July 23, 2018 — If you are like a lot of baby boomers your retirement dream might involve buying a home or condo in an active adult community with a golf course. It is easy to see the attraction – stroll over to the first tee anytime, gorgeous views, and when you tire of your own golf game you can enjoy watching others play or have a drink in the clubhouse.
Paradise – or Purgatory
In the shopping phase you look forward to golf whenever you want, getting your handicap down to where you think it belongs. And beside golf, you might have visions of you and your grandchildren riding around in a golf cart, or you and your husband enjoying a peaceful breakfast with a background of passing foursomes. Fortunately for many retirees, this experience comes true. But the actual reality could turn into something like this: loud curses repeated every 20 minutes – 12 hours a day, incoming golf balls that shatter peace and quiet (not to mention windows), or strangers hunting through your property on quests to retrieve their $4 Titleists (or worse, water your bushes with the proceeds of their last Beerweiser). Unfortunately, as
hundreds of lawsuits and thousands of unhappy active adults have found, your dream could turn into a nightmare. To spare you that trouble this article offers some common sense precautions and questions you should ask in the due diligence you should make before buying near a golf course.
What is the best location for a home on a golf course
One important consideration when deciding to live on a golf course involves where your home is located. Each position has its drawbacks or advantages. We will start with those:
By the tee:
– Advantage: You get to see the power shots at the beginning of the hole.
– Disadvantage: Cursing is usually worst on the tee, frequently repeated as each new group comes through.
Mid hole, right:
– Advantage: Sometimes this position gives you a good view of the entire hole.
– Disadvantage: Most golfers aren’t very good. Most right handers tend to slice the ball (it goes to the right), so unless your home is well-protected, lots of balls will be flying on to your property.
Mid hole, left:
– Advantage: Good view of the entire hole
– Disadvantage: Better golfers tend to hook; since there are fewer of them, you will experience fewer incoming missiles. Unfortunately hooks tend to be hit harder and go farther, so they could do more damage even to well-protected properties.
Near the green:
– Advantage: If you want to be right on a golf course, being near a green could be the best position. You get a pretty view and the generally shorter shots tend to be less wild and therefore dangerous. Cursing and talk is more subdued than elsewhere. If there is a big tournament at your course, you will have the cat bird seat.
– Disadvantage: If you are too close to the green your home could be hit by an errant shot. Greens are mowed very early in the morning, so be prepared for loud noises to interrupt your sleep.
No golf course view
– Advantage: Sometimes this is the best option. You don’t have the noise and the danger, but the course is right there.
– Disadvantage: Harder to sneak on and practice, or be in on the action.
Location is by no means the only consideration to keep in mind when deciding to live in a golf course community.
– You get to play: If you live in a golf course community you generally get unparalleled access to golf. Your rounds will be faster, involve no travel, and let you enjoy people you are your neighbors.
– Noise: In addition to loud talking (and worse!) there is a lot of machinery that tends to operate in the early morning.
– Pesticides: Chemicals are a fact of life on golf courses, even to some extent for those in the prestigious Audubon Sanctuary programs. You won’t be able to control what gets put in the atmosphere immediately adjacent to your home – and those could include herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides.
– Beauty: Obviously so many people wouldn’t live near golf courses if there were no advantages. The lifestyle can provide you with a peaceful, beautiful neighbor if you choose well.
– Distances and protections: There are recommended distances that homes and yards should be from an active golf course. Unfortunately many projects were either built a long time ago or choose to ignore them. An important due diligence element is to compare those distances to the home you are considering. Lexan windows and other barriers can also provide important protection against golf balls, which can cause death and serious injuries.
– Water holes: These are usually very beautiful. But be prepared for bugs or even bigger critters. In the Deep South alligators and water moccasins are a serious hazard to pets and small children.
– Economics: Golf is not as popular as it once was. Courses are expensive to maintain in good condition, so if your community does not attract enough golfers, the burden could fall to you. On the other hand, particularly in very upscale communities, a nice golf course is a big attraction and a key component of keeping property values up.
– If you are not a golfer. We are always surprised how many people live in a golfing community who don’t play. Maybe they just like the general ambience. In that case you might be better off living in a community where golf is not included in the HOA fees; either the golfing members pay for it or the course is operated by a third party.
– Do your research: Talk with your potential neighbors and try to get a feel for what happens in your new neighborhood. And of course, play the course a few times to understand the hazards you might face as a homeowner.
There are advantages and disadvantages to living on a golf course. For some people the experience is amazing, for others it turns out to be not so great. Before you buy, either rent or spend time in the community getting to know what it is really like living there.
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