Despite exclusive ZIP codes and high fees, many Charlotte country clubs saw tax values fall
Charlotte’s private golf clubs collectively sprawl over hundreds of acres, in some of the most affluent parts of the city.
But when Mecklenburg County released new property values Friday, many of the city’s country clubs saw their values go down.
- Quail Hollow in south Charlotte, one of the city’s most exclusive clubs, hosts the Wells Fargo Championship each year. It will also host the PGA Championship* in 2025. It saw its tax value fall from $13.5 million to a little under $10 million.
- Charlotte Country Club in Plaza Midwood? It fell from $18.8 million to $12.3 million — a more than 30% decline.
- Carmel Country Club’s value fell by more than 25%.
- Piper Glen fell by more than 50%, from $10.7 million to $5.3 million.
The drops come at the same time homeowners are facing steep increases in their valuations, which rose an average of 58% countywide. Local elected officials still have to set the tax rates, but regardless of how they do, residential property owners will pay a greater share of the overall tax bill for the city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, as the value of commercial property grew more slowly.
Mecklenburg assessor Ken Joyner on Monday defended the lower country club valuations. He said the county worked with a consultant who specializes in private golf courses.
Joyner said the consultant and his assessors looked at the club’s ability to make money, rather than, say what the fair market value of the club’s land would be if it were sold. Nationwide, some clubs have struggled to attract new members over the last two decades.
“You have to look at the overall income viability of the operation,” Joyner said. “With Quail Hollow, it doesn’t have a significant number of members, and a significant revenue stream.”
Joyner said the club’s ability to attract events like the Presidents Cup is “helping keep that course as profitable as it is.”
WFAE couldn’t reach the club’s organization Monday.
The notion that clubs like Quail Hollow could be hurting seems counterintuitive. The club’s initiation fees are reportedly $100,000, with monthly dues of $800, according to Golf.com. Plus, there’s the real estate: Quail Hollow sits on 260 acres of prime land, off Gleneagles Road. Homes adjacent to the course — but now owned by the club — sit on lots that are nearly one acre in size. The assessor has estimated the value of those lots is upwards of $2 million.
The entirety of the club is valued at less than $10 million.
Joyner said his office looks at the “highest and best use” of land when making assessments. That means if you own a weedy, undeveloped lot in Myers Park, the assessor’s office considers the “highest and best use” of that land (likely a pricey house) rather than simply looking at its value in its current state.
But he said country clubs have often placed restrictions on their property, prohibiting it from being used for anything other than a golf course.
“It would take a special vote of the board of directors to dissolve the course,” Joyner said. “That would be very public.”
He added: “We are looking at the bottom line of what that golf course is worth in its current state.”
The tax values for country clubs are not broken out by the value of the land and the value of the clubhouse. Joyner said they are all lumped together.
Some golf clubs in Charlotte have closed over the past decade to be redeveloped, as growth in the game stagnated. The Waverly mixed-use development south of Providence Road and Interstate 485 was built on the defunct Charlotte Golf Links site. Ballantyne Corporate Park closed its nine-hole course and replaced it with a park and event space that now hosts outdoor festivals.
And this year, some saw clubs saw their values stay flat, or even increase.
Myers Park Country Club, which recently renovated its clubhouse, saw its value remain at $16.5 million.
Raintree Country Club in south Charlotte saw its value increase by 30%, from $8.5 million to $11.3 million.