We’ve all seen the images – the rolling greens, with golfers enjoying the day in the peacefulness of Mother Nature’s finest work. Perhaps you already live on the perimeter of a course in a prominent golf community or have had the pleasure of visiting friends who have bought their dream home on the green.
There are many benefits to this lifestyle. New courses and surrounding communities spring up around the country every year, much to the delight of the truly dedicated golfers and duffers alike.
However, with the tranquility and beauty come to the hazards – and not the bunker and water type.
One woman who lived on a golf course gathered a considerable collection of errant golf balls that had made their way into her yard – all 1,800 of them! She carted them into the courtroom when she used the course for damage to her home and car. Even the people working on her landscaping had to wear hard hats for protection.
In this case, the court ruled that golfers wandering through yards to find their balls, and the balls themselves, were trespassing. A settlement was reached and the golf course agreed to shorten the 9th hole, which would keep the woman’s home out of the line of fire.
This is not always the result as most courts rule that homeowners assume risk when they move next to a golf course. There are several ways to educate yourself when making the decision to purchase a home link-side.
1. Do you love the course you will be living beside? Play it a few times before you buy to make sure you won’t be bored after only a few months.
2. Are your neighbors the type of people you will enjoy socializing with? Spend time in the clubhouse or attend functions to meet the locals and get hints about your new home territory. Will you get involved with the community’s associations and event planning?
3. Will the mandatory fees break your budget? There are several common fees associated with golf communities, including membership, social club, homeowners association and food purchases. Just like other strata living situations, special assessments may arise, from minor repairs to major renovations.
4. Will noises bother you over time? There is a reason golf courses look so good – the constant maintenance from grounds personnel, including mowers at the break of dawn and sprinklers in the evening. Then there is the occasional blue streak cursing from frustrated golfers playing near your yard.
5. Can you live with the rules and regulations? Check out the fine print in the contract you’re signing. Is the community pet-friendly? Will your color scheme and outdoor decorating plans clash with the status quo of the neighborhood? Can you have guests, and where can they park?
6. If golf balls show up regularly in your yard, will you happily collect them or feel the anger growing? Dodging the occasional ball is par for the course (no pun intended) when buying a home in a golf environment.
On the up side, most golf communities are prestigious and offer a relaxing and enjoyable lifestyle. You may even be a part of the club that hosts the next great tournament and be able to rub elbows with golf superstars. If you are lucky enough to live beside one of the greens, you will have front row seats to tournaments that come through your town.
Living in a golf community is the dream for many active retirees, and there are plenty of options to choose from. It pays, in the long run, to do your due diligence to make sure that your swing (decision) won’t cost you a stroke or two in your game of life.