I love golf. I love playing golf, being around the game, and being around the golf course. But if I would actually want to live on a golf course is another matter entirely. Would you?
And before you answer, yes, we all would love to win the SuperMegaPowerBall lottery and be able to afford one of the palaces adjacent to Pebble Beach Golf Links on the Monterey Peninsula. But most of you, Dear Readers, don’t have an extra $20 million or so lying around for your next vacation home.
I have played more than a fair number of golf courses that wind through neighborhoods. Actually, it seems that playing a golf course totally unencumbered by housing today is a rarity, if not almost impossible.
Developments, subdivisions, and “planned communities” all across the United States, especially in Florida and the coastal Southeast, have thrived on including homesites as part of the golf course development plan. It’s revenue generating green space, and I’m sure some realtors would argue a golf course adds a certain cache to a property, which means more money for all involved.
Even parkland courses from early in the 20th century have endured development brought to their borders. As cities have grown out from their cores as far and as fast as their infrastructure will allow, courses that were once solitary country retreats are now subject to the same suburban sprawl and congestion as any place else.
In Lexington alone, the Gay Brewer Course at Picadome, Tates Creek Golf Course, and Lakeside Golf Course were each, at one time, refuges far removed from the hustle and bustle of city life. Now, each one of them have been boxed in on all sides (except for a farm on the northern border of Lakeside) by residential or commercial development.
Big name resort courses that even the average non-golfer has heard of are littered with residential or vacation housing. My recent journey through Hilton Head Island’s golf courses only reinforced my belief that it is extremely rare to be able to build a profitable course property without including at least some homesites.
The rare golf course that is completely devoid of adjacent housing seems to market that quality as much as any of its actual design features or amenities. I often wonder, as I look for an errant drive in someone’s backyard, whether the home owner feels like they are getting their money’s worth from their investment.
I’m sure the deed restrictions for a golf course lot are just ridiculous on their face. Unless I wanted to keep the blinds drawn full-time, surrender my landscaping ambitions, and only use my back yard at night, the reduced privacy alone is enough make me slightly uneasy. All though, I can understand the allure of grabbing a couple of clubs, jumping down from the back porch, and playing two or three holes barefoot at the end of a long summer day.
So that brings me to April’s Question of the Month: If you had the opportunity, would you prefer to live on a golf course?