Hilda Allen has become such a pillar in
the golf industry that it is hard to believe
the namesake of Hilda W. Allen Real
Estate got into the ;eld by accident.
Allen, a former schoolteacher, moved
into real estate in the 1980s and transitioned into golf in the 1990s when a bank
asked her to sell a course. Nearly 25 years
and more than 1,000 golf course sales
later, she is one of the most active golf
course brokers in the industry and the
most respected auctioneer.
Specializing in luxury and resort
courses, Allen has brokered more than $1
billion in golf-related sales. She estimates
that 98 percent of her work is golf-course
related, but she also sells timberland and
farmland. While the years since the recession have been more challenging, 2015
was a good one.
“It’s been much better this year,” she
said. “Prices have increased. In terms of
sales and the overall picture, people are
feeling a little better, but some are still try-
ing to come out of the dump from the bad
economy over the last eight years.”
While there is still some level of distress
in the market, it has certainly lessened,
Allen said, and 2016 is already looking
good for the Macon, Ga.-based broker.
“I have about ;ve deals under contract
that are ready to close in 2016, so I’m feeling good about it,” she said.
One of her top deals of 2015 was the
sale of Bear Creek Golf Club in Hilton
Head Island, S.C. Famed golf course
architect Rees Jones designed the 18-hole,
“Bear Creek was member-owned and
built as a very high-end golf community,”
she said. “We worked with the seller, who
had to get voted on by their committee
and members. We were selected as one
of four bids, and from what I understand
they are very happy.”
Allen requires due diligence by the sell-
ers prior to introducing them to potential
“I think you have to have a quali;ed
seller as well as a quali;ed buyer, and
that’s why we try to do that,” she said.
Allen has said no to potential deals
when the terms weren’t right.
“I have walked away from more deals
than I sold this past year, because they
just wouldn’t work,” she said. “Sometimes
it’s cold, hard facts. Either they owe too
much or they want too much. So that is
why we screen our sellers and our buyers.”
Lately, the motivation behind the sellers she has worked with has ranged from
retirement to a change in location.
“[It can be] retirement or if they’re
member-owned, they’re aged out and
they want someone to take the reins. It’s
an exit strategy,” she said. “Some people
want to change their location, so if they
have courses up north, they’re buying
them down south to have year-round sea-
Next on her list is the sale of the
Achasta community and golf course in
Dahlonega, Ga., which includes a Jack
Nicklaus Signature 18-hole golf course,
single-family residential lots, duplex lots
and undeveloped land.
In 2014, she was the ;rst woman to be
added to the Georgia Auctioneers Hall
of Fame. She was also the ;rst female
Georgia Auctioneers Association president in 2001.
“It was very exciting,” she said. “;e
next year they elected another woman, so
they are opening it up.”
Every year in the industry has le; Allen
with a new lesson. ;is year, she learned
to be more cautious.
“I learned that it’s not over until it’s
over,” she said. “Don’t cash the check until
you know it’s closed.”
She has a team of seven people, but
Allen still takes the time to oversee every
transaction. ;ough she typically sticks to
the Southeast and mid-Atlantic regions,
Allen is willing to travel for the right deal.
“I’ll go anywhere,” she said. “If I’m not
licensed there, I have a;liates who are.”
Hilda Allen is always on the move, having brokered more than
$1 billion in golf-related sales. BY LAIRA MARTIN
Achasta Golf Course,
The busiest woman in golf