Golf Community Reviews leading indicator of a golf real estate market revival?

        As economists struggle to predict when the overall housing market might bottom out or turn upwards again, I have begun to rely on one leading indicator in the golf community real estate market -- this blog site.  In the last two months, I’ve received triple the normal number of inquiries about golf community homes.  With my assistance, three couples will embark in April and May on trips throughout the southeast.  Two months may not make a trend, but from where I sit and type this, people with the desire for a golf community home are coming off the sidelines.

        Here’s a rundown of some of the communities these golf course home hunting couples will visit:


The Thornblade Club


Thornblade Club, Greer, SC

        Not exactly a “planned” golf community, Thornblade is the name of the country club at the heart of an attractive neighborhood of mostly single-family homes with prices that begin in the mid-six figures.  U.S. Open champ Lucas Glover honed his skills at Thornblade, and professionals Jay Haas and Dottie Pepper own homes near the club.  The mid 1980s Tom Fazio layout is a classic; although homes are in view, they never seem to encroach on Fazio’s wide fairways and cloverleaf bunkers.  The underrated town of Greenville, SC, is just minutes away, and the nearby BMW plant helps keep the local economy more stable than the rest of the state.  For those who don't require a gate on their community, Thornblade could be a great choice.


Landfall, Wilmington, NC

        Jack Nicklaus and his golf design mentor, Pete Dye, offer 45 holes of never-boring golf on the same large piece of property.  Nicklaus may have learned too well; his 27 hole course is easily the more difficult of the two, and includes a par 4 with an approach to a tiny green surrounded almost entirely by water.  Homes trend toward the upper six figures and run well into the millions.  Each golf course features its own clubhouse, but one membership provides privileges at both.  Wrightsville Beach is just a mile away, and the vibrant city of Wilmington not much farther.  Tennis buffs can unleash their inner Wimbledon champ on two grass courts at Landfall, part of a 14 court complex designed by former pro Cliff Drysdale.


St. James Plantation, Southport, NC

        Between Wilmington, NC and Savannah, GA, only two golf communities can brag about having four or more private golf courses.  St. James, with four courses, is one of them. (The Landings on Skidaway Island, GA is the other, with a total of six courses.)  The marsh and links land courses at St. James feature a total of 81 holes by P.B. Dye, Tim Cate, Hale Irwin and the Nicklaus Design shop.  The charming seaside town of Southport is just minutes away, with Wilmington another 20 minutes beyond.  For all its golf, St. James also boasts a full-fledged marina with 150 boat slips, marketplace and restaurant, as well as a long roster of other amenities.  Those with an interest in multi-course golf communities and nothing planned for the weekends of April 9 and April 23 can take advantage of a bargain weekend at St. James; for $99, you’ll receive accommodations for two nights, golf for two (or massage), boat cruises, a party and, of course, the obligatory tour of the Plantation with a member of the sales staff.  If interested in a visit to St. James or any other golf community in the southeast, contact me and I will help with arrangements.



River Landing Country Club


River Landing, Wallace, NC

        River Landing, whose amenities are well established, including two top 50 North Carolina golf courses, still has the feel of a developing community.  That is good news especially for those couples who want to build their dream home, as a number of nice lots are still available.  The community, which I reviewed at length in February, was developed by a family with strong local ties and deep pockets (they own a large chain of restaurants and the Holiday Inn Express adjacent to River Landing).  I ate an excellent dinner in the warm and inviting clubhouse, whose bar area was alive with 20 somethings and 60 somethings on a cold February evening.  Because Wallace is not exactly a metropolis -– more than an hour from Raleigh but just 45 minutes from Wilmington –- prices tend toward the reasonable end of the mid-six figures.  And the North Carolina Golf Panel ranks River Landing's two courses #25 and #48 in a state rich in outstanding golf.   Three-day, two-night visits to River Landing are available for $139 and include golf, other temporary privileges of membership and a dining certificate in the clubhouse.  Contact me, and we can set things in motion for your trip.

Next:  Wachesaw Plantation, DeBordieu Colony and Daniel Island and more


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