Golfer wins lotto, buys struggling home golf course
By mustang6560 on 5/15/12
A retired golfer in La Porte City, Iowa hit the jackpot in the Iowa Lottery and decided to help his struggling home golf course by buying it.
Markham, 65, who retired in 2011 after 36 years at John Deere in Waterloo, netted about $3.5 million after taxes in an Iowa Lottery Hot Lotto drawing in November.I view Mr. Markham's purchase of La Porte City Country Club as an act of generosity. $3.5 million is not chump change by any stretch of the imagination, however, it's missing a zero or two to be a true game changer. With average golf course operating costs between $500,000 and $1 million per year, Mr. Markham must have spent a fair amount of his winnings to keep the club alive, which doesn't leave a lot for personal use. And that is generous.
Image via Flickr, Lisa Brewster
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And that my friends is why most lottery winners are worse off in 12 years on average after winning. If the course was struggling before his investment, how does he think it will maintain after it? That's just putting make up on a corpse.
Your point about the majority of lotto winners is true, however, you never know with this particular situation. The "upgrade" may be just what the course needs to attract new members and keep the current ones.
For years I've said that if I ever won the big bucks (one of these 100 mil+ lotteries) that I would buy my home course a new irrigation system and redo all the cartpaths. Now with the recent greens debacle I would add sod to redo the greens as well. Actually I guess I would spend the money on a membership(s) at a really nice course
Torleif Sorenson says:
Mr. Markham obviously has not purchased the course on a lark; he has plenty of "local knowledge" that a business-owner needs to plan for success. If I get to do my long-awaited road trip, I am *definitely* detouring to the Waterloo area to play that course - just for the moral support!
The guy is retired so winning the lottery was a bonus which he then used help the community.
Bryan K says:
I disagree, Golfsmith. This bloke bought a business that he is hoping to turn around. That is an investment, and I wish him luck. My experience in business tells me that most small businesses fail because of lack of capital. Most of the remaining small businesses fail because of a lack of business sense by the owner(s). The way I look at it, any small business can succeed if it has both of those two pieces in place. Judging by its location, about halfway between Cedar Rapids and Waterloo right off of the interstate, there really should be no reason why he can't succeed there. It should be noted that the bloke who just purchased it was already offering volunteer time to help with maintenance and upkeep. The only thing really working against him here is the fact that it's a nine hole course.
A nine hole course?... what a dummy. Kind act and to each his own i guess. I mean it says he invested most of his winnings and used a portion to buy the course so its not like he blew it all on the crappy 9 hole course.
Bryan K says:
From what I've gleaned of the situation, he has spent about as much money fixing it up as he spent on it initially, and he hasn't spent a million on it yet.
It also looks like the golf course has the only convention center within a 30 mile radius (Waterloo would be the closest).
Plus, land values in that part of Iowa are skyrocketing. I think this bloke knew what he was getting into.
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