Many states have tax relief programs that golf courses can usually qualify for that allows the land to be taxed based on value in use (as a golf course) versus the legal mandate of fair market value (value in exchange). These programs essentially create a win-win situation by lowering the real estate tax burden on golf courses, allowing them to continue in use as a golf course. For the jurisdiction the benefit is keeping a large area of well-maintained open, green space.
The programs are labeled differently in the states. For example, Pennsylvania has a “Clean and Green” program. Maryland has a state mandated “preferred land” status upon approval of the application. All but two jurisdictions in Virginia allow use value under an “open space” designation.
These benefits can be significant and can be in perpetuity. Recently one course in Virginia applied for and was granted use value and the assessed value of the land went from $1,486,200 to $417,246. Golf course owners should consider taking advantage of these tax relief programs.