Buying a Golf Home in a Battle Zone

Capon Springs and the Lost Barrel Brewery.

A flying golf ball is a dangerous weapon, and if a glass window, aluminum siding, or your head gets in its way, the golf ball almost always wins. In my 20 years visiting and reviewing golf communities, I have heard the many stories of homeowner angst about golf balls landing on their properties. One time, when my own ball landed in someone’s backyard and I was met with the snarling attitude of the owner, I was glad I had a golf club in my hand. (He, at least, did not have a gun showing.)

Golfer.

What were those homeowners thinking when they chose the locations of their homes? Brutal truths: your home will be mere feet from the edge of the golf course. Golf is played with a small, round ball that is rock-hard. Not all golfers hit a ball as straight as Tiger Woods in his prime. Was the extent of your research, “Oh, what a nice view?”

Some golf-home-owners in harm’s way obviously feel stupid about their choices and opt to keep quiet, but they do take precautions. One such antidote, let’s just say it, is ugly but effective: the placement of plexiglass over the windows on the most vulnerable sides of a home. But have you ever tried to look out a plexiglass window when the sun is at the wrong angle? Or through the stains that always cover plexiglass?  If you bought your house for the view, forget that. Maybe just take your chances with glass windows.

Fence.

The most absurd-looking protection scheme I have encountered was on a private Greenville, SC, golf course. I was joined for my round by the owner of the club. At the tee box on the fourth hole, a par 4 with a hard dogleg right about 175 yards from the tee, a sign said, “Please do not try to cut the corner. Children are at risk. You are responsible.”  Talk about an intimidating tee shot.

“What’s up with that?” I asked the owner about the sign. He responded: “Wait until we get up there [to the corner].” When we did, I saw a house with a sizable backyard, children’s jungle gyms and toy sets, and a net covering everything from the opposite side of the house to the back edge of the property. “They were going to sue us if we didn’t put up the sign,” the club owner told me.

In my 20 years helping couples find their dream golf homes, there are only a few “nevers” I insist they consider.  Never start your search without agreeing whether you want to live in the mountains, near the ocean, or somewhere in between. Never let perfect be the enemy of good; if you find a community and a home that will make you happy, go for it. And never, ever buy a home on a golf course that will be between 100 and 275 yards from any tee box. Or, if you do, buy a couple of army-issue helmets.

Larry Gavrich is the founder and editor of Home On The Course, LLC and the author of Glorious Back Nine: How to Find Your Dream Golf Home (available in print and electronic versions at Amazon.com). Larry also maintains GolfCommunityReviews.com, a blog site where he publishes articles about golfing lifestyle issues and reviews of golf communities. A licensed real estate agent, Larry provides no-obligation advice to couples searching for homes in golf communities. He can be reached at editor@homeonthecourse.com.

Article posted by Jefferson Burgess on behalf of Larry Gavrich.

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