Charlottesville’s Golf Course Communities

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Charlottesville’s Golf Course Communities

If you love golf and want to live near your favorite course, our area offers a lot of options.

Home buyers seeking a golf course community with a country club atmosphere can pick from neighborhoods such as Glenmore or the Estates at Keswick Hall where a newly designed course will open soon.  Public courses are available at Old Trail in Crozet or Stoney Creek, owned by Wintergreen, in Nelson County, while Spring Creek and Lake Monticello are good examples of semi-private options. If your goal is to enjoy spectacular views and cooler summer temperatures, the private course at Devil’s Knob on Wintergreen offers all of that. In winter when skiers take over, Nelson County golfers and their guests can still enjoy Stoney Creek, which is open most months of the year.

Local courses offer plenty of variety, with different kinds of challenges, scenery and topography. There is also variety in features such as water, sand or the types of grass used for the course. Golfers looking for a good game will have “no problem finding a place to play,” said Michael Guthrie Principal Broker for Roy Wheeler Realty Co.

Studies show that a golf course in your subdivision can positively impact the value of your home, and adjacent lots often bring substantially higher prices than those on nearby streets.  Communities with golf courses also benefit from the amount and quality of green space they offer.   Houses adjacent to the course enjoy extra privacy as well as a large and well manicured back yard which they don’t have to mow.  Those who live nearby can still enjoy the views and vistas when they are out and about their neighborhood.

Golf Courses Enhance Property Values

A neighborhood golf course can be a real advantage to homeowners whether or not they actually play the game.

People comparing several different neighborhoods may prefer one with a golf course because they consider the  “perceived value of the whole,” and are willing to pay more because they are getting more, said Barbara McCurry with Montague Miller and Co.

“A golf course can have a major impact on property values,” said Bo Newell with Mountain Area Realty.  While Wintergreen may be best known as a ski area, many people buy there for the golf courses.  Without them, he continued, the demand for property in this area would be less keeping property values lower.

In general actual golf course lots are considered more valuable, Newell said. He stated that an average golf course lot may have 25 percent more value than a comparable lot elsewhere in the same subdivision.  However, if the golf course lot also has other amenities such as the spectacular views available in Wintergreen, then the value may be as much as 50 or 75 percent more.

Marina Ringstrom, with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate III, lives in Glenmore and, while not a golfer herself, she appreciates what the course adds to the property values there.  For example, she estimates that lots on the golf course may have assessed values as much as $100,000 higher than those elsewhere in the subdivision.

There is another reason that helps explain why properties in golf communities can typically sell for more. Golf is not an inexpensive sport, and tends to attract people who are relatively more affluent.  In general this means they are also home buyers who can afford larger nicer homes and who are also willing to pay a little more to be conveniently located near their favorite course, explained Greg Slater with Nest Realty, a long time golfer.

Having a nearby golf course can benefit the whole area, said Julie Bendle who is an agent and director of marketing for Mountain Area Realty.  The public golf course at Stoney Creek is a big draw for people looking at homes in Nelson County, whether or not they actually live in that subdivision, she added.

Golf Courses Benefit Golfers and Non-Golfers Alike

Everyone in a community can benefit from what a golf course adds in the way of amenities and natural beauty.  Intangible benefits like these add to the popularity of golf course neighborhoods improving both the quality of life and the value of properties there.

“Golf courses add large amounts of green space, less density and better views,” said Denise Ramey with Roy Wheeler Realty, Co.  These benefits are attractive not only to golfers but to their neighbors who may not even own a set of clubs.

Having a golf course nearby is a big convenience for those who play regularly, Guthrie said.  However, the course also provides “wonderful open areas and lots of common ground which is not developed.”  The result is home owners can enjoy lovely extended views rather than looking into someone else’s back yard.  The vistas are also nice for people taking early morning walks or riding their bike through the area, and golfers who are taking a day off may be able to sit on their deck and enjoy watching others play.

When a golf course is your back yard you can enjoy “no maintenance and a lot of privacy,” Ringstrom said.  Golf courses usually also come with other associated amenities, such as a club with tennis courts, workout facilities or a community pool.  She added that the gated community of Glenmore may be unique in being the only one in the country that has both a golf course and an on-site equestrian facility.

“You don’t have to be a golfer to enjoy the activities on the course and the changing scenery it provides,” Ringstrom added.  One of her favorite golf course sights is the giant fountains that come on at night when they turn on the watering system.  “The fountains put out big spinning plumes that are fun to watch,” she continued.

It was the natural beauty of Devils Knob at Wintergreen that caused Steve Marianella with Roy Wheeler Realty Co. and his family to become one of 150 households who live on the mountain year round.  Marianella was introduced to golf at a very early age and had always dreamed of living on a course. Eventually he and his family relocated from Richmond and moved into what was once their second home and where today they can enjoy all four seasons of the Wintergreen lifestyle.

“Wintergreen is a very natural environment with wild life, birds, and beautiful wild flowers,” Marianella said.  “All of that enhances the golf course views and experience.”  He also enjoys the convenience of living right on the course where he practices putts on the green at his back yard after other golfers are through for the day.

If you are looking for the perfect lot right on the golf course, Guthrie suggests avoiding locations subject to a lot of errant shots.  Most golfers will know which locations to watch out for, he said, but if you don’t play, ask your agent for help, or knock on the doors of people in the areas where you might buy a home.

On the plus side, if your yard is a recipient of errant shots, “you may never have to worry about buying golf balls,” Guthrie joked.

Golf is for Everyone

Golfing is a social activity that appeals to people from young children to retirees.  It also brings people together and helps build a sense of community.

People moving to this area will not have a problem finding a place to get to know others through golf, Guthrie said, adding that golfers looking for reasonable cost places to play will find them.  One great option is the Spring Creek golf course, which Golf Digest rated as the best new affordable public course in America in 2007 and in 2011 as number 70 in the top 100 public courses.

Many golf related amenities are available in our area including clinics and good teaching professionals for people serious about improving their game as well as special opportunities such as twilight leagues for working people who play late in the day because of business commitments.

A year ago noted golf pro Kandi Comer,  named one of the top 5 teachers in the state of Virginia by Golf Digest, moved her golf academy to Old Trail.   Today many children participate in junior golf clinics and after school programs and take part in team golf. Her popular program for junior golfers, which Slater said, “sailed off the charts,” attracted over 25 kids in the first spring clinic alone.  When it comes to golf at Old Trail, Comer is “a game changer,” Slater continued.

Since she is affiliated with a public course like Old Trail, a golf pro with Comer’s following can reach out and bring in lots of new people, Guthrie added, who may then ultimately become homeowners there.

The Market in Golf Course Communities

“Golf course communities are in a better place than they were in a year ago,” Guthrie said.  As the economy recovers, more people are playing because they have money to spend.  This means there is also more money to put towards improving the golf courses which in turn brings more people out to play.

Lake Monticello recently repaired their course, which was damaged due to extreme heat in 2010.  Thanks to the recent renovations, the Faulconer Invitational Golf Tournament returned there this year. These improvements, and the attention paid to neighborhoods like Lake Monticello as a result, will also bring more home buyers to the area Guthrie said.  He referenced the newly redesigned course at Keswick Estates which he said will cause buyers to want to move there.

Do people choose a community because of the golf course?  Marianella said that it is definitely a factor as many people choose to “buy where they like to play.”

One of Ramey’s clients recently bought a house in Spring Creek after checking out the other options.  In the end he bought there in large part because he was impressed by the quality of the course, which is said to reflect the “leading edge of design.”  Spring Creek homeowners can also take advantage of special rates and other benefits available to people who live there.

Something for Everyone

When it comes to golf communities there are housing options to meet every need, and buyers can choose from a variety of home styles and price ranges.

Proximity to the golf course offers other kinds of benefits. At Old Trail, golfers have the choice to walk to the driving range and friends and relatives can walk to the course to watch them play. In Glenmore’s gated community, private roads mean homeowners who want to leave their cars in the garage can ride to the course in golf carts.

Regardless of your needs, you will find what you are looking for in one of Charlottesville’s golf course communities.  Call your REALTOR® today for more information.

Celeste Smucker is a writer, blogger and author. She lives near Charlottesville.

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