February 1, 2013

A Wide Range of News

The Rockford Park Indoor Sports Center in Loves Park, Ill., is adding golf to the assortment of indoor sports it already offers. The massive, 124-acre sports facility recently opened its indoor driving range for golfers who don’t want their game to get cold during the inclement Illinois winter months. A clinic program on Monday afternoons was immediately added to the facility’s programming. The Indoor Sports Center and adjacent outdoor sports fields offer more than 32 playing venues including soccer, football, volleyball, indoor golf, basketball, in-line hockey, badminton, adapted and wheelchair sports, rugby, football and inline hockey… Just to the southwest in Romeoville, Ill., Mistwood Golf Club is putting the finishing touches on the Mistwood Learning Center – also helping golfers, and their games, stay sharp when courses are closed. Inside the learning center will be rooms for a variety of needs.

Hitting balls, video review, shot monitors, and a putting center are in the design. What some golfers will enjoy is the short walk back to a full bar in the learning center, only steps behind the hitting line …. Legal scholars and bankruptcy lawyers are commenting briskly on a recent court decision about driving range revenues and green fees. It all stems from a decision by the bankruptcy division of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the West Coast jurisdiction of the U.S. appellate system. The case pits Far East National Bank against its debtor, Premier Golf Properties LP, the owner-operator of the 36-hole Cottonwood Golf Club outside San Diego. A loan of $11.5 million was funding Cottonwood golf operations, but inability to service it led to a Premier Golf bankruptcy filing–during and after which the range fees and green fees continued to flow. The lender claimed them as collateral, but Premier challenged that seemingly logical claim–and won.

The Ninth Circuit found that, under Sections 363 and 552 of the Bankruptcy Code (using jurisprudence that would take too long to explain here) the debtor’s income from the range and greens fees is not properly cash collateral for the lender…. Research firm IBIS Worldwide, which since 1971 has provided research and analysis of various American industries, released an updated report on the “Golf Driving Ranges and Family Fun Centers” industry in 2012. The sector reportedly grew in 2012 at the slight average annual rate of 0.3% to $9.3 billion. The industry, which includes recreational and amusement services like golf driving ranges and go-cart racetracks, is on a rebound after down years from 2009 through 2011. “Reduced spending began to reverse in 2010 as some of the fears surrounding the economy subsided,” the report notes. Further, there is headroom for growth in this sector as the costs increase for families to enjoy competitive venues like amusement parks and waterparks.

One of the biggest new gadgets in extreme sports is a little camera called GoPro. It’s a highly durable device that can be attached virtually anywhere. The proof is astounding video footage of dirt bikers riding with GoPro attached to the their handlebars, of surfers catching totally gnarly waves with it attached to the end of their surfboard and of ski racers bounding down the slopes with the camera latched firmly to their helmet. Well, a few golfers have caught wind of the idea and have taken to YouTube, using GoPro in some interesting ways. Most are attaching it to their hats during the swing, allowing those watching the video to view the golf swing through the eyes of the person hitting the ball. Some have even attached it to the shaft of the club in such a way that you can follow the clubface throughout the entire swing. If you’re a golf instructor, you’re well aware of how important video is when it comes to lessons these days—this provides a new angle on camera footage of what happens when Joe Golfer takes a big rip.