Monday, September 8, 2008
By Robert Lockard
Reposted from LuxuryRealEstate.com
When was the last time you heard someone brag about the luxury of living near the finest basketball arena in the world? Or the most prestigious football field? Chances are you have not. Despite these sports’ popularity, they are rarely connected with luxury. However, there is one sport whose fairways attract the gaze and praise of luxury seekers around the world: Golf. Few sport grounds enjoy the peculiar prestige of golf courses. Why? Perhaps it is because no two golf courses are the same. Most sports require a flat, dry surface with specified dimensions, while golf distinctly includes hills, trees, sand traps, bodies of water and other features to provide challenge and variety for golf enthusiasts. Perhaps golf courses are special because they occupy much more land than a typical sports arena. Whatever the reason, golf is uniquely linked to luxury lifestyle.
There are many ways to enjoy a luxury golf lifestyle. Casual golfers might enjoy their own private putting green or small course on their property to use on special occasions. Dedicated golfers who are attracted to the competitive nature of the sport, on the other hand, might prefer owning a property in a dynamic golf community to enjoy all of the advantages available only to residents. “The significance of golf-course communities extends beyond the obvious appeal of the course itself, which should not be discounted by any means,” says Johnny Phelps, Associate Broker with Harry Norman, Realtors in Atlanta. “But while the ‘club’ atmosphere has long provided a platform for social as well as business engagements, golf communities also present a much-desired consistency of appearance, a factor that has the appeal of long standing. It should also be noted that most golf communities are gated, providing an additional level of security that is paramount for the homeowners.” Of course, golf communities have changed over the years to appeal to a wider group of people with changing tastes. They continue to satisfy many people’s desire for world-class courses while also providing ample activities for those less interested in the sport, including family members seeking a fun vacation experience.
Many private and public golf communities have sprung up around the United States to cater to these changes in golfers’ preferences. A spectacular example is the Promontory Club in Park City, Utah, east of Salt Lake City. “With not one but two world-class courses by highly renowned designers, members here can spend a lifetime mastering the challenges of these courses,” says Melissa Garland, Marketing Director of Promontory. “When Jack Nicklaus was first invited to Promontory to select the area for his members-only Signature course, he was immediately drawn to the wide spaces in the valleys in the southwest side of the property. Nicklaus blended long fairways with the stream that runs through the area to create one of the longest and most breathtaking courses in Utah.” Not to be outdone, Promontory’s Pete Dye Signature course offers beautiful and challenging elevation changes as it wanders through the canyons on the north side of Promontory. Both courses provide players with awe-inspiring views of the surrounding mountain ranges, even as players try to keep their eyes on the ball. “Golf that is unique in both beauty and play is what attracts enthusiasts to Promontory,” Garland says. “The customer service and member care provided by the Promontory staff is second to none in the luxury, private-club market. Top-quality teaching staff and an ever-growing list of family-oriented golf activities make golf at Promontory the experience that every golf-loving family is seeking today.” As noted before, golf developments are often designed to please not only golf enthusiasts, but their families and casual golfers who are looking for a resort lifestyle. “Today’s golf-community buyer is younger, often with young children and with a wide variety of interests within each family,” Garland says. “The opportunity to bring families together in an environment that has not only world-class golf programs, but also a wide variety of member programs and virtually every outdoor activity is the biggest factor contributing to the popularity of such communities. When you combine a beautiful mountain retreat location with top-notch golf and one-of-a-kind homes, it’s not too difficult to see why Promontory is a leader in this market.”
Another amazing golf development is the PGA West country club in La Quinta, California, 40 minutes east of Palm Springs. Many of PGA West’s high-end properties are represented by Sandi Phillips of California Lifestyle Realty. Established in 1984, PGA West is a recreational/resort development consisting of more than 2,200 acres of world-class golf, tennis and fitness. PGA West currently hosts six golf courses designed by five of golf’s top designers: Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Greg Norman, Tom Weiskopf and Pete Dye. In fact, PGA West is the only private club in the world with two golf courses ranked in Golf Magazine’s 100 Greatest Courses in the World. This club is also noteworthy for hosting PGA Tour events every year since its inception in 1986. Beyond its world-class golf courses, PGA West offers members three expansive clubhouses, a health and racquet club, as well as plenty of social activities. Like a flower in the desert, PGA West’s lush green courses and vibrant bodies of water stand in stark contrast to the surrounding sea of sand. Both PGA West and Promontory have a unique challenge to maintain the green beauty of their golf courses despite their location in deserts. Golfers expect their golf courses to be kept in immaculate condition, so it is essential for luxury golf communities to be vigilant in this area. They meet this challenge by employing creative engineering tactics, investing a great deal of time and resources into the maintenance of their courses.
Moving beyond the desert into the Eastern United States, we find the one-and-only Pinehurst Resort, which is within walking distance of the Village of Pinehurst, North Carolina, west of Fort Bragg and Fayetteville. The Pinehurst Resort was originally designed in 1895 by Frederick Law Olmsted, the famed architect of New York City’s Central Park, and Donald Ross, an imaginative young man who went on to become known as “the father of modern golf architecture.” With a whopping eight golf courses on 2,000 acres of land, the Pinehurst Resort is a unique combination of old-fashioned charm and modern conveniences. While all eight golf courses in this resort are impressive in their own right, Ross’ Pinehurst No. 2 golf course, which was completed in 1907, is arguably the most prestigious in the country and certainly in North Carolina. This is quite a bold statement because the Village of Pinehurst is considered by many to be the traditional home of American golf, with 150 miles of fairway on 43 magnificent golf courses within a 15-mile radius. Pinehurst No. 2 is certainly worthy of this distinction, though. Maureen H. Clark, Broker with York Simpson Underwood, is representing an historic 1928 cottage located in a prime location at the 150-yard marker of the 5th fairway of Pinehurst No. 2. The 190 Midland Road cottage offered residents excellent views of both the 1999 and 2005 U.S. Opens hosted at Pinehurst and will do so again for the 2014 U.S. Men’s Tournament and many other upcoming high-profile events. It is currently listed for $2,350,000. In addition to golf, residents of the Pinehurst Resort can enjoy a variety of equestrian and other outdoor activities.
Opulent golf living is not solely found in luxury resorts. Those looking for a world-class golf experience on their own private course can find exactly what they’re looking for at Le Rêve, a 72-acre Atlanta estate inspired by King Louis XIV’s ineffable Château de Versailles, built in the 17th century near Paris. Le Rêve is being offered for $45,000,000 and is exclusively represented by James Simons, a top-ranked Agent of Jenny Pruitt & Associates, REALTORS®. This 47,000-square-foot, four-story palatial residence contains an astonishing 82 rooms, including a 27-seat movie theater, model train room, Brunswick two-lane bowling alley, 1950s-style diner and, most importantly, a virtual golf room. Imagine launching perfect drives down the fairway in the privacy of your own home. Simply amazing. Outside, the estate encompasses an impressive nine-hole golf course. Two of the course’s holes were modeled after the 11th and 12th greens at the Augusta National Golf Club, which hosts the Masters Tournament each year in Augusta, Georgia. The property also includes a 4.5-acre lake, horseback riding trails, amphitheater and lawn tennis court. All of these incredible features add up to a completely luxurious experience worthy of the finest golf resorts in the world.
Whether you desire old history or new innovations, privacy or prestige, challenge or fun, golf developments can provide exactly what you’re looking for. We’ve covered a small sampling of exceptional golf properties and resorts across the country, but there is no limit to the possibilities available. Returning to the question posed at the beginning of this article about why golf courses are considered so luxurious, perhaps the answer lies in the combination of their rich heritage, exclusive, coveted membership and serene locations. Take your best shot and discover for yourself why golf properties are such a stroke of genius!