Three Connecticut golf courses hit the market

18-hole courses struggle to remain viable

Three Connecticut Golf Courses Hit the Market
(Photo Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal with Getty)

Winter may be descending on New England, but several Connecticut golf courses have been teed up for sale in recent months, potentially joining a trend of golf course closures seen in the United States over the past 15 years. 

The courses in Torrington, East Granby, and New Milford are attracting attention from real estate professionals amid a resurgent interest in golf following the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hartford Business Journal reported.

Allen DePuy, a vice president with real estate services firm Colliers International, said the potential in the sale of the Candlewood Valley Country Club in New Milford and Copper Hill Golf Club in East Granby lies in valuable redevelopment land. 

He noted that Candlewood offers nearly 158 acres and zoning allowing for various business uses, while Copper Hill, an 83-acre nine-hole course, is presented as a historically strong cash-flowing property with potential for alternative uses under its zoning, including single-family homes.

In Torrington, the Eastwood Country Club, a 50-acre nine-hole course is listed along with an adjacent undeveloped 46-acre parcel for $4.3 million. The property is seen as a grand-scale redevelopment opportunity that could blend recreation, residential, or commercial development.

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Despite a decline in the number of U.S. golf courses over the past century, experts note a recent upswing in interest fueled by the pandemic. The National Golf Foundation predicts a 3-percent increase in active golfers in 2023, reaching 26.4 million players. 

Golf professionals in Connecticut have worked to make courses more welcoming, leading to a 40-percent increase in 16- and 17-year-old golfers nationally since 2019, along with a 28-percent rise in minority golfers and a 23-percent increase in female participation, the outlet reported.

While Connecticut has about 170 golf courses, with a stable number since 2008, about a dozen have been put up for sale during that period. 

Despite increased interest in golf, the U.S. is projected to lose 100 golf courses in 2023, marking the smallest decline since 2005. The recent trend indicates that golf courses, especially those with 18 or more holes, are exploring development potential to remain viable.

Real estate professionals, such as Mike Goman, principal of East Hartford development consulting firm Goman + York, suggest a middle path for courses to sell off surplus land for residential development, allowing for the sustainability of a nine-hole course. 

— Ted Glanzer

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