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Golf Buffet for Life


By Larry Gavrich, Founder & Editor,
Home On The Course, LLC


Wachesaw Plantation, Murrells Inlet, SC
Photo Credit: Larry Gavrich

Asked if they would prefer golf on a variety of layouts or play on just one course over and over, take to the bank that most golfers would prefer the former.  Variety is the spice of a golfing life, the reason why many of the golfers who ask for my help in finding a golf community home prefer a multi-course solution.  The rest don’t ask because they simply assume a club with multiple golf courses will assess higher joining fees and dues.



Indigo Run, Hilton Head Island, SC
Photo Credit: Larry Gavrich

That is not necessarily so, especially if you do some simple math. When you divide membership costs by the number of golf courses available to you with a multi-course membership, variety is only slightly higher.



The Reserve at Litchfield, Litchfield Beach, SC
Photo Credit: Larry Gavrich

Compare, for example, two private golf communities with similar price ranges for real estate.  One, St. James Plantation near Southport, NC, features 81 holes of golf, as well as its own beach club on the Atlantic Ocean a couple of miles outside the back gate.  The initiation fee and monthly dues at St. James, for full access to all the golf courses, are $30,000 and $500, respectively.  The other club, Wachesaw Plantation in Murrells Inlet, SC, offers 18 fine holes of golf by Tom Fazio.  Its initiation fee and monthly dues are $5,000 and $505, respectively (for a full-family membership).  Wachesaw is within minutes of a hospital, shopping, restaurants, including Murrells Inlet’s “Restaurant Row,” a collection of more than a dozen mostly seafood eateries; and impressive Atlantic beaches.



Treyburn Country Club, Durham, NC
Photo Credit: Larry Gavrich

St. James’ joining fee of $30,000 costs out at about $6,666 per 18-hole golf course; the Wachesaw fee is lower, but not substantially so.  (Dues are almost exactly the same.)  Now, I can almost hear some of you thinking, “Yes, but $30,000 is still a pretty good nut to spend.”  That is true, but not if you think in terms of your golf and real estate budgets as a combined figure.  If you are considering a golf community, then surely golf and a related lifestyle are your prime considerations.  You are going to join the community’s country club for an active lifestyle and to feel connected to your fellow residents.  Getting into the flow of a golf community is much faster as a member of the club where you meet people right away and can bond over similar interests –- not just golf, but social activities centered around the club.



Old North State Club, Badin Lake, NC
Photo Credit: Larry Gavrich

My advice to my clients is to take whatever budgets they have in mind for golf and a home and combine them into one number.  You can always find a home that suits you for a few thousand dollars less.  In a golf community, membership in the adjacent country club is more meaningful than, say, an extra 100 square feet of space.



River Landing, Wallace, NC
Photo Credit: Larry Gavrich

Below is a list of multi-golf course communities in the Carolinas (minimum 36 holes) and two Georgia communities located not far from the South Carolina border.

River Landing, Wallace, NC (36 holes)

Landfall, Wilmington, NC (45 holes)

St. James Plantation, Southport, NC (81 holes)

Ocean Ridge Plantation, Sunset Beach, NC (90 holes)

Sea Trail Plantation, Sunset Beach , NC (54 holes)

Pinehurst Country Club (162 holes)

Barefoot Resort, North Myrtle Beach, SC

Grand Dunes Resort, Myrtle Beach, SC

The Landings, Savannah, GA

Reynolds Lake Oconee, Greensboro, GA



The Landings, Savannah, GA
Photo Credit: Larry Gavrich

Have golf clubs will travel…
for best deals in golf

Serious golfers are willing to play vagabond for rounds at iconic golf courses.  They think nothing of a few hours drive when it comes to playing a golf course they can brag about.



Reynolds Lake Oconee, Creek Club Course, Greensboro, GA
Photo Credit: Larry Gavrich

Membership in one of the McConnell Golf Group’s 13 courses may be the best deal in Carolina golf (a dozen of those courses are located in the Carolinas, one in eastern Tennessee, a reasonable drive from the North Carolina border).  Former software company millionaire John McConnell has dedicated the last decade to buying up some of the iconic private country clubs in the region, including Sedgefield in Greensboro, Old North State Club on Badin Lake in central North Carolina, Asheville Country Club and Treyburn in Durham.  Join one of those clubs at the local prevailing initiation rate (ranging from around $10,000 to $25,000), and you gain access to all others.



Barefoot Resort, Love Course, North Myrtle Beach, SC
Photo Credit: Larry Gavrich

Although the McConnell Group does not get involved in real estate, almost all of its golf courses are located inside golf communities.  A resident of Treyburn and a member of its McConnell club, for example, is within roughly a one-hour drive of Sedgefield Country Club (two courses, one by Pete Dye, the other by Donald Ross), TPC Wakefield (Hale Irwin) and the Donald Ross-designed Raleigh Country Club.



Grande Dunes Resort Course, Myrtle Beach, SC
Photo Credit: Larry Gavrich

Another option for the itinerant golfer is membership in a country club managed by Troon Golf or ClubCorp.  These firms, like McConnell, buy or manage golf courses, but they are located across the country and worldwide.  A member of St. James Plantation in Southport, NC, for example, which is owned by Troon, gains access through the Troon Privé program to dozens of courses at “preferred” rates.  (Maximum six rounds per year, three rounds at courses in the member’s geographic area.)



River Landing Clubhouse, Wallace, NC
Photo Credit: Larry Gavrich

ClubCorp runs multiple clubs across the Carolinas, including three on Hilton Head Island.  Membership at any one of them opens up access to ClubCorp’s more than 200 country clubs, city clubs, athletic clubs and alumni clubs across the nation.


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