If you’re looking to purchase a home in a golf course community there are a few different items to consider compared to buying a typical single-family residence. In my former life as a PGA Professional (club pro not the guys on TV) I had a number of tricky situations with homeowners living around my course. Nine times out of ten, the issue would never have come up if the buyer had been educated before closing on the home. Let’s take a look at a few things you should consider before deciding whether golf course living is for you.
Consider the physical location of the home relative to the golf course. Do you want to actually be on the course or just in the neighborhood? If you choose the course, homes situated near tee boxes and behind greens are less likely to be struck by errant golf balls, but may be louder because of chatty players. Being on the left side of the fairway is less likely to be in the danger zone because about 93% of golfers are right-handed and most of them slice (hit the ball to the right). Which hole are you near? If you are on one of the first few holes, you may get woken up by the greens mower but you can use the back yard in the afternoon without fear of being struck. Somewhere on the back nine (the last few holes)? Grilling out in the afternoon may be hazardous to your health, but that morning coffee on the deck will be quiet and peaceful. Also, be aware of location with respect to the community entrance and the clubhouse. Extra traffic in those areas is to be expected, and even more so if the course is open to the public.
Most planned golf communities typically require some type of membership. Usually you have an option between full benefits, golf only, and social memberships (access to the amenities like restaurant, pool, tennis courts, but not the golf course). If you decide to move or sell, do you have the ability to get some portion of your initiation fee back, and/or can you transfer the membership to the new homeowner?
Many golf communities feature amenities such as swimming pools, exercise facilities, fine dining, and clubhouses. Some have tennis courts and other recreational outlets. Do these services require extra fees? Is there a mandatory membership cost, with minimum monthly purchase levels? Be sure to ask.
How security-conscious is the community? Golf course communities tend to be gated, but each will have varying levels of security. Some will have a 24-hour gate person to manage and monitor traffic into the community (like River Creek) while others will use a pass-key system. It can be comforting to know access is limited so determine what’s most important to you.
This can be one of the main driving factors in your home search. You should definitely be able to play a preview round before deciding whether or not to purchase. Many times you can get a member of the club or one of the golf staff to play with you. It’s important to make sure the course provides the right challenge for you, so don’t pick a course that is going to kick your butt every time you play it. You should also inquire about the types of golf programs available. Do you need lessons for yourself or family? Like to play competitively?
Whether or not you are a golfer, there is much to love about the open space and manicured conditions. We happen to live in an area where you have many options; Belmont Country Club, Creighton Farms, Lansdowne, Leesburg Country Club, Lowe’s Island, Raspberry Falls, River Creek, and Stoneleigh. You could even have the views without the golf at Beacon Hill.
Thinking about purchasing in a golf course community? Give me a shout, and let my 23 years in the golf industry work for you. (And check out these homes currently for sale in golf communities in Loudoun County.)