bunker… and more.

What Are Some Tips To Optimize The Cost Of Building A Golf Course?

When budgeting for the construction of a golf course, there are several ways that you can optimize your costs. These include researching local labor costs, choosing the right grass type for your climate, investing in irrigation systems and soil relocations, and opting for green construction methods. Additionally, it is important to have a clear understanding of all the components that go into building a golf course so that you can properly budget for each item.

How Many Acres To Build A Golf Course?

The size of a golf course can vary greatly, but typically the minimum acreage needed to build a standard 18-hole course is between 125 and 200 acres. Additionally, some courses may require more land, depending on the specific features and design.

How Much Does It Cost To Build A Golf Green?

The cost of building a golf green can vary depending on the size and complexity of its features. Generally, it costs between $300,000 – $900,000 to construct one green. Additionally, the installation of the grass type chosen and local labor costs will also affect the total price. 

 

Conclusion

The cost of building a golf course can vary greatly depending on the type of course, size, location, and other factors. It is important to research potential costs associated with each feature and component thoroughly in order to optimize the budget for your project. Additionally, understanding local labor costs and green construction techniques will help ensure that your golf course is built efficiently and within budget. With careful planning and preparation, you can create a golf course that is both enjoyable and profitable.

Author

  • Alvin Daniel

    Hello everyone, I'm Alvin Daniel. I was born in the Philippines and came to the United States when I was 16 years old. I started playing golf at that age and have loved it ever since. I turned professional when I was 21 and have been working as a golf instructor and guide ever since. My goal is to help everyone know more about this great game of golf. And, hopefully, through my instruction, they can improve their skills and enjoy the game even more.

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