The Realities of Living on a Golf Course

By: Josh Sloan

Golf course fronting estates became popular in the 1980s, and have since become a common feature of suburban America. Golf-front living can offer some excellent benefits such as outstanding views, having access to your favorite hobby in an instant, a quality home in a safe neighborhood of other quality homes, and, most often, like-minded neighbors. However, there are also some draw-backs. Deciding what is right for you means getting informed and analyzing your priorities.

There is a difference between golfing communities. Some are focused around the course, while others are residential neighborhoods foremost, with the course as a side benefit. Further, a surprising number of golf-front residents don't even play golf. While the idea of the typical golf-front real estate owners is retirees and golf-fiends, many younger families choose these neighborhoods for their safety, beauty and quality. They are buying a lifestyle, and a home with excellent appreciation value.

However, depending on where your home is situated, there is the obvious risk of stray balls ending up in your yard, or worse, through your window. Some golf community residents have even been known to be bothered by golfers coming onto their property to retrieve balls. But in general, these risks are worth the benefit of living in such an amazing and valuable location.

Of course (pun intended), not all homes are right on the green. There will be lovely homes across the street and within a few blocks of the actual course which still offer the convenience of the close proximity to the course and the great neighborhood, but without the risk of stray balls and trespassing golfers. Although there's always a trade-off , as the views aren't likely to be as lush in these homes.

If you do purchase golf-front property, look for insurance policies that give a good rate for unlimited window replacement. In general, knowing the risks of an area makes you responsible for any damage done, however, some clubs have been forced to pay for damages, or erect safety fences or nets in extreme circumstances. A responsible course developer should take the risks into account, and minimize them throughout the design of the course. If specific course features make your home consistently a dangerous area, or if the course was redesigned after your home was built, putting it more at risk, consider requesting help from the course owners to minimize your risk. However, if the stray balls are purely accidental, accept the risk and pay for good insurance. Buying a home behind a green, or right next to a tee box, as opposed to a few yards up from it, may allow you to avoid the highest risk of having your home visited by stray balls. Further, there is some evidence that homes on the right side of the fairway are more often hit by erroneously sliced balls.

When weighing the pros and cons of a golf community, consider association fees, and also rules and regulations associated with living there. Also, assuming you're a golf-lover, be sure you love the course-otherwise you miss out on the advantage of living so close.

Finally, when considering a golf-front home, don't buy sight unseen. Considering the risks, and benefits, of certain areas, it is best to know exactly where your home is situated before committing your hard earned money to it.

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