Above Pars and Handicaps: A Scorecard To Golf-Course Living

Home developments centering around golf courses became popular in the 1980s. Some communities cater to golf enthusiasts, while others are simply beautiful places to live. Many communities draw middle-aged or retired homeowners, which may not appeal to younger buyers. With the game of golf drawing wealthier patrons, security is an issue. Add up your scorecard showing above-par figures or handicaps before you purchase golf property.

How secure are you?

Golf is a wealthy-persons sport with high annual golf fees and strict rules to keep the lawn looking perfect and the dress code proper. Consequently, golf course communities are gated and quite secure. However, many golf-course estates in warmer climates are purchased as second homes, so don't expect to ask a neighbor to watch your home while you are away.

What is your angle of trajectory?

Before you purchase a golf-course home, decide if you want to live in a property across the street and off the course or directly on the course. View the golf course layout to see how balls hit from nearby tees to the next hole will be driven to each on-course property you are interested in purchasing. It may be best to stick with a home behind or to the side of a tee-off area, depending on what is available.

Can you yell fore?

Let's face it, not all who enjoy the game of golf are pros. Misdirected balls are a real possibility from those just learning to hackers with no course etiquette. On-course homeowners will do well to look up often during open course times to avoid getting hit with a ball that is out of line, thereby increasing medical expenses.

Is your insurance up to par?

With stray golf balls raining from the sky, it is imperative that you get insurance to cover potential broken windows from any misdirected balls. Discuss additional coverage with your insurance agent, which will add to the cost of on-course home. Less expensive insurance may be a reason to buy an off-course home.

How green is your yard?

Those who own a house directly on the course will have to deal with potential lawn mowers or landscapers adjacent to the property early in the morning. Golfers may also accidentally or intentionally wander onto your yard. If you prefer natural lawn care, you may not approve of chemicals used on the adjacent course. Plus, community landscaping requirements for your back yard may be substantial and expensive. Read the CC&Rs for details before you buy.

Do you need a sweet spot?

Golf course communities have lots of amenities from pools and spas to tennis courts and gyms with trainers. Golf or tennis classes are offered onsite. Some courses have golf tournaments and provide annual fee reductions to those players who live in the development. Communities may also sponsor get-togethers for neighbors to socialize.

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