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UNITE HERE Local 11 Research Brief: As Golf Booms During COVID-19 Pandemic, JC Resorts Loses San Diego-area Woods Valley Golf Course Contract

·3-min read

Firm also faces three upcoming municipal contract expirations

In 2018, JC Resorts’ Chief Golf Officer John McNair told the Orlando Sentinel, "We need less golf courses, and that’s the bottom line. It continues to be the root of the problem. We probably need five or six more in San Diego County to go, and maybe another 20 in all of Southern California."i

Click here for the research brief regarding JC Resorts’ golf operations.

But during the coronavirus pandemic, as consumers have fewer options for indoor recreational activities, golf has experienced a renaissance. A January 2021 CNN headline read "Golf is booming because of the pandemic."ii In December 2020, the Las Vegas Review reported that the "Popularity of golf continues to surge despite COVID,"iii and the San Francisco Chronicle wrote, "Golf's pandemic surge rivals the Tiger Woods boom. Will it last when coronavirus eases?"iv

Whether the pandemic will fuel future success for JC Resorts is not known. The firm has lost management of three Southern California golf courses over the last three years, and its courses in Carlsbad, Encinitas and Escondido are up for renewal over the next two years.

As detailed below, JC Resorts lost management of one course to a competitor in November 2020, one following the sale of the course it owned in January 2018, and one following the closure of the course in July 2018 due to rising water costs. According to the firm’s website, the last management agreement JC Resorts gained was for the Los Serranos Golf Course in Chino Hills in January 2018.v

All three of JC Resorts’ municipal contracts expire over the next two years. Its contract to operate the Crossings at Carlsbad expires in February 2023 but may be terminated without penalty or cause after certain notice is provided to the Its contracts to operate courses in Escondido and Encinitas expire in June 2022.

The Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes—where JC manages the prominent Links at Terranea—continues to face a highly public, prolonged labor dispute. The resort declined to sign a labor peace agreement and has over the last several years has faced picket lines and protests, as well as a women-led boycott organized by UNITE HERE Local 11 and supported by the California Democratic Party, Feminist Majority Foundation, and California NOW, among others

Click here for the research brief regarding JC Resorts’ golf operations.

UNITE HERE Local 11 is the union of more than 32,000 workers in hotels, restaurants, airports, sports arenas and convention centers in Southern California and Arizona.

i "Golf course closures say less about sport, more about a difficult business," July 30, 2018,
ii "Golf is booming because of the pandemic," January 3, 2021,
iii "Popularity of golf continues to surge despite COVID," December 1, 2020,
iv "Golf's pandemic surge rivals the Tiger Woods boom. Will it last when coronavirus eases?," December 26, 2020,
vi Carlsbad City Council Agenda, January 16, 2018,

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Jordan Fein