Golf has enjoyed a minor renaissance in the U.S. during the pandemic—after all, it’s an outdoor sport, and it’s relatively easy to keep socially distant while playing. But it’s still not as hot as the warehouse boom.
As investors hunt for industrial properties tethered to e-commerce, developers are buying golf courses and converting them into space for warehouses. A languishing course is often the largest tract of unbuilt land for miles around, and there are plenty of them. As the jump in golf’s popularity driven by Tiger Woods in the early 2000s fades, scores of courses are closing each year. “When Tiger came on the scene, everybody started building golf courses,” says Chris Gary, executive vice president at real estate firm NAI Hiffman, who built a golf facility in the Chicago area earlier in his career. “There was a surge in interest, and they basically overbuilt.”