Your Golf Community Home:
The Search is On.
By Larry Gavrich, Founder & Editor,
Home On The Course, LLC
It's a busy life, and although many baby boomers are thinking ahead to a time when they won’t work, at least not fulltime, and will play as much golf as they want, the office still beckons for a few years longer.
At some point, though, those who will relocate in retirement will actually need to lay eyes on prospective locations; no right-minded couple will ever identify and purchase a golf community home on the Internet alone.
For those who want to get the party started now, we offer a few long-weekend itineraries of visits to golf communities across all price ranges in the coastal, lake and mountain regions of the Carolinas.
Discover six+ golf communities worth a look, from mountains to sea.
MOST ON THE COAST
Wilmington is one of the most popular cities on the Southeast coast, known for both its modern conveniences and early American neighborhoods. It is also one of the most diverse cities when it comes to golf communities, with the ultra reasonably priced but wonderfully appointed Brunswick Forest in nearby Leland and the upscale Landfall so perfectly sited between city and beach, 10 minutes from each. There are plenty of other area golf communities to choose from in between.
The fiscally conservative will love Brunswick Forest for its deep-pocketed developer, it's go slow approach to building its amenities, the budget-oriented annual membership to its well-regarded links-like semi-private golf course, and its location not only 10 minutes from downtown Wilmington but also for being across the street from shopping and eating establishments.
Still a young community, Brunswick Forest weathered the 2008 recession with nary a hiccup. Claustrophobics might want to steer clear of a few "cozy" neighborhoods inside the community that feature homes on less than 1/4 acre lots. Townhomes from $239,000, single-family homes from $300,000, homesites from $80,000.
Other communities to consider for the budget minded: Compass Pointe, Magnolia Greens, Winding River
It is hard to conceive of a golf community more perfectly sited than Landfall, less than 10 minutes out its back door to Wrightsville Beach and the Atlantic Ocean and immediately to its east, the fun and full-service university town of Wilmington. That might be attraction enough for those seeking both a beach and urban lifestyle, but then there is the golf – 45 holes by the combined efforts of Jack Nicklaus (27) and Pete Dye (18).
Both men literally bent the landscape to their will, and styles of design, which means Nicklaus uses sand and water to the most creative advantage and Dye throws a few monkey wrenches -- pot bunkers and moguls -- into the shaping of his layout. Single-family homes from $357,000, homesites from $109,900.
Other community to consider for upscale living: Porters Neck.
Learn more about Wilmington.
FOR LAKE-MINDED PEOPLE
The Army Corps of Engineers worked some technological magic across the Southeast beginning in the 1950s, flooding major portions of the region to create hydroelectric power for thousands of towns for the first time.
But while residents of the rural South were getting power, the land rush started among community planners with the vision to use the new meandering shorelines and intricate coves as perfect sites for homes and the nutrient rich interiors for lush golf courses.
Today, Lakes Keowee, Greenwood and Thurmond are home to a wide range of golf communities, most upscale but with a few, like Keowee Key, that surprise.
The Reserve at Lake Keowee
The Reserve and the nearby shoreline communities developed by The Cliffs fight it out for the high-end dollar in golf community and lake living on Lake Keowee, but once those with resources see the clean lake and luscious amenities of any of them, there should be plenty of business to go around.
We focus here on The Reserve simply because we have made more visits there and admire the shepherding of the community by a few local citizens, along with Bluegreen Development. The result is a carefully organized high-end golf community where everything is in place:
From the 200-yard lawn that sweeps down from the clubhouse to the lake, to the beautifully manicured tournament-ready Jack Nicklaus golf course, the super-rustic and beautiful clubhouse where cheers ring out on fall Saturdays for the Clemson Tigers, new national champions (wear something orange if you go) and about the cleanest lake you will ever find. Single-family homes from $485,000; homesites from $250,000.
Other high-end communities in the area: Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards, Cliffs at Keowee Falls, Cliffs at Keowee Springs.
For the budget minded: Keowee Key
Grand Harbor at Lake Greenwood
Any developer who wants to play it safe should never hire Davis Love III to design a golf course. For The Patriot at Grand Harbor, Love went historical. A nearby Revolutionary War fort gave him the idea to incorporate brick faux ruins into his golf course design. Love's layout is both challenging and fun.
The community of mostly newer homes provides access to Lake Greenwood and is just 10 minutes from the town of Greenwood, home to Lander College and with plenty of services and one or two good restaurants. For those who need a more urban fix once in a while, the sophisticate Greenville is an hour away.
Other similar communities to consider: Stoney Pointe, Greenwood Country Club (not a developed golf community), Savannah Lakes Village (35 minutes away on Lake Thurmond)
Learn more about College town Life, including Clemson.
Discover more about Lake Living, including Greenwood.
GOLF COMMUNITIES WITH AN ALTITUDE
The most prized view in golf community living is arguably the ocean, but many of the most expensive selections are actually of long-stretching mountain ranges. The areas of Hendersonville and Asheville, NC, a half-mile high, are among the most popular destinations for golf-minded retirees, especially those seeking to beat the Florida heat seasonally or forever.
Hendersonville is widely hailed golf architect Tom Fazio's hometown, and the designer obviously lavished much attention on the golf course he cut through the hills and forests of Champion Hills, where he owns a home.
The fairways are funneled through the mountainsides and the elevation changes make walking a tough exercise, but golf raters love it, anointing it perennially as one of the best in the state. Champion Hills members and residents are proud of their community and run it almost like a major corporation which makes it one of the best organized golf communities in the South. Single-family homes start around $400,000, with homesites as low as $25,000.
Other upscale communities to consider: Mountain Air, Cliffs at Walnut Cove, Balsam Mountain Preserve
Flat Rock, NC
The nationally famous Flat Rock Playhouse is a couple of miles away, and its roster of monthly shows this year will keep lovers of Broadway, comedy and music busy throughout 2017. Residents of Kenmure are further entertained by a rambling Joe Lee golf course that is fun to play, a beautiful old clubhouse that sits on the highest point of the golf course, and some extreme bargains when it comes to real estate.
The community sprawls over 1,400 acres, and its only ups and downs are the changes in elevation. Single-family homes from $320,000, condos and villas from $240,000 and a nice selection of lots, some with long-range mountain views, from $55,000.
Other similar communities in the area: Reems Creek, Laurel Ridge, Cummings Cove, Connestee Falls.
Learn more about Hendersonville.
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