It’s happening: young people are settling in golf communities


This article is reproduced with permission from The escape house, a newsletter for secondary owners and those who want to be. Subscribe here. © 2021. All rights reserved.

Just over a year ago, private golf communities were concerned about their future appeal to homebuyers. Then came the Covid-19. Then came the potential buyers. Then came the waiting lists and inflated house prices.

Scottsdale, Arizona.

Phil Johnson with Pro Visuals Media for Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty

“It’s gone from starvation to party,” said Jason Becker, CEO and co-founder of South Florida-based Golf Life Navigators. “At this time last year the club industry was very volatile as we didn’t know how members would react to Covid, the economy and the political landscape. Then the golf took off. It went from one extreme to the other. “

A number of factors came together to form this perfect real estate storm. Interest rates are still at historically low levels. The stock market has risen dramatically over the past 10 months. More and more people are working remotely, which means they can live anywhere. And emotionally, people want to feel safe and to be in a controlled environment that gives them the opportunity to spend time outdoors.

“We are certainly seeing increased interest among buyers looking to buy a home in golf communities,” said Philip White, President and CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty. “The pandemic has accelerated plans for people planning to retire or semi-retire in areas where they can also play golf, like Scottsdale, Arizona, Florida, and more. “

Scottsdale, Arizona.

Phil Johnson with Pro Visuals Media for Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty

Sotheby’s International Realty’s most recent Luxury Outlook report revealed that more than ever, consumers are drawn to homes that enhance their lifestyle.

“This is especially true among millennials who often gravitate to listings and locations that match their active, entertainment-oriented hobbies,” White said.

Which leads to another new development: golf is no longer just your grandfather’s sport. Younger people also buy golf clubs.

“In the past people would say, ‘I don’t want to live in Del Boca Vista like Jerry Seinfeld’s parents,’” Becker said. Now the likes of Del Boca Vista look more appealing. “I can be outside and not be isolated,” he said. “It gave the clubs such a great opportunity. These club communities are going to be in a good position in the future. “

Newport Beach, California

Modern shot for Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty

Closed golf communities had the right formula for resisting the pandemic. They already offered a lot of green space for outdoor activities. But many have also instituted policies such as requiring guests to show proof of negative Covid tests and closing meals indoors in favor of home food delivery from the clubhouse.

To make their communities more attractive, they also added amenities.

John Jorritsma, director of sales and marketing at The Club at Ibis in West Palm Beach, Fla., Said the club has added more outdoor seating for dining, an outdoor gym, a kitchen d summer with a pizza oven for outdoor dining and virtual fitness classes. . Members were allowed to ride on their own in carts.

The club also added more takeout options, and its food truck, called Fork in the Road, delivered ice cream and frozen margaritas to members.

“We bought the food truck before Covid. However, it was the perfect timing as it was in heavy daily use during Covid since our indoor dining room closed, ”Jorritsma said. “We’ve always had take out food, but our orders have grown exponentially during Covid. “

It seems to have paid off. From July 1, 2020 to July 1 of this year, the club made 197 home sales. Historically, it has averaged 110 home sales per year. Of the club’s 1,840 accommodations, only 16 are available; less than 1% of inventory.

The ironic result or the silver lining of a terrible situation – however you want to look at it: “Covid could have saved the closed golf community,” Becker said.

Addison Reserve Country Club, Delray Beach, Florida.

Golf Life Navigators

Data from Golf Life Navigators shows that Scottsdale, Arizona; Naples, Florida; Palm Beach, Florida and Hilton Head, SC, are the most popular community golf markets. But markets like Houston, Sarasota, Florida, and western North Carolina are all growing.

Here’s another proof of the industry’s current success:

  • As of January 2020, 49% of the more than 7,000 buyers in 15 Sun Belt states (Alabama, California, Georgia, Nevada, to name a few) wanted or intended to live in communities. of golf. After Covid, demand increased to 62% of the market. That’s a 13% change in about 12 months, Becker said.

  • The December 2021 rounds of golf increased by more than 37% nationally, according to Golf Datatech’s monthly report, via the National Golf Foundation. Overall, the game in 2020 is up 13.9% from 2019, bringing the year-end total to around 500 million rounds despite the spring course closures. Private club play increased 19.9% ​​year-over-year, according to the National Golf Foundation.

  • Focusing only on non-retired grassroots golfers, 70 percent said they had worked remotely at least some of the time in the past year, and the majority found it easier to go out to play golf, according to the National Golf Foundation. Half said they played more golf than usual, especially in the late afternoon and early evening.

  • Searches from Jan. 1 to June 30 of this year for golf properties saw an increase of 128.26% over the same period in 2020, according to

  • The demand for golf houses is not keeping up with the supply. In Highlands, North Carolina, the Cullasaja Club would typically have 25 to 30 homes for sale in the years leading up to the pandemic. There are currently six homes, said Doug Treadwell, broker-owner of Blue Ocean Real Estate Group in Naples and Pensacola, Fla., And the Highlands, North Carolina. At Bonita Bay Development in Bonita Springs, Florida, before the pandemic, there would typically be 300 properties for sale in all segments. Today there are only 21 houses in total for sale.

Of course, the problem of supply and demand means that house prices have gone up. Becker said the average price for a community golf house in the Sun Belt States ranges from $ 500,000 to $ 1 million.

“People buy golf houses without seeing them just by watching FaceTime with realtors and paying a premium,” Becker said.

Treadwell is seeing the same trend in its markets.

“Three years ago, a house that would sell for $ 1 million is now worth $ 1.5 million,” he said.

He doesn’t expect that to change immediately.

“If I have to work from home, I would rather work in a golf course community where I can work and play in the afternoon or get up early in the morning and play before I start working,” he said. . “I expect this market, from the level of buyer interest, to last another 12 to 18 months.”

Newport Beach, California

Modern shot for Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty

If you are looking to buy a golf community property, here are some tips from our experts:

Visit the community. Don’t get carried away by the hype and buy a property without physically entering it. Talk to other owners and explore the area.

Meet with the Membership Director to ask questions. Becker recommends them: Have there been, or are there, any capital improvements under discussion? If so, what is the master plan and how much? Is this something I will have to pay in terms of evaluation, or does the club have the resources to fund the project?

Find out what amenities the club has to offer other than a golf course. Is there a swimming pool? What are the dining options? What are the wellness and fitness offers? Are these developments likely to increase property values?

Be clear about what your homeowners association covers or membership fees.

How private is the private community?

What are the COVID precautions?

Consider working with a certified golf realtor who can filter options based on club demands and real estate desires. Golf Life Navigators designed the educational platform and certified 500 agents in the past 36 months. Agents are located from Hawaii to Australia via Pittsburgh and can be found at

This article is reproduced with permission from The escape house, a newsletter for secondary owners and those who want to be. Subscribe here. © 2021. All rights reserved.


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