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Can you Imagine Bobby Jones as a Real Estate Mogul?

Recently I read a letter written by Bobby Jones, the most heralded amateur golfer in history, addressed to a publicist

Mrs. Green Warren of Atlanta Georgia. I am certain that Bobby Jones did not intend the letter to be used to give real estate or business tips.

However, the letter tells bits and pieces of how a successful project came to be—Peachtree Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia. Construction of the course began in 1946, and is today considered one of the most prestigious courses in America. Success leaves clues, and I think some of the same business principles applied by Bobby Jones to create Peachtree Golf Club can be effectively applied to your next commercial real estate search.

Paragraph #1) “One point which I think you might want to emphasize is that all of us were determined in the beginning not to undertake the construction of this course unless we had a piece of land which afforded us the opportunity of building a great course.” – Bobby Jones on Peachtree Golf Club

Real Estate Takeaway #1): Unless you find the right real estate site, do not move forward with the plan.

Paragraph #2) “At this time John Chiles became interested with us and the four of us began to look for a site on the north side. We combed Fulton County on topographical maps and inspected several pieces. Your knowledge of the rugged character of the land in North Fulton County will enable you to appreciate that it was quite a job to find a piece of ground large enough, without intersecting roads, which offered the gently rolling terrain necessary for a good course.” – Bobby Jones on Peachtree Golf Club

Real Estate Takeaway #2) Assemble a team. If Bobby Jones needed a real estate team, you probably do too. You are likely going to need a contractor, banker, broker, investor(s), engineer and architect.

Paragraph #3) “Many courses are built on much less land, but we considered it important that we have ample room between fairways and ample opportunity to lengthen the hole should there be any change in the driving power of the golf ball. The size of the tract also enabled the architect to play up and down valleys rather than across hills and so minimize the burden of climbing for us old men.” -Bobby Jones on Peachtree Golf Club

Real Estate Takeaway #3) Build for today, but leave room for tomorrow. In 1947, Bobby Jones and his team noticed how quickly the golf ball was advancing. Unlike many courses, it is not found to be obsolete today because there was enough room for the course to expand and keep up with technology. The golf ball changed what is needed for golf course real estate. Likewise, if you are developing a building, study each component used by the tenants that will be occupying your building. How are these components progressing and changing? Might it affect what is needed by tenants in the future?

Ben Goforth
Commercial Real Estate Broker
Windsor/Aughtry Company

WAC

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