From the Washington Post:
"It wasn't long ago that real estate developers could build a golf course community and collect a $30,000 premium from customers who might not have even played golf, but aspired to the country club lifestyle.
Not anymore. Projects have been put on hold or canceled because potential buyers are no longer willing to pay extra, can't qualify for a mortgage or can't sell their homes to trade up. Courses that were too far along to stop are struggling to find customers.
'People just can't afford the luxury of a country club. It's become much more aspirational,' said Marc Montgomery, a developer who opened his third Washington area golf course community this summer. Like the other two, River Creek in Virginia and Cross Creek in suburban Maryland, his latest, Oak Creek, is the centerpiece of an exclusive luxury community. He has brought in a company from Pennsylvania to manage the golf operations but, he said, 'it's hard to spend $12 million [on a course] and make it back at $50 to $100 a round.'
'If you don't have enough people buying houses fast enough, it's never going to work,' Montgomery said.
Sixty to 80 percent of people who live in golf communities don't play the sport, said Edward T. McMahon, a senior resident fellow at the Urban Land Institute in the District. Now that mortgage lending has tightened up and potential buyers are more price-conscious, 'all of a sudden, the whole math changes,' he said".