The community adjacent to the Lexington Golf Club features homes from about $300,000 up to $700,000. At back left, behind the 7th green, a three-bedroom home with views down the fairway and to the Blue Ridge Mountains is listed for $395,000.
I use a broad definition for "golf community." Any neighborhood or community that is adjacent to or connected in some fashion to a golf club is a golf community in my eyes. The community does not need to be gated and the golf club does not need to be private, but there does need to be some connection one with the other, either by geography or membership.
Lexington Golf Club meets my definition easily. I walked the 18 holes of the course in Virginia yesterday, and the dogwoods and azaleas had just begun to pop their vibrant colors. The course is still rounding into shape, but the mostly green of the fairways and rough were a brilliant contrast to the flowering trees and bushes. The layout is a classic design by Ellis Maples and Ed Seay, two well-respected architects who have done much of their work in the southeast. At 6,500 yards from the tips, which is where six collegiate teams played yesterday in the annual Buck Leslie Invitational, the course is not long, but the fast, sloping greens and tricky doglegs make up for any lack of length and put a premium on ball positioning.
Vacationers or retirees could have a very nice golf life in the community surrounding the course. Lexington is a nice little town with enough restaurants, coffee shops, interesting boutiques and a movie theater to keep most from pining for the big city (the "big" city of Roanoke is within an hour). With two universities, Washington & Lee and Virginia Military Institute, the town provides a constant stream of entertainment and mind-expanding lectures, as well as some college courses the public is invited to attend. Winter, of course, is the heart of the school year, when related activities are at their height and ease a little the pain of the golf course closing for the season.
Real estate in Lexington is a bargain, with old, well-preserved houses within walking distance of campus and most services starting in the mid-six figures. Homes outside town are considerably less expensive. I picked up a brochure from a box in the backyard of a home behind the 7th green at Lexington Golf Club yesterday; the screened rear porch of the home looked back down the tree-lined fairway and out to the Blue Ridge Mountains to the east. At 2,000 square feet (3 BR, 2 BA), the $395,000 asking price seemed reasonable enough (and property taxes of $2,400 annually even more reasonable). And membership initiation at Lexington Golf Club is just $1,500 and dues only $175 per month, ridiculous (in the best possible way) for golf of this quality.
You will never see an ad for the Lexington Golf Club across the gutter in Golf Magazine or Digest from an ad for The Cliffs or Reynolds Plantation or any other planned community for that matter. But if all you are looking for is membership in a fine and unpretentious club with a classic, well-tended golf course, there is Lexington, and its adjacent community, and many other clubs like it out there waiting for you.
The dogleg right par 5 6th hole at Lexington dares you to go for the green from a sidehill lie in the fairway. A stream runs in front of the green and any shots past the pin face a slick shot coming back down the putting surface.