More and more builders are looking at golf courses, but instead of thinking about getting their clubs out, they're wondering if the courses are the best use of space.

Properties that are home to failing golf courses have been seized upon by developers, especially in northern New Castle County, where large open spaces are a rare prize, the Wilmington News Journal reported.

Homeowners who live next to golf courses don't like the idea of their green view being replaced by somebody else's house and yard, naturally. But for golf course owners, selling out can look pretty attractive.

Five of the 10 golf courses on private property north of the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal are being developed or have been targeted by builders. Clubs downstate are feeling similar pressures, but the greater availability of buildable farmland makes golf courses less of a draw for southern Delaware developers. The idea is fueled by struggling golf operations statewide, part of a national trend of country club memberships floundering and courses closing.

"It gets pretty enticing when someone waves money in front of you and says, 'You can continue to operate this club at a loss or I will give you this much money for this property because I can develop it,'" says Bill Barrow, executive director of the Delaware State Golf Association.

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