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Making The Right Golf Community Decision

For golfers, choosing to buy a home in a golf course community might seem as easy as swinging the club on a fine spring morning. Over 2700 golf course communities have been built across the United States, with more anticipated each year. With over 26 million golfers in this country, builders clearly have a ready-made clientele for homes designed with a view of the greens. But golf course communities have an appeal for buyers who are not avid golfers, too. Many people enjoy the country club lifestyle, the view of the manicured lawn and the fact that they own property backing to land which won’t be developed with more homes or shopping centers. While making the decision to move into a residential development designed around a beloved sport can be easy, golfers and their families may find that picking the right community can be complicated.

Often the first consideration when choosing a community will be location. While many people assume golf course communities are for retirees, most are built as multigenerational developments which appeal to young families as well as aging ones. For families with children, a big concern is always the local system. Local real estate agents can direct families to web sites with information and statistics on school districts. Older couples and singles may prefer to live in an age restricted community with other residents in their age group.

Obviously being within commuting distance of a job is important, too, and many developers are designing golf course communities within driving distance of major metropolitan areas. Potential golf course buyers should also consider whether they prefer living in a rural or suburban location. Proximity to cultural activities, the beach, a lake or mountains should also be taken into account. Other aspects to choosing an appropriate location include the climate. In the past, retirees migrated often to warmer climates. But for golfers, a little too much blazing sun can be a problem. Retirees may also want to check out health care facilities and transportation. As they age, it can become more important to have doctor’s offices and a good hospital located nearby. Public transportation or other options for getting around can also be crucial once seniors become less expert at driving. For the golfers in the family, a big factor in the choice of a golf course community should be the course itself.

Golf course communities are built around public, semi-private and private courses, with varying greens fees required. Golfers should look into whether the course will be complete and available for play when they move into their home, because some developments build the homes before the course is ready. In addition, golfers should determine whether the course will be appropriate for their changing level of play, whether they want an easy, relaxing game or a more challenging play. Golf course communities often include a clubhouse or country club and a range of community amenities for the whole family, including tennis courts, swimming pools, concierge services, on-site restaurants, boating, fishing and even nearby skiing. Each family should decide which of these amenities are the most important when choosing a community. The clubhouse atmosphere is also something to consider. For some golfers, an upscale, resort-like atmosphere is desirable, including a formal restaurant for entertaining business associates and family members. Other golf home buyers prefer a more laid-back, family-oriented style with plenty of children’s activities and casual social events such as barbecues and ice cream parties. More important even than all these considerations, though, is the price range of the homes and the associated homeowner fees. Planned communities universally charge homeowner association fees for maintaining the property and keeping the value in the development.

Golf course communities are no exception, and sometimes have higher fees depending on the range of amenities in the development. Home styles in golf course communities can range from one-level villas, to mid-rise condominiums and larger single family homes, sometimes all within the same community. While golf used to be thought of as a rich man’s sport, players of both sexes and a wide range of income levels now enjoy the game. The variety of homes in golf course communities reflects this trend, with many of these developments offering affordable housing choices. Many others, of course, cater to upper income buyers, but middle income golfers can now find a wide range of homes on the greens as well. An Internet search, narrowed down by the above considerations, can be a good start to finding a home in a golf course community. Then it may time to “make the sacrifice” and play a few rounds of golf in each potential development before narrowing the choice further.


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