Friday 24 November 2017

Developers' interest in golf clubs remains strong

Moorpark Golf Club
Moorpark Golf Club

Donal Buckley

Increased tourism numbers and a nationwide membership drive by the Confederation of Golf in Ireland has helped to keep golf properties open for players despite the efforts of some developers and farmers to acquire the properties at knock down prices.

In the last few months a number of properties have sold or gone sale agreed and some of them attracted bids from other prospective users.

Another test of this market will be seen on 14 October when Moor Park near Navan goes for auction. Chris Smyth of auctioneers Quillsen is guiding €750,000 to €800,000 for the 113 acre, 18 hole, par 72 course suggesting about €6,800 per acre. Located at Follistown and Morrell, Co. Meath, it is about three miles from Navan and convenient to the M2 and M3 motorways.

The dream come true of a nurse who wishes to keep a low profile, she bought the Moor Park land over 30 years ago when she knew nothing about golf. The dream was inspired years earlier when, as a student nurse, she visited an English golf course and was so impressed with its serenity and tranquillity that she determined to recreate that ambience near her native Navan.

Now after years when hundreds of golfers shared in her enjoyment of her freehold "pay as you play" debt-free Moor Park course, she has decided to retire from the business. The property comes with a 157 sq m bungalow residence which requires simple refurbishment, and which is currently being used as office, changing rooms. Moor Park also has the attraction of extensive road frontage to Navan/Kenstown Road.

Meanwhile recent sales of golf properties are progressing. Among those to have gone sale agreed is the nine-hole Ballinascorney Golf Course and clubhouse at Kilmashogue, Rathfarnham, Dublin 16, on 99.4 acres. JLL had been asking €2,475,000 for the property which is split between 39.4 acres which are being rented by the club and 60 acres which are in farming use. The quoted price suggests €24,800 per acre Ballinascorney was formerly part of developer Bernard McNamara's portfolio.

A Wicklow golf enthusiast is about to complete a deal to buy Rathsallagh Golf and Country Club Limited with its 18 hole course on 274 acres at Rathsallagh, Dunlavin, Co Wicklow. Joint agents Ross Shorten of Lisney and Paddy Jordan had been asking €1.35m.

The guide price appears to have been pitched at around €5,000 an acre to entice farmers who might have to spend a similar amount per acre to restore it to farm use.

Its acquisition by a golf enthusiast spells good news for the O'Flynn family as the course will continue to attract golfers to their adjoining Rathsallagh House Hotel which was not for sale.

In Kerry, the Beaufort course has been bought back by the McGill family who had sold it to a local development company Galvin Properties. Joint agents Savills and Tom Spillane, acting on behalf of receiver Gearoid Costelloe of Grant Thornton, had sought in excess of €2m for Beaufort. Located near Killarney, the 235.77 acre property included 153.32 acres devoted to an 18 hole, par 71 GUI affiliated course. The other 83 acres are prime agricultural lands with good road frontage and were available with a guide of about €9,000 per acre.

The developer had intended developing a golf resort and had built and roofed a four storey shell structure for a hotel before the property crash.

It has been reported that McGill family are retaining it as a golf course.

A deal is also expected to be finalised in the near future for the five-star Castlemartyr Resort in Co Cork, for which Tom Barrett of Savills had been guiding €13m.

Featuring an 18 hole inland links course designed by Ron Kirby, the sale includes the 103 bedroom hotel, 19 golf lodges and one mews house.

Meanwhile Denis O'Donoghue of Savills says he is open to offers for the Dundrum House Hotel Golf and Leisure Resort in Dundrum, Co Tipperary, for which he had been guiding €2.75m.

Dalata Hotel Group has been operating the hotel on behalf of receiver Kieran Wallace of KPMG. Its three-star accommodation includes 67 bedrooms, conference facilities, leisure centre, pool as well 16 self-catering holiday houses, six apartments and an 18-hole championship golf course. The overall complex is set on 170 acres suggesting a price of about €16,000 per acre including hotel and lodges.

In contrast an 18 hole par three course, the Spawell in Templeogue, Dublin 6W, was sold a few months ago for more than €260,000 per acre to an investment fund managed by Davy stockbrokers.

Dessie Kilkenny of Savills had been quoting in excess of €9m for the 34.45 acre property which has planning permission for a 149-bedroom hotel and leisure centre. Yet another factor influencing the price was its rental income of €604,516 from 12 tenancies including a bar/restaurant.

The development potential of suburban courses has been re-awakened with the rise in development land prices and at least one possible developer swap. Castlepark Building Company, which developed Harbour Court apartment complex in Dun Laoghaire, has made an approach for the 127 acre Greystones Golf Club offering to relocate the club from the Burnaby area of the Co. Wicklow town to Bellvue Hill in Delgany where Castlepark has planning permission for a course designed by Robert Trent-Jones Jnr.

Castlepark spokesman Conor Whelan of Quadrant Real Estate said that no figures have yet been talked about. "We hope to make a presentation to members before the end of the year to see if they have an appetite for a move and if they have we will then look at possible figures," he added.

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