Private Golf Communities are Quickly Becoming the Preferred Destination for Diehard Players. Here’s Why.
The notion that avid golfers – defined by the National Golf Foundation as “golf nuts” who play more than 12 times a year – should choose to live in a golf community seems logical.
In fact, it’s remarkably obvious. Almost shockingly, however, this prevailing wisdom hasn’t exactly prevailed over the past decade.
A recent survey conducted by Private Communities Register revealed that only 30% of residents in golf course developments were members of that communities’ golf club.
And when it comes to retirement and / or relocation in recent years, a large percentage of folks don’t tend to look for a home and golf club together.
According to Golf Life Navigators (GLN), a club and community matching service, only 59% of those completing its proprietary “ProGuide” survey in 2019 combined their search for a new golf club and residence.
But along came 2020, and everything changed.
In a matter of months, golf surged in popularity, people started working remotely and avid golfers almost immediately changed course and sought to “bundle” their home and golf club searches.
By the end of last year, GLN reported nearly 80% of its clients combined their search for a new residence and new golf club. Not only that but demand to live inside a gated (or private) community increased 63%.
At Champion Hills, both of these trends have been in full effect since last summer and show no signs of slowing down in 2021. Simply put, private golf communities have become the preferred destination for diehard players.
Here are five reasons avid golfers feel right at home at our premier Hendersonville, North Carolina-based private community and club.
1. Pure Golf Experience
Survey after survey of avid golfers indicates these core players (who generate 80% of all golf rounds) value golf course design and conditions above all else. Champion Hills’ Tom Fazio-designed Mountain Masterpiece checks both of these boxes.
Architecturally, Fazio’s seminal layout was recently ranked among the top 100 residential courses in the U.S. by Golfweek. Golf Digest ranks it No. 15 in-state and the No. 1 year-round course in Western North Carolina. This summer we’ll also be hosting the prestigious North Carolina Golf Panel, which ranks the top 100 courses in the state.
And when it comes to agronomy, members relish the course’s pure bentgrass playing surface, which unlike the Bermuda grass just 45 minutes south in Upstate South Carolina, is green year-round.
2. The Math Makes Sense
“In recent years, many golfers thought they wouldn’t play enough to justify joining a club, so they bought homes in neighborhoods or developments without a golf course,” says Champion Hills General Manager Dana Schultz. “But with golf participation hitting a record high in 2020, and hours becoming more flexible, golfers are fully grasping the value of a full golf membership at a private club.”
And many of those avid golfer prospects are getting younger. In response to a seismic shift in demand by those 55 and under, Champion Hills recently rolled out its “Equity 55” membership featuring full access to golf, tennis, fitness and dining.
“They view the initiation fee as an upfront investment in the club, and they’re exactly right,” Schultz says. “Monthly dues cover golf, tennis, fitness, swimming and access to golf leagues, events and social activities. Viewed through that lens, joining the club makes so much sense.”
3. Property Premiums
Golf courses add considerable value to private clubs and the surrounding real estate. And for individual property owners they provide substantial lot premiums while also offering unobstructed views, access to open space and tranquility.
Moreover, Fazio-designed courses (along with Jack Nicklaus Signature Courses) deliver more economic benefits to property owners than any other golf course architect. It’s no accident that over a third of the courses in Golfweek’s Top 100 Residential Courses are Fazio designed.
“Golf course homes are a low risk, high-yield investment,” says Mary Kay Buhrke, a Realtor with Beverly-Hanks Champion Hills sales team. “Especially golf courses in private communities, which are typically protected and preserved by zoning and covenants, codes and restrictions.”
4. Friends for Life
For every quantitative justification for buying a home – and joining the golf club – in a private community, there are even more qualitative reasons. After enduring a pandemic unlike any other in recent history, many people are placing an increased emphasis on long-lasting friendships and personal connections.
Champion Hills offers members a variety of ways to meet other members with similar values, passions and pursuits, no matter if they are beginner golfers or experienced players. From its “Get into Golf” to skins games and challenge leagues, there’s a golf group for everyone, including “Chicks with Sticks” for ladies who love the game.
“Very quickly [at Champion Hills] people introduced themselves to us and found out what we were interested in,” says Pat Van Laar who along with her husband Tom are residents and golf members. “Tom and I are both golfers and tennis players [and] I play bridge. I got connected with people who did all those things, [was] invited to play and found myself quickly making friends. I thought it would take a while and it really didn’t take long at all.”
5. Game Improvement Matters
From the PGA of America and United States Golf Association (USGA), to Golf Digest and GOLF Magazine Top 100 teachers, the experts all agree: the better you get as a golfer, the more likely you are to enjoy and stick with the game.
Keep in mind, golf “advocacy” in terms of playing frequency doesn’t necessarily equate to lower scores. As the saying goes, “poor practice habits lead to poor performance.” Access to game improvement – facilities, training and instruction – are hallmarks of most private golf clubs.
At Champion Hills, golf members have access to our driving range, multiple practice putting greens and short game area. Our top-notch golf instruction is led by PGA Class A Professional Scooter Buhrman, who in addition to running golf operations is an accomplished player in the Carolinas PGA Section.
Our Wellness Center is staffed by two fitness professionals, including certified trainer and wellness director Mackenzie Jones. Jones and her team design fitness and mobility programs to keep golfers of all ages playing their best golf while avoiding injuries that could keep them off the course.
“It’s amazing to think that golfers can join Champion Hills in their 40s or 50s and play for another 30 or 40 years,” Schultz says.
At Champion Hills, avid golfers are primed to give it their best shot.