By Larry Gavrich, Founder & Editor,
Home On The Course, LLC
How many times have you heard a friend say, “Boy, it would be nice to go back to school?” And how many times have you thought that yourself? Today, the opportunities are rife to literally go back to school by buying a home just a few miles from a major university that offers continuing education courses aimed at retirees.
Many of these universities in the Carolinas offer free or inexpensive “lifelong learning” classes to retired people. Subject matter ranges all over the map, including an upcoming course at the Wilmington, NC, branch of the University of North Carolina entitled “Johnny Reb, Billy Yank and Aphrodite: Sex and the Civil War; “How South Carolina Won the Revolutionary War” offered at Conway, SC’s Coastal Carolina University; and “History of the English Cathedrals” at Furman University in Greenville, SC.
Many retirees are giving in to the pull of the college campus, mindful that these institutions are magnets for concerts, art shows, top sporting contests, comprehensive libraries and, of course, the prospect of a wide range of classroom topics.
Luckily for golfers, some of the most highly rated golf communities in the Carolinas are located just a few miles from campus, making it easy to combine exercise for the mind and body without having to work too hard to arrange either.
HERE IS A SHORT LIST OF EDUCATED CHOICES IN THE CAROLINAS
Governors Club & University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
The community and university are 15 minutes apart. Governors Club features 27 holes of Jack Nicklaus golf, a dramatic clubhouse with excellent food and an involved membership not afraid to invest in maintaining the community’s ample facilities. Single-family home prices begin at $375,000. Recent offerings through UNC Chapel Hill’s Lifelong Learning curriculum included “Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Speech,” “The Carolinas Campaign of William T. Sherman” and “Indian History in North Carolina.”
Landfall Country Club & University of North Carolina – Wilmington
Landfall is host to an annual major college golf tournament on 18 of its 45 holes of Jack Nicklaus and Pete Dye golf. The community is perfectly situated within 10 minutes of the vibrant city, which is known as “Hollywood East” for the number of films produced locally, and within 10 minutes of Wrightsville Beach and the Atlantic Ocean. UNC Wilmington’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute is offering dozens of courses this spring, but none as tasty as “Meet ‘Em and Eat ‘Em,” an insight into the life and succulence of the oyster; the course winds up with a special luncheon.
Reems Creek Golf Club & UNC Asheville
The neighborhood around the Reems Creek golf course has its ups and downs – literally. Some of the views from its homes look out across the swirling golf fairways to the Blue Ridge Mountains beyond. Prices are reasonable for this kind of setting, with homes priced from the low $200s. The English firm Hawtree & Sons designed Reems Creek; Martin Hawtree was responsible for the design of the recently opened and well-reviewed Donald Trump course in Aberdeen, Scotland. Because it is home to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, formerly the Center for Creative Retirement, UNC Asheville may very well offer the most comprehensive list of courses for retirees at any school. More than 100 topics in this spring semester’s catalog range from the short stories of Raymond Carver to the films of Phillip Seymour Hoffman to “Dante, Tolkien and Cosmic Imagining.”
Green Valley Country Club & Furman University, Greenville, SC
Green Valley is located in Taylors, SC, a mere six minutes from the Furman campus, one of the most beautiful in America (during the growing season, the campus gardens are not to be missed). Green Valley’s golf course, originally designed by local boy Tom Jackson, has been updated recently. The surrounding community has a friendly neighborhood feel, with prices for resale homes starting in the $300s. Courses this spring at Furman include a study of the painters Botticelli and Raphael, the composers Gilbert and Sullivan and a class in pen and ink.
Wildewood Country Club & University of South Carolina, Columbia
Wildewood is located just 18 minutes north on Interstate 20 from the state’s largest university campus, home to more than 32,000 students and to a short, but well-chosen roster of continuing education courses that include: “Savvy IRA Planning: Don’t Crack Your Nest Egg”; “Exploring the Lower Pee Dee: Plantations and Mansions, Classic Architecture and Great Stories”; a beginning and intermediate course on sign language. Wildewood Country Club offers a combined membership with the nearby Woodcreek Country Club, itself within just a half-hour of campus.
Woodside Plantation & University of South Carolina – Aiken
Just 11 minutes apart, professors at the branch of USC have been known to conduct some courses at Woodside, which features 3 ½ golf courses inside its gates and homes that begin in the high $100s for condos and $230,000 for resale single-family homes. New homes begin in the $400s. This year, the branch of USC is offering such eclectic courses as “America on Paper and Celluloid: American Fiction – 3 Great Novels & Films”; “South Africa – Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow”; and a visit to a local Steeplechase event (Aiken is horse country).
Wild Wing Plantation & Coastal Carolina University, Conway, SC
Wild Wing was once home to three golf courses but, alas, the latest owners saw more of a future for the community with new, well-priced homes festooning the former fairways. New homes begin in the $200s. Still, the 27 holes that remain are among the best grouping in the Myrtle Beach area. Almost literally across Highway 501 lies Coastal Carolina, which has been undergoing a significant expansion campaign that included the purchase of an adjacent golf course to serve as a “laboratory” for students in the school’s vaunted golf management program. The continuing ed curriculum is offered in different locations throughout the Grand Strand and includes “Lowcountry excursions” to plantations, nearby islands and the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC, for what is being called “Dressing Downton Abbey.”