One of the most profitable golf clubs in America, Augusta National, has been slowly buying property in surrounding areas of the course. Over the past 15 years, Augusta National paid $55 million to acquire about 100 acres, house by house. Homeowners in surrounding areas were skeptical to sell their houses to the course over the years, but most were happy to sell when home prices skyrocketed in the area. The median home in Augusta was recently selling for less than $100,000. Since the course began recent renovations, homes near Augusta National’s main parking lot sell for a median of $1 million. Although the course has kept their plans for the acquired land quiet, many speculate the possibility of the land being used as a buffer, to emphasize the exclusivity of the club.
In addition to expanding Augusta National Golf Club’s borders, the club sought out extra parking due to high traffic during the Masters. In February, the golf club paid $8.3 million for a 9.8-acre apartment complex, which the course confirmed will be used for parking. The club also strives to improve traffic in areas near the club.
In order to advance the widening and realignment of Berckmans Road, which runs along the Augusta National’s property line, the golf course will give the city of Augusta an interest-free loan. In this deal with the city, Augusta National will fund the $20 million project, and the city will pay the club back with a 1% regional sales tax. The road will be finished come the Masters in 2016, and fans will benefit from less traffic and a pedestrian walkway between parking and the club. Residents in the area are excited for the abundant changes, but are also aware that the golf course will continue to expand over the next 10 years, and will probably not get to see changes up close.