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The big variable of a retiree golf course community

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The dream of many retirees is a home in a golf course community, where connecting a brilliant driver with a perfectly dimpled ball on a lush green fairway is just another day in paradise.

But golf club membership is not easy in these communities and sometimes comes with high fees.

It helps to understand exactly what you are getting. Some golf courses can be owned by the community, while others can operate as a completely independent business. Because the attractiveness of these communities is often linked to the golf club, make sure your big green neighbor is in good financial health. If his business suffers, the value of your home could suffer.

Golf club membership scenarios run the gamut, says Cathy Harbin, president of OnCourse Operations, a golf management company based in Paris, Texas. through a promotion, they buy your initiation fee and the first few years of your membership, ”says Harbin, former vice president of golf for ClubCorp, which operates private clubs. “Or it could even be an optional situation, where you are offered a discount if you want to purchase a subscription. Of course, you may buy the house separately, and the membership has nothing to do with your purchase.

Typically, owner association fees and club fees are higher for private clubs, Harbin explains. At Desert Highlands, a community of private golf courses in Scottsdale, Ariz., Every owner must become a member of the club, says Joan Sykora, director of sales and member relations. This membership cost is $ 75,000 initiation fee and monthly HOA dues are $ 1,325.

At Ridgeview Ranch in Plano, TX, where the community’s golf club is public, members enjoy unlimited balls and discounts on rounds of golf at certain times, with the number of times increasing based on monthly membership fee, $ 49.95 or $ 69.95. There is no initiation fee and the HOA fee is $ 254 semi-annually with an additional $ 107 for a community neighborhood. In contrast, crowded games are more likely at a public club, and the courses may not be as difficult as those at a private club.

Still, membership fees can be the least of your problems if the golf club is in financial difficulty. When the Sanctuary Golf Club in Beaufort, South Carolina, closed in January 2019 and went into foreclosure, owners in the nearby community of Cat Island had reason to fear the worst. Home values ​​for communities with closed golf clubs can drop more than 20% in an average economy, says Jeff Pinckney, a part-time commercial real estate agent based in Beaufort.

Residents of Cat Island have been lucky because although the golf club was closed for about a year, it eventually found a new buyer and has since partially reopened, he says. As a result, home prices were not as affected.

Lakefront Living, On the Lake Realty, real estate agent Susan Akagi in Loudon, TN, says potential buyers can get a better idea of ​​where a community golf club is going by speaking to the club’s CFO. A golf course that has been around for a long time “often gives a greater sense of stability,” she adds. Additionally, most communities also include other amenities for non-golfing family members, which can help value real estate if something happens at the golf club.

Are communities worth it? For Janis Killion, in her sixties, they are, and she isn’t even a golf enthusiast. She lives in the community of Pine Mountain Lake in Groveland, Calif., Which along with a golf course also offers a swimming pool, tennis and pickleball courts, hiking trails, and a private lake for boating and boating. the Peach. A brokerage agent who sells real estate there and a former school district assistant, Killion finds that the community’s connection to nature matches her personality.

“Our kids love to play golf and it’s even better when they come to visit us,” she says. “Even if I don’t play, I want to. And living in a golf course community means it’s ready when I’m ready.

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