The business: In 1921 on the Big Island of Hawaii, an avid golfer convinced a rancher to let him carve out three holes of golf on a pasture. Early players dodged cattle as they tried to sink balls into holes made from coffee cans. Today, the Volcano Golf & Country Club stretches over 154 leased acres of land that boast 6,547 yards of playing area, a temperate year-round climate, and spectacular views. The surrounding Kilauea and Mauna Loa mountains are part of Volcano National Park, and Mauna Kea is also nearby. Two of the three mountains are active volcanoes, and Kilauea has been continuously erupting since 1983, but the lava has so far flowed away from the links.

The course is considered semiprivate, which means it has a few members and welcomes tourists. Golf revenue makes up 60 percent of sales, with a restaurant and pro shop providing the rest. Even though the course spent only $7,500 on advertising in 2006, the total number of paid rounds increased to 32,000 last year, up from 25,000 in 2001. The owner, Shigeyuki Tachibana, bought the business more than 20 years ago. Now he wants to retire and move to Japan, where he was born. He says he will donate a small portion of the proceeds of the sale to a nonprofit that provides educational resources to indigenous peoples, including native Hawaiians.

The Asking Price: $3.95 million for the par-72, 18-hole course; a lease that can be extended through 2044; the clubhouse and other buildings; $35,000 of pro shop inventory; and various vehicles and equipment. The owner seeks an all-cash deal.

Price rationale: Perhaps banking on the business's inherent glamour, the asking price is high for a cash deal with no real estate included. The valuation formula for a public course would suggest a price of $3.75 million at most.

Pros: The greens are in good condition. The neighboring national park draws one million visitors each year. And this is the only course that offers players these amazing views; the next closest course is 30 miles away.

Cons: A new owner will be required by lease to invest $520,000 in upgrades by 2014. Refurbishing the restaurant to offer dinner--it is currently a casual breakfast and lunch spot--could further run up the tab.

Outlook: Given the hefty future capital requirements, this deal is strictly "for the person who loves golf, wants to own a course, and wants to live in Hawaii," says Tom West, author of the 2007 Business Reference Guide.

EBITDA* Total rounds of
golf played
2004 $1 million $42,205 24,500
2005 $1.2 million $153,237 30,900
2006 $1.4 million $194,342 32,000

*Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.

Inc. has no stake in the sale of the business featured. The magazine does not certify the accuracy of financial or other information provided by the seller. To learn more about the business, go to Inquiries should be directed to David Coleman at WisdomSource Knowledge Management Solutions (808-985-8996 or