Questions to Ask Before Buying in a Golf Community

In Buyers, First-Time Buyers, Protecting your homeby Doug PhelpsLeave a Comment

To have a home in a golf community overlooking maintained open space is a dream of many golfers. When considering such a home, there are several questions that come into play (pun intended!) that should be considered.

In an effort to keep this somewhat brief, questions and issues are in two groups — generalities and specifics. The “generalities” narrow the search to a few specific golf communities, and the “specifics” hone in on a few select locations within each community. Some of these points are rather obvious, while others a typical homebuyer might not think about.

Generalities

Should we buy within the community or just close by?
Golf communities designed prior to about 1995 typically have smaller corridors for each golf hole – i.e., the width for each hole is narrower from lot line to an opposite lot line. Those built more recently have more room from fairway to lot lines, helping keep more errant golf balls and golfers from the property.

Is the golf course financially healthy?
The newer the community, the greater the potential that the golf course depends on the community and may struggle financially, which could impact property values. Researching the ownership/management of the golf course should be an essential part of due diligence.

Is the course more open or have significant vegetation?
The overall sun exposure of the land can have a large impact on the number of days the course is open each year. For example, a course that has a northern exposure and lots of tall trees and other vegetation is probably playable several weeks less per year than one that is more southerly and/or void of dense foliage. This can be a positive or a negative.

What is the water source for irrigation of the golf course?
The answer will give a good indication of what the golf course may look like or how it will respond to a severe drought. A course might close due to limited and somewhat unreliable water sources.

Specifics

Is the house in the flight path of golf balls?
Statistically, more golfers play right-handed. An average drive for men is 220-260 yards off the tee, with many sliced (shot path is left to right). The hook side is less likely to be the direction of an errant shot than the slice side.
Closer to or behind the tee is better than at the landing area or either side of the green.
At the green, above the hole is better than below the hole, where elevation and gravity can be your friend or foe.
Mature trees on the line of flight – especially at a right-hand dogleg – can offer some natural protection.
Hazards such as bunkers, water, and long grass between the property lot and the fairway can also keep errant golf shots away.

Does the HOA have any rules against putting up protective barriers?
Quite often there are limitations as to what kind of protective barriers can be constructed or installed, that are both functional as well as pleasing to the eye and wallet. Researching the architectural covenants of the HOA should be an essential part of the due diligence.

How much of a factor is course maintenance and player traffic noise?
Proximity to the maintenance building (i.e. how early the maintenance equipment will be working near the home each day) is an item to consider. Generally speaking, the further from the maintenance building the later the equipment will be there each morning. If a course holds a lot of tournaments, especially “shotgun” starts, it will be early everywhere on the course.
The same can be said for golfer voices on tee boxes and greens – but golfers are usually not as noisy as mowing equipment.

Are there other location factors to keep in mind?
View corridors from various parts of the home, especially in the summer months.
Preferred orientation of the home – backyard sun or shade, driveway sun or shade, etc.

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