franks only — NFTs, DAOs, and GOLF

What we want

The franks need a place to play golf. We need a place that doesn’t force the old, exclusionary, white-collar culture. We need a modern golf and social club for the franks to hang out, watch golf, talk golf, imbibe, and ultimately play golf.

What we know

Golf is expensive, exclusive, and not always the most welcoming or forgiving. There are numerous barriers to entry, and even once you do get into the game, it’s difficult to improve and find places to play. Public golf courses have become increasingly difficult to get tee times at, and private courses are becoming more and more unobtainable. With extremely high initiation fees, high monthly dues, monthly/quarterly minimums, assessments, exclusive waitlists, and limited access for younger members it’s very difficult for young golfers and families to get access to decent courses and facilities.

Golf course monetization

In an ideal world, the golf course is 100% autonomous and self-sufficient. It would be able to support itself through profits on food and beverage, lodging, merchandise, events and secondary sales royalties from our NFTs. There is massive potential with these royalties, and opportunity for us to offer secondary, tertiary, etc. NFT collections, and use the proceeds for the club. However, we would like to consider the potential reality in which NFTs lose popularity and we are forced to consider alternative methods. There are a couple options for us to consider as the project grows.

Greens fees / monthly dues

This is a more traditional country club and golf course model, and something we want to try our best to avoid. However, it would provide immediate capital to handle our monthly operating costs, which start the moment we make a purchase. Early NFT adopters would be granted lesser fees or dues. We would also work to implement more inclusive models, such as NFT punch cards, that would provide discounted rates for a number of pre-purchased rounds, with guest privileges.

Guests, Outings, and events

  • Guest fees
  • Golf outings
  • Corporate/public events
  • Weddings

franks only merchandise

The franks only pro shop (virtual and at the club) will have exclusive merchandise for our NFT holders. This is where we can also start to expand. We would like to limit access to the online pro shop to NFT holders only, with special access given to our initial franks only NFTs. As we release more NFT collections, access will be given after initial drops, and for a subset of merchandise available to all NFT holders.

Typical country club organization

A typical country club usually votes in a board of directors to uphold the club’s by-laws and drive and advise on the overall direction of the club. The general manager of the club then reports to the board of directors, in the form of a weekly board meeting, and carries out the requests of the board using the underlying organization of managers and staff. The general manager also uses this time to report on the overall status of the club and bring up any issues or outcomes from the previous week. An average structure may look something like this:

typical country club organization
  1. Does one person (general manager) want to have 10,000 bosses?

How we can better organize our golf club

Starting at a high level. In our model, the board of directors would be replaced by our DAO, a decentralized autonomous organization (more on this later). Voting rights will be established via ownership of our NFT, and subcommittees with specific interests will be able to be formed and submit proposals to the larger DAO.

Lean and mean

At a bare minimum, we see our golf course needing at least two leadership positions at launch.

  1. Director of Golf and Operations (held jointly by the two founding franks)

Outsourced golf course management

Operations like Troon and ClubCorp offer outsourced golf club management options that we could use to run the operations of our club. This would offer top-class service and operations from the very beginning of the project. This does come at a cost. Contracts will have to be entered into between our organization and theirs and profit sharing will be in place. There are smaller scaled and more flexible management operations that we could partner with, but, at the end of the day, we’ll be tying ourselves to another organization. This isn’t something the founding franks are interested in, but should be discussed as a potential option.

Starting a golf course is expensive

After consulting multiple firms who specialize in golf course projects (from empty properties to renovation/revitalization projects), here’s what we can expect if we were to build a 36 hole, par 72, championship style golf course:

  • Expect to spend anywhere from $4–6mm per golf course
  • $25–40mm for facilities (clubhouse, practice areas, maintenance, equipment, lodging, food and beverage)

A better model

The current private golf courses are set up on antiquated bylaws, and run by an appointed board and committees, who ultimately answer to the membership. Decisions come from a central source, and most of these seats are filled with people out of touch with the current game. On top of that, some of the oldest and most exclusive golf clubs have endowments large enough to buy most of the golf courses in their respective states and not even blink an eye. Because of this, change in the current model is very difficult and very slow.

A few ideas

When it comes to purchasing or building a golf course and social club, there are quite a few options for us to consider. Here are a few ideas to get us started.

The six hole course

A 12 hole course with six hole loops is a really interesting idea. Potentially, we could get creative with the routing in a way we could still play 18 unique holes. Think large shared fairways and greens with multiple tee boxes. The massive benefit here is that you can accomplish an interesting and playable golf course on a fraction of the amount of land and capital necessary. We also think the 12 hole round could be a revolutionary new take on golf. No more 4–5 hour rounds. This idea could be built from scratch or built using an existing golf course infrastructure.

Purchase an existing course

It can’t be overlooked that going from something to something great is much easier than going from nothing to something. That said, there are potential issues with purchasing an existing club depending on the location and current state of the golf course. Massive renovation projects can sometimes be more expensive than starting from scratch and depending on the state/city/county certain renovations and expansions will be subject to current permits, zoning, and regulations. These limitations can be massively limiting and should not be overlooked as we start our new club.

One hole at a time

Considering the funding necessary to build an entire golf course and golf course facilities from scratch, one model that is particularly interesting is to start very small. As in, one hole at a time. By building one hole with three tee boxes to start, it would allow members to start playing much sooner than if we were to build out the entire project from scratch. One clever hole with three tee boxes allows us to play three holes of golf. Once the first hole is complete, you build two more holes, with three tee boxes per hole allowing you to play a nine hole loop. You continue to expand until you have all 18 holes. Shared fairways and greens is another possibility (or necessity) with this model, as well as another potential cost savings mechanism.

Empty property

Carte blanche. Clean slate. Empty canvas. This is without a doubt the most difficult and expensive option, but also the most flexible. Purchasing a completely empty property would give us total creative freedom, and potentially provide an easier path for zoning and permitting. This would also take the most time (and potentially money).

Potential roadblocks

Some of the biggest issues we’re going to have to look out for are with regard to regulation and zoning. A lot of existing courses will be subject to specific zoning by the county, city, or even state, which will dictate what will and will not be feasible. If we were to purchase an empty property, we would have to obtain permits and proper zoning to be approved by the county in order to even start building our project. There are also numerous conservational regulations that golf courses are potentially applicable. None of these issues are insurmountable, however they are issues that will complicate things and the community should be made aware of as the project progresses.

How are we going to pay for this

Our initial NFT sale for the franks only project will generate ~3000 ETH, which at the time of publishing this document would equal ~$12mm. The team has decided to put 80% of the initial sale towards the club. Of the 80%, we will escrow 50% of the initial sale to cover legal fees, startup costs, and ultimately taxes. The NFT space is still in its infancy and there aren’t clear answers on regulations and liabilities. The team wants to make sure that we’re not broadsided by a large bill before we even get started. We hope that not all 50% will be necessary and plan to redistribute whatever is left over back into the project. The remaining 30% plus will go directly into the project to help get us started. This will be first used to fund events, tournaments, gatherings, merchandise, and ultimately the franks only golf club. The last 20% will go to the team for their time and efforts to start and build the project.

What exactly is a DAO, and why a DAO is potentially a bad idea

When we started this project, we were, and still are, convinced that a golf course would be a great fit for a DAO. To ensure this, we think it’s important to argue both sides, and illustrate what this could or could not look like.

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frank

frank

IRL private golf course where membership is granted through a franks only NFT. we’re building a real golf course for the franks. NOW MINTING https://franks.golf