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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Upcoming golf community visits and reviews

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    Later this month, I will visit the Columbia, SC, golf community Cobblestone Park, a Phoenix attempting to rise from the ashes.  Cobblestone is a former property of Bobby Ginn whose unraveling empire left in its wake undelivered amenities and much property owner angst.  Most of Ginn's communities have been sold or taken over by others, which is especially good news for Cobblestone property owners since The Linger Longer organization is the new steward of the community and putting the finishing touches on a clubhouse that was never built under Ginn.  Linger Longer, a family company with a terrific reputation for its Reynolds Plantation resort and community in Georgia, has also assumed Ginn's property at Laurelmor in the western Carolina mountains and has promised an announcement soon about its plans there.
    Cobblestone Park is intriguing for a few reasons, beyond the positive change of ownership.  The University Club Golf Course,

My upcoming visits include Cobblestone Park in Columbia, SC; Brier's Creek and Daniel Island in Charleston; and Reynolds Plantation in Georgia.  Let me know if you want me to check out anything specifically for you.

designed by P. B. Dye, is the home course of the University of South Carolina golf teams.  Some locals grouse that the surrounding homes, which were added well after the golf course opened in 1995, have ruined the ambience of the layout.  I will be especially conscious of that as I play the course.  The community is just a few miles from a major university town; Columbia is the home of the University of South Carolina and offers an impressive array of big-time collegiate sports, culture and the opportunity for continuing education.  Columbia, which I have visited before, is not the most interesting town in the Carolinas, but it has a nice airport and is a good jumping off point for drives to the mountains or the horse country around Aiken, SC, less than one hour away.  Aiken, by the way, is just across the Savannah River from Augusta, GA, and all golfers know what is held there every April.
    I am especially interested in Cobblestone Park because it seems that current prices there reflect more the tumult of the past than the prospects for the future under Linger Longer.  When I checked the Cobblestone web site today, I noted that some home sites on the golf course are priced as low as $60,000, with homes starting in the $300s.  Those who bought higher priced Ginn Cobblestone lots and homes a couple of years ago cannot be happy, but I want to confirm that those looking for a relatively low entry point in a community with a sound developer at the helm should consider Cobblestone.  If any of my readers want me to do specific research regarding Cobblestone or the city of Columbia, or want me to send a scorecard from the golf course, just send me an email.
    Speaking of Reynolds Plantation, it is at the top of my list for a visit, but I need to carve out enough time to make sure I can inspect, if not play, all its five courses, including a sixth, by Pete Dye, that is under construction.  In the meantime, I am planning visits in the coming weeks to Daniel Island and Brier's Creek, both in the Charleston area.  Tomorrow I make a repeat visit after a couple of years, to the community of Dunes West, in Mt. Pleasant, SC, just a few miles from Charleston.  The Arthur Hills course was in nice shape when I played it two years ago but not as tough as many Hills courses I've encountered.  I have about four more strokes on my handicap index today than I did two years ago; Dunes West may be all I can handle. 

    Look for a review here in the next few days.

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Larry Gavrich

This blog was conceived and is published by me, Larry Gavrich, a former corporate communications executive who founded HomeOnTheCourse, LLC, in 2005.  Our firm advises baby boomers and others seeking a lifestyle in which golf is a major component.  My wife Connie and I own a home in Connecticut (not on a golf course) and a condo at Pawleys Plantation in Pawleys Island, SC, on a Jack Nicklaus layout.  We began our search for our home on the course more than 15 years ago, and the challenges of the search inspired me to research golf communities and write objective reviews of them.


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