Talking the walk: One important question for active walkers to ask before they purchase

    When asked to rank their number one physical activity, baby boomers say "walking" or "hiking" substantially more often than golf, tennis or any other recreation.  Golf courses are great places to walk, and the non-golfers who live in golf course communities do so because the cart paths that wind alongside holes and often along rivers, marsh and forests are pleasant places for a hardy stroll.

    But not all courses are walker friendly.  Nearly half the courses in communities we have visited have restrictions on walking the cart paths. Okay before play begins and from an hour or two before sundown; not okay during the hours of play.

    Some of the better amenitized communities, like the Cliffs in the mountains of the Carolinas, have built in miles of hiking trails nowhere near the golf courses.  Some, like Mountain Air outside Asheville, NC, have even hired naturalists to supervise educational walks through the wilderness.  Of course, some of these communities pay for the amenities with higher priced real estate and fees.

    Our advice when you begin considering seriously the purchase of a home in a golf course community is to ask about any restrictions along the course.  Better yet, find a few residents and ask them whether any rules are strictly enforced.  At our summer course in Pawleys Island, SC, strollers are frowned upon during play.  Yet plenty of our fellow residents do it, and we haven't heard of any incident that spoiled a good walk.



A  warning stenciled on the cart paths at Coosaw Creek Golf Club in Summerville, SC.