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

Golf - Mountain and Coastal

Trillium Links | Cashiers, NC

North Carolina is paradise for those seeking the widest variety of golf courses within reasonable driving distances. From the marshland and links-like courses on the coast to the mountaintop layouts five or six hours to the west, the Tarheel State offers everything the peripatetic golfer could want.

Perhaps most surprising of all, owning two homes a daytime drive away from each other is within the reach of many couples. Real estate values in many Carolina golf communities still have not recovered to 2006 levels, and some sellers who have listed their homes for sale for more than a year are becoming anxious, if not desperate. That, of course, can translate into lower selling prices. Of course, if you own two homes, you can count on extra property taxes and homeowner association fees. But if the house prices are right, why deny yourselves?


Here are a few pairs of North Carolina homes on the coast and in the mountains that might fill the bill (prices as of November 2014):

Brunswick Forest (Leland) & Kenmure (Flat Rock)
Brunswick Forest, just 10 minutes from Wilmington, skated through the recession as the most successful selling golf community on the east coast. Amenities, including a dramatic links-like 18 holes (semi-private membership) by local architect Tim Cate, and an expansive fitness center, were in place well before the recession, and the development company’s reputation for success and deep pockets encouraged sales as well.

Kenmure is just 15 minutes from the active town of Hendersonville, and for those seeking more bright lights and big city, Asheville is another half hour up the interstate. The private Joe Lee golf course is easy on the eyes and on an aging golf swing once you choose the correct tees, and Kenmure real estate is among the most reasonably priced in the mountains. The Antebellum clubhouse, a former mansion, is visible from most parts of the golf course and is a great place for a candlelight dinner.

Brunswick Forest single-family brick ranch with 3 BR and 2 BA listed at $245,000. Kenmure detached villa, 2 BR, 2 BA, listed at $218,000. Total for two homes … $463,000. Driving time between: 5 hours, 15 minutes.

Highlight along the way: Whiteville, NC, and its annual Pecan Harvest Festival (first weekend in November).

Carolina Colours (New Bern) & Wolf Laurel (Mars Hill)
The developers of Carolina Colours, just 10 minutes from the 300-year old town of New Bern, opted to let sales volume drive the addition of amenities, not the other way around. Patience turned into virtue as the community has now hit its stride, with a sleek Bill Love designed 18 holes (semi-private) and a pool that has become a focal point for an engaged group of residents that comprise a friendly mix of Midwesterners, Northeasterners and Carolinians.

Wolf Laurel, about a half-hour north of Asheville, offers active retirees two main options – golf April through October and skiing from December to March.

Carolina Colours 4 BR, 2 BA new single-family home listed at $197,000. Wolf Laurel 4 BR, 3 BA single-family home on mountaintop listed at $224,900. Total for two homes…$421,900. Driving time between: 6 hours.

Highlight along the way: Multiple barbecue joints in the Goldsboro area.

St. James Plantation (Southport) & Trillium Links (Cashiers)
St. James is big enough to warrant its own postal address. With a full roster of amenities, including three golf courses and a beach club just a few miles from the back gate, the community offers just about everything an active retired couple could want. The coastal town of Southport, just 10 minutes away, is right out of central casting for charming southern burg. And for those who crave the occasional city vibe, Wilmington is 45 minutes from St. James’ front gate.

There are a few greens on the Morris Hatalsky designed Trillium Links where you might think you are at the ends of the Earth, such are the distant views across the area’s mountain ranges. The golf course takes a bit of getting used to, given the blind shots and swirling fairways, but after just a few rounds, quirky can give way to exhilarating.

St. James furnished 2 BR, 2 BA villa, listed at $132,900, includes transfer of membership in St. James Clubs. Trillium 2 BR, 2 BA villa located on 2nd fairway just steps from clubhouse is listed at $239,000. Total for two homes…$371,900. Total drive time: 6 ½ hours.

Highlight along the way: Schiele Museum of Natural History and Lynn Planetarium in Gastonia.

Rivers Edge (Shallotte) & Links O’Tryon (Campobello)
Brunswick County features about two dozen golf courses, but few sport holes as memorable as #9 at Rivers Edge, a par 5 that runs along and over the marsh, with a blind tee shot and a tempting approach for a possible eagle putt over a chasm to a green that looks the size (and shape) of a thimble. The safe “layup” shot isn’t all that safe, given it must come to rest in a narrow patch of fairway. In any event, the exhausted golfer can count on refuge in one of Rivers Edge’s reasonably priced single-family homes or condos.

Links O’Tryon is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, in an area known as much for equestrian pursuits as for golf. Although it’s technically in South Carolina, it’s so close we found it reasonable to include. Combining the natural swirl of a near-mountain landscape with a few strategically placed lakes and ponds, the Tom Jackson designed Links O’Tryon golf course features a healthy rating of 73.6 from the back tees (6,900 yards) and an equally robust slope rating of 137.

A Rivers Edge 3 BR, 2 BA single-family house on a wooded lot and the golf course is listed at $199,000. A Links O’Tryon 3 BR, 3 ½ BA, 2,000 square foot single-family home built in 2008 and listed at $199,900. Total for two homes: $398,900. Total drive time: 4 ½ hours.

Highlight along the way: University of South Carolina campus in Columbia, SC.

Editor’s note: Look for a similar article on South Carolina bargains in an upcoming issue.