Our Annual List of the Best Places to Live—and Live Well.
Junior golfers under the tutelage of resident pro Hank Johnson outplay their parents at a young age. A true golf spirit pervades this leafy and genteel property. Golf: 36 holes (Bob Cupp, Rees Jones). Recent Home Listings: $350,000 to $2 million. Contact: 205-986-5120, greystonecc.com.
Shoal Creek, Shoal Creek
Celebrating thirty years of camaraderie and competition, Shoal Creek is set to host the USGA Junior Amateur in July. Equestrian sports and fishing in stocked ponds are recreational highlights. Golf: 27 holes (Jack Nicklaus). Recent Home Listings: $800,000 to $4.5 million. Contact: 205-991-4653, shoal-creek.com.
Blackstone Country Club, Peoria
The highlight of 2007 here was the opening of Blackstone's 30,000-square-foot Hacienda clubhouse. A new hot spot on cool desert nights is an outdoor cantina with flat-screen televisions and fire pits. Youth is well served—lots of kid-friendly programming. The course is one of the finest in the West Valley. Golf: 18 holes (Jim Engh). Recent Home Listings: $450,000 to $2 million. Contact: 800-617-5301, blackstonecountryclub.com.
Desert Highlands, Scottsdale
It's been twenty-five years since developer Lyle Anderson first threw open the gates at this pioneer desert community. About 500 of the original 560 homesites are either built on or are under construction. The culinary program here is serious business, overseen by maestro chef Michael Hoobler. Golf: 18 holes (Jack Nicklaus). Recent Home Listings: $995,000 to $8 million. Contact: 480-585-7444, deserthighlandsscottsdale.com.
Desert Mountain, Scottsdale
Ennui is impossible in a community with six separate golf clubs, each with its own theme, from Tuscan to Southwestern. Grass tennis courts complement the golf juggernaut. Golf: 108 holes (Jack Nicklaus). Recent Home Listings: $600,000 to $7.6 million. Contact: 800-322-0044, desertmountain.com.
Forest Highlands, Flagstaff
Other than houseguests asking you to show them the Grand Canyon and old Route 66, life in this gated, piney retreat is hard to beat. Member tournaments and social events fill the season. Golf: 36 holes (Jay Morrish/Tom Weiskopf; Tom Weiskopf). Recent Home Listings: $595,000 to $3.2 million. Contact: 928-556-8606, dmbrealty.com.
Golf here is a catered affair. The eighth tee has a chef's station where light snacks, like Reuben quesadillas, are skillfully prepared. On the fourth and thirteenth holes, filet mignon jerky awaits. At eighteen you'll be handed a scented towel, either warm or cool, depending on the season. Golf: 18 holes (Tom Fazio). Recent Home Listings: $1.5 million to $6 million. Contact: 866-647-2235, mirabel.com.
The Rim Golf Club, Payson
Along with the small-town atmosphere, residents find a big-city service culture. Everything from personal grocery shopping to secretarial services can be ordered with a phone call at this Crescent Resources development seventy-five minutes from Scottsdale. Golf: 18 holes (Jay Morrish/Tom Weiskopf). Recent Home Listings: $1 million to $2.7 million. Contact: 800-311-5370, therimgolfclub.com.
Seven Canyons, Sedona
Ball-beating rises to a state of aesthetic bliss at this community's Practice Park, set amid red-rock mountainsides and soon to be enhanced by a studio providing on-site club fitting. Golf: 18 holes (Tom Weiskopf). Recent Home Listings: $2.5 million to $3.5 million. Contact: 866-694-8844, sevencanyons.com.
Stone Canyon, Oro Valley
Poised at three thousand feet alongside cleft-rock walls and boulder-strewn bumps, the golf course is a visual knockout. A 44,000-square-foot clubhouse is in the works. Golf: 18 holes (Jay Morrish). Recent Home Listings: $1 million to $4 million. Contact: 877-219-9100, stonecanyon.com.
Superstition Mountain, Gold Canyon
Plans are set for continued hosting of the LPGA Tour's Safeway event and construction of an expanded sports club (to open in 2009), with space for personal training, spa treatments and a pool. Golf: 36 holes (Jack Nicklaus). Recent Home Listings: $599,000 to $2.5 million. Contact: 877-983-3300.
The Bridges at Rancho Santa Fe, Rancho Santa Fe
This is the sort of place where Marvin Hamlisch provides evening entertainment and a cadre of boutique vintners shows up to offer private tastings. Members and culinary staff recently teamed up to build an organic herb garden. Golf: 18 holes (Robert Trent Jones Jr.). Recent Home Listings: $2 million to $7 million. Contact: 858-756-8700, thebridgesrsf.com.
The Crosby At Rancho Santa Fe, Rancho Santa Fe
A hushed enclave of tile roofs, white stucco and well-tended palms. A forty-three-residence neighborhood is due to open next year across from the sports club. Golf: 18 holes (Fred Couples/Schmidt-Curley). Recent Home Listings: $1.2 million to $5 million. Contact: 858-759-7220, thecrosby.com.
The Hideaway, La Quinta
Two eighteen-hole golf courses provide variety, yet membership is by invitation only and bestows equity. Serving a community of fewer than five hundred homes is a massive clubhouse with a full-service spa and dining. Golf: 36 holes (Clive Clark, Pete Dye). Recent Home Listings: $1.7 million to $4.5 million. Contact: 760-777-7400, hideawaygolfclub.com.
Tahoe in all its Gothic woodland beauty, with two pools, clay-court tennis, a fitness center and a restaurant said to serve the finest cuisine on the entire North Shore. Golf: 27 holes (Tom Weiskopf). Recent Home Listings: $1.5 million to $5 million. Contact: 800-582-9919, lahontanrealty.com.
Mayacama, Santa Rosa
Old Greenwood, Truckee
Constructed according to the strict standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council. Villa owners take advantage of low-maintenance luxury as well as membership in Tahoe Mountain Club. Golf: 18 holes (Jack Nicklaus). Recent Home Listings: $1.2 million to $3.3 million. Contact: 800-754-3070, oldgreenwood.com.
The Quarry, La Quinta
Intimate and exclusive, with inspiring views of the Santa Rosa Mountains. No tee times needed, and you can put your guests up in superior lodge rooms, with golf and the spa just steps away. Golf: 28 holes (Tom Fazio). Recent Home Listings: $1.4 million to $4.8 million. Contact: 760-777-1100, quarryinfo.com.
Santa Lucia Preserve, Carmel
Santaluz, San Diego
Remote homesites offer privacy. A sports and activity center named the Hacienda, sited opposite a village green, anchors this coastal community. Golf: 18 holes (Rees Jones). Recent Home Listings: $1.2 million to $9 million. Contact: 858-759-3109, santaluz.com.
Sherwood, Thousand Oaks
An elite address where they fuss over every detail while maintaining a masculine, clubby air. To see how its courses hold up against greatness, attend the Target World Challenge and follow Tiger Woods around. Golf: 18 holes (Jack Nicklaus). Recent Home Listings: $3.6 million to $15 million. Contact: 805-373-5992, sherwoodcc.com.
Stone Eagle, Palm Desert
Tom Doak's course design sets a tone of rugged refinement here. From the gatehouse to a golfers-only refuge called the Aerie, the building architecture uses dusky pigments and petrous forms. Doak's course occupies a site that was barely walkable before the bulldozers rolled in. Golf: 19 holes (Tom Doak). Recent Home Listings: $2 million to $5 million. Contact: 760-773-6223, stoneeagleclub.com.
Most small-town mayors who build a posh clubhouse and Jay Morrish golf course high above Pacific waters would have to be investigated. Clint Eastwood escapes that fate. A twenty-eight-acre estate parcel was recently available. Golf: 18 holes (Jay Morrish). Recent Home Listings (lots only): $2.5 million to $6.2 million. Contact: 831-625-2075, tehamagolfclub.com.
Tradition, La Quinta
Inside the golf clubhouse are century-old Talavera tiles and hand-crafted Spanish light fixtures. Where orange trees once grew is an eighteen-hole course designed by major-domo Arnold Palmer, plus a nine-hole par-three where Palmer has surely scooped up a tidy sum now and again. Golf: 27 holes (Arnold Palmer). Recent Home Listings: $1.9 million to $6.8 million. Contact: 760-564-3355, traditiongolfclub.net.
The Vintage Club, Indian Wells
A parklike landscape rather than desert scrub surrounds the club's 85,000-square-foot clubhouse (in which the entire membership can be seated at once). Remodeled pool, showers and locker rooms make a splash with residents. Golf: 36 holes (Tom Fazio). Recent Home Listings: $4.2 million to $26 million. Contact: 760-346-5566, vintageclubsales.com.
Redlands Mesa, Grand Junction
The golf season isn't year-round, but the club tournament slate is busy from May to October. Jim Engh's star has risen all the higher since he debuted this course in 2001 and set off a rockslide of awards. Golf: 18 holes (Jim Engh), public. Recent Home Listings: $600,000 to $3 million. Contact: 877-501-6372, redlandsmesa.com.
Red Sky Ranch, Wolcott
Designed for people who get equally psyched by the number-one stroke hole and a double-black-diamond trail. You can sample the community by booking a stay-and-play package at its resort lodge. Golf: 36 holes (Tom Fazio, Greg Norman). Recent Home Listings: $2.8 million to $6 million. Contact: 877-973-3759, redskyranch.com.
Roaring Fork Club, Basalt
If you wish to become a scratch fly-fisherman and you can't manage to in this community—with its on-property Orvis dealership, eight stocked ponds, seven-person pro fishing staff and special Forest Service permit—then it wasn't meant to be. Golf: 18 holes (Jack Nicklaus). Recent Home Listings: $2.2 million to $2.6 million. Contact: 970-927-9000, roaringforkclub.com.
Amelia Island Plantation, Amelia Island
When the kids get past middle school, will they still want to vacation in that small, sedate community where you bought a second home?The sprawling resort ambience of Amelia Island is a proven teen-pleaser—a point worth pondering. Golf: 72 holes (Pete Dye, Tom Fazio, Tom Jackson, Bobby Weed). Recent Home Listings: $650,000 to $3 million. Contact: 888-261-6161, aipfl.com.
The Bear's Club, Jupiter
Bonita Bay, Bonita Springs
Esperia South, with its nine penthouses and twenty-seven residences, is the newest gleaming fixture on the landscape here. Lock-and-leave luxury, if that's what you're after. Golf: 90 holes (Tom Fazio, Arthur Hills). Recent Home Listings: $816,000 to $3 million. Contact: 800-277-4119, bonitabay.com.
The Concession Golf Club & Residences, Bradenton
A third Ryder Cup captain, Paul Azinger, has become a member of this Jack Nicklaus/Tony Jacklin–inspired club. Members have the use of a fifty-three-foot Selene motor yacht for cruising gulf waters. Golf: 18 holes (Jack Nicklaus). Recent Home Listings: $2.5 million to $4 million. Contact: 866-951-6484, theconcession.com.
The Estates at Bay Colony Golf Club, Naples
The golf course borders Cocohatchee Strand Nature Preserve and is complemented by a two-level Carolina-style clubhouse with wraparound veranda for sunset storytelling. Golf: 18 holes (Robert von Hagge). Recent Home Listings: $3.3 million to $7 million. Contact: 239-592-9515, theestatesatbaycolonygolfclub.com.
Fiddler's Creek, Naples
While Everglades restoration work stalls, this 4,000-acre community is gamely preserving vast wetlands and restoring historic water-flow patterns. The original Arthur Hills course has matured well, and a second course, by Hurdzan/Fry, remains in the works. Members enjoy gulf-beach rights at the private Tarpon Club on the nearby Isle of Capri. Golf: 18 holes (Arthur Hills). Recent Home Listings: $400,000 to $5 million. Contact: 800-583-7536, fiddlerscreek.com.
The Founders Club, Sarasota
Escaping south for the winter means mandatory cart-riding for most club golfers, but here an active caddie program lets you avoid that fate. Along with golf, there are tennis courts, a fitness facility, an outdoor recreation center, massage-therapy rooms, and formal and informal dining in the grand Golf Hall clubhouse. Golf: 18 holes (Robert Trent Jones Jr.). Recent Home Listings: $1.2 million to $5.8 million. Contact: 866-508-0900, thefoundersclub.com.
Grey Oaks, Naples
There's not a bougainvillea leaf out of place in this mature, 1,230-acre community. A phase of 3,500-square-foot coach homes was recently released, starting at less than $1 million. Golf: 54 holes (Bob Cupp, Lloyd Clifton/Ken Ezell/George Clifton). Recent Home Listings: $895,000 to $5 million. Contact: 800-294-2426, greyoaks.com.
John's Island, Vero Beach
Lake Nona, Orlando
Among the many allures of this lakeside refuge is a handsome eighteen-room guest lodge adjacent to the clubhouse. Once set off in an empty section of town, it is now surrounded by conveniences, including a major medical center. Golf: 18 holes (Tom Fazio). Recent Home Listings: $1 million to $8 million. Contact: 407-851-9091, lakenona.com.
The Loxahatchee Club, Jupiter
This was the site of the 1992 U.S. Senior Amateur and is home to a brand-new recreation center, including complete fitness facilities, steam room, massage-treatment rooms plus tennis and pool. Golf: 18 holes (Jack Nicklaus). Recent Home Listings: $535,000 to $3 million. Contact: 561-747-5990, loxahatcheeclubrealty.com.
The Medalist Golf Club, Hobe Sound
A twelve-foot shark caught by Greg Norman hangs over the bar in the men's locker room. Service is exemplary throughout. Look for Greg's helipad on your left as you drive to the clubhouse. Golf: 30 holes (Pete Dye/Greg Norman; Greg Norman). Recent Home Listings: $1.9 million to $4.2 million. Contact: 772-545-9700, medalistgolfclub.org.
The center of activities here is the 25,000-square-foot clubhouse. Private beach clubs, formal and casual dining, plus a sports club and a lakeside performance pavilion make up a diverse amenity package. The developer is Bonita Bay Group. Golf: 36 holes (Tom Fazio). Recent Home Listings: $600,000 to $7.8 million. Contact: 888-888-1404, mediterra naples.com.
Mirasol, Palm Beach Gardens
Just a hint of resort glamour—stadium tennis court, elaborate pool complex with decks and a fountain—lively up the country club atmosphere. Golf: 36 holes (Tom Fazio, Arthur Hills). Recent Home Listings: $800,000 to $4 million. Contact: 800-578-4544, mirasolclub.com.
Old Marsh, Palm Beach Gardens
Few golf communities are as comfortable in their own skin as Old Marsh, where Pete Dye's vintage course has just been regrassed with new cultivars and the clubhouse has been fully renovated. Golf: 18 holes (Pete Dye). Recent Home Listings: $1.8 million to $4 million. Contact: 561-627-4605, oldmarshrealty.com.
Old Palm Golf Club, Palm Beach Gardens
Anchored by an ornate, 43,000-square-foot clubhouse (with private wine room) and a thirty-three-acre golf studio with the latest in game-refinement technology. Golf: 22 holes (Raymond Floyd). Recent Home Listings: $1.7 million to $8 million. Contact: 866-499-6742, oldpalmgolf.com.
Tesoro, Port St. Lucie
The $4.5 million Ginn sur Mer Classic debuted here this past fall, establishing Tesoro as a Tour-worthy site. An ornate beach club is in the making, and a Tom Watson course will open later this year. Golf: 18 holes (Arnold Palmer). Recent Home Listings: $2 million to $10 million. Contact: 888-297-3339, tesoroclub.com.
Tuscany Reserve, Naples
While eagerly awaiting completion of their lavish 34,000-square-foot clubhouse, members spend time at the Casa Corteze, a Tuscan-looking (naturally) golf emporium with traditional club services. Also in the works is a full regalia of high-tech analysis, teaching and club-fitting equipment. Golf: 18 holes (Pete Dye/Greg Norman). Recent Home Listings: $690,000 to $4 million. Contact: 800-924-2290, wcicommunities.com.
A string of luxury villas called Bramble Pointe is the latest TwinEagles neighborhood to move briskly toward sell-out. The 1,115-acre community offers the spectrum, from coach homes to grand estates. Two golf courses, fitness center and tennis. Golf: 36 holes (Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player). Recent Home Listings: $300,000 to $5.5 million. Contact: 888-403-0085, twineagles.com.
Windsor, Vero Beach
The Ford Plantation, Richmond Hill
Brimming with dignity and distinction, the site of the old plantation was visited by Frederick Law Olmsted and declared wondrous. Modern-day amusements include a deep-water marina, equestrian center, on-property naturalists, hunting and fishing preserves, plus a spa and sports complex. Golf: 18 holes (Pete Dye). Recent Home Listings: $1.2 million to $5.9 million. Contact: 877-735-8367, fordplantation.com.
Reynolds Plantation, Greensboro
Sea Island, Sea Island
This property wins so many awards for its resort component you could forget it has a private side. Members are pampered, yes, but also nurtured in the subtleties of Hawaiian life through cultural experts and naturalists. Golf: 36 holes (Jack Nicklaus, Tom Weiskopf). Recent Home Listings: $4.6 million to $25 million. Contact: 808-325-8500, hualalairealty.com.
The Club at Black Rock, Coeur d'Alene
Rockford Bay, a prime Lake Coeur d'Alene overlook, is the site of Jim Engh's award-winning golf course here. Adjoining it is a private marina and 31,000-square-foot clubhouse. On tap is an ambitious second phase built around a course by Tom Weiskopf. Golf: 18 holes (Jim Engh). Recent Home Listings: $995,000 to $3.4 million. Contact: 208-665-2024, blackrockidaho.com.
Gozzer Ranch, Coeur d'Alene
This former mining town's high-prairie wholesomeness has been attracting young families for years. Now comes Gozzer Ranch, outfitted with multiple marinas, a links by Tom Fazio and a restored general store. A clubhouse complex is due to open next year, with spa, fitness, pool and fine dining. A restored barn and sandlot ball field are part of the vision. Golf: 18 holes (Tom Fazio). Recent Home Listings: $1.4 million to $4 million. Contact: 208-765-9034, gozzerranchclub.com.
The Pinehills, Plymouth
As homes have gone up and the two pulse-quickening courses have matured, the Village Green has attracted shops and businesses that up the convenience factor. Most appreciated is a new racket and fitness center. Golf: 36 holes (Jack Nicklaus, Rees Jones). Recent Home Listings: $350,000 to $2 million. Contact: 888-209-8880, pinehills.com.
Turner Hill, Ipswich
Now member-owned, the Turner Hill course earned raves from Padraig Harrington when the Open champ did a clinic there last summer. The course had already held a New England PGA championship. Golf: 18 holes (Hurdzan/Fry). Recent Home Listings: $770,000 to $1.6 million. Contact: 978-356-7070, turnerhill.com.
A twenty-seven-hole complex allows routing options in order to keep the experience fresh. Besides golf, there's a tennis stadium and a 13,000-square-foot fitness center. Overflow guests stay in club villas. Golf: 27 holes (Michael Hurdzan, Bruce Besse Jr.). Recent Home Listings: $895,000 to $2.2 million. Contact: 508-539-5200, willowbendrealestate.com.
The National, Parkville
Tom Watson's talents as a course designer would be far better appreciated if only he would stop winning tournaments. The courses he fashioned here would do any old-line club proud. Golf: 36 holes (Tom Watson). Recent Home Listings: $450,000 to $6 million. Contact: 816-746-0200, thenationalgolfclub.com.
Iron Horse, Whitefish
Spanish Peaks, Big Sky
Stock Farm, Hamilton
Yellowstone Club, Big Sky
Lake Las Vegas, Henderson
On a 320-acre lake seventeen miles from the Strip, residents take yacht cruises and zip about on rental watercraft. They also enjoy their golf—a new Tom Fazio layout is in the planning stages. Golf: 54 holes (Jack Nicklaus, Tom Weiskopf). Recent Home Listings: $375,000 to $30 million. Contact: 800-564-1603, lakelasvegas.com.
A newly launched cluster of homes called Renaissance adjoins the community's 34,000-square-foot private clubhouse and the Nicklaus course used each year for the PGA Tour's Reno-Tahoe Open. No-fee concierge services include activity bookings and airport shuttle reservations. Golf: 18 holes (Jack Nicklaus). Recent Home Listings: $900,000 to $4 million. Contact: 775-849-9444, montreuxgolf.com.
Southern Highlands, Las Vegas
One look at the massive spa and pool complex would suggest that hedonism rules here. In fact the community is rigorously altruistic, hosting collegiate tournaments, operating a scholarship program and donating millions to charity through the Southern Highlands Charitable Foundation. Golf: 18 holes (Robert Trent Jones Sr./Robert Trent Jones Jr.). Recent Home Listings: $350,000 to $5 million. Contact: 877-261-1010, southernhighlands.com.
Las Campanas, Santa Fe
The one Sun Belt state not batty about our royal and ancient game redeems itself with a club community that nails the golf amenity and fully covers the Santa Fe curriculum of wellness, arts, culture and aesthetics. Golf: 36 holes (Jack Nicklaus). Recent Home Listings: $665,000 to $9 million. Contact: 800-992-4250, lascampanas.com.
Bald Head Island, Bald Head Island
The amenity that typifies this barrier-island village is the Shoals Club, a white-columned, airy, oceanfront clubhouse and pool/fitness complex added in 2004. Golf: 18 holes (George Cobb). Recent Home Listings: $500,000 to $4.2 million. Contact: 800-804-9826, baldheadisland.com.
Balsam Mountain Preserve, Sylva
A total of 354 homesites, plus an eighteen-hole Arnold Palmer golf course and other amenity buildings, dot the community's 1,400 buildable acres. The remaining 3,000 acres go into a voluntary conservation easement. Chaffin/Light, inventors of the organic golf community at Spring Island, attract the sort of home buyers who compose rhyming odes to nature for their community newsletter. Golf: 18 holes (Arnold Palmer). Recent Home Listings: $1.5 million to $2.9 million. Contact: 866-452-3456, balsammountainpreserve.com.
A member's-only lodge affords views of Lake Glenville. At the manorial main clubhouse is a resort-style swimming pool, spa, tennis center and fitness complex. Clubhouse overlooks a golf course doted on by its designer, local resident Tom Fazio. One extra: At a wood-fired oven at the practice facility, members order handmade pizzas to fuel themselves. Golf: 18 holes (Tom Fazio). Recent Home Listings: $2 million to $4.5 million. Contact: 866-743-7353, mountaintopgolfclub.com.
Wade Hampton Golf Club, Cashiers
Sunriver Resort, Sunriver
Homeowners at Sunriver are usually longtime lovers of the resort who take the plunge. The Sage Springs Club & Spa, like all Sunriver amenities, retains a high-country ruggedness despite how comfortable it is. Golf: 63 holes (Bob Cupp, Robert Trent Jones Jr.). Recent Home Listings: $280,000 to $2 million. Contact: 800-547-3922, sunriver-resort.com.
The two courses here are among the very few Tom Fazio chose to inject with mystery or a sense of the accidental. Looming, lugubrious live oaks must have made him do it. One hour inside Belfair's clubhouse could make you feel like an English lord. Golf: 36 holes (Tom Fazio). Recent Home Listings: $600,000 to $2 million. Contact: 843-757-0701, belfair1811.com.
Berkeley Hall, Bluffton
Every over-the-top practice facility in American golf owes a little something to the game-improvement theme park built here in 2002. Architecturally, a striking community throughout. Golf: 36 holes (Tom Fazio). Recent Home Listings: $800,000 to $3.3 million. Contact: 843-815-8423, berkeleyhallclub.com.
The Cliffs Communities, Travelers Rest
Colleton River Plantation, Bluffton
There are few better places to teach a youngster the game than Colleton River's nine-hole par-three, designed by David Borland and named in his memory after Borland died in a plane crash with Payne Stewart in 1999. A Stan Smith tennis center and deepwater docks enhance the sporting life for residents. Golf: 45 holes (Pete Dye, Jack Nicklaus, David Borland). Recent Home Listings: $800,000 to $3.9 million. Contact: 800-673-6456, colletonriverclub.com.
Daniel Island Park, Charleston
On Daniel Island's community calendar you'll find boat shows, blues festivals, oyster roasts and antiques fairs. People decide to move to the island in a snap then agonize over which neighborhood they like best—we suggest Daniel Island Park, the golf enclave. Golf: 36 holes (Tom Fazio, Rees Jones). Recent Home Listings: $850,000 to $5.8 million. Contact: 800-958-5635, danielisland.com.
Kiawah Island, Kiawah Island
Long Cove Club, Hilton Head
As Hilton Head has become more citified, the coastal quiet and calm of Long Cove has come to mean that much more. Along with a Pete Dye golf course that his acolytes croon over, there are eight tennis courts, as well as a private marina (with sixty-nine slips) with Intracoastal access. Golf: 18 holes (Pete Dye). Recent Home Listings: $500,000 to $3 million. Contact: 843-686-1070, longcoveclub.org.
The opening of a sports-club café shows Oldfield adding yet another amenity dedicated to social recreation. Its River House and Outfitters Center were ahead of industry trends and have since been widely copied—even the unique Greeter's Store, with its dash of country kitsch (see sidebar, previous page) has inspired imitation. Golf: 18 holes (Greg Norman). Recent Home Listings: $650,000 to $1.4 million. Contact: 866-653-3435, oldfield1732.com.
Palmetto Bluff, Bluffton
The Reserve at Lake Keowee, Sunset
Few communities in our list have been as active lately as the Reserve, which is building twenty-seven new golf holes and a marina. A new phase of lakeside homes have been planned, and more than 400 acres have been placed in a conservation easement. Golf: 18 holes (Jack Nicklaus). Recent Home Listings: $875,000 to $4 million. Contact: 888-217-8884, reserveatlakekeowee.com.
Seabrook Island, Seabrook Island
Any developer seeking a grand oceanfront site like Seabrook's has to be a glutton for frustration. The expanses of open beach and maritime forest this classic resort community occupies keep everyone happy—golfers, horsemen, shell collectors and surf casters. Down the road lies Charleston and its diverse stimulations. Golf: 36 holes (Robert Trent Jones Sr., Willard Byrd). Recent Home Listings: $240,000 to $5.9 million. Contact: 843-768-2560, discoverseabrook.com.
Spring Island, Okatie
Barton Creek, Austin
The much-admired resort operation here is run by industry stalwart KSL. Home buyers in neighborhoods like Calera Court, with its refined European styling, receive automatic social memberships in Barton Creek Country Club. Golf: 72 holes (Ben Crenshaw/Bill Coore; Tom Fazio; Arnold Palmer). Recent Home Listings: $500,000 to $9.7 million. Contact: 866-214-3136, bartoncreek.com.
Comanche Trace, Kerrville
A mid-summer grand opening is scheduled for the new nine holes by Jay and Carter Moorish. The original eighteen is a popular tournament site, hosting multiple North Texas PGA events. Golf: 18 holes (Tom Kite/Roy Bechtol/Randy Russell). Recent Home Listings: $280,000 to $1.6 million. Contact: 877-467-6282, comanchetrace.com.
Spanish Oaks, Bee Cave
Low-handicap players testify to the strength of the golf course, which poses a stern test of your long game and all sorts of pop quizzes around the greens. When golf is over, the fun moves to Lake Travis, where the community operates its own ski boat and a catch-and-release fishing camp for grown-ups and kids. Golf: 18 holes (Bobby Weed). Recent Home Listings: $850,000 to $2.5 million. Contact: 877-554-4628, spanishoaks.com.
As complete a club community as you'll find, with quality and originality in every amenity. Vaquero is privately owned by its members and requires an invitation to join. Golf: 18 holes (Tom Fazio). Recent Home Listings: $1.5 million to $10 million. Contact: 817-430-6600, vaqueroclub.com.
Glenwild, Park City
Luxury and privacy conspire mightily in Glenwild's 39,000-square-foot clubhouse, with massive windows exposing the alpine surroundings. The fitness/treatment facility and extensive hiking trails are lifestyle highlights. Golf: 18 holes (Tom Fazio). Recent Home Listings: $1.8 million to $4.5 million. Contact: 877-924-9453, glenwild.com.
Promontory, Park City
Talisker, Park City
The Virginian, Bristol
The cohesion between course design, building architecture, landscaping and environment is as graceful as you can find. The bold features of the Tom Fazio course seem to bask in their 538-acre parcel. In the clubhouse, a fireplace towers some forty feet to an arched cathedral ceiling. The tennis, swim and fitness amenities at this private community are all generously designed. Golf: 21 holes (Tom Fazio). Recent Home Listings: $475,000 to $3.7 million. Contact: 276-645-7050, thevirginian.com.
Tumble Creek, Cle Elum
Drawn by a 2,600-acre subcontinent of streams and woodland—plus a Tom Doak–designed course—some 150 families have already moved into this three-year-old community within the larger Suncadia project. The golf house and a swim-fitness center were the first two building amenities constructed. The main clubhouse is next on tap. Golf: 18 holes (Tom Doak). Recent Home Listings: $400,000 to $1.2 million. Contact: 800-667-1828, tumblecreek.com.
The Greenbrier Sporting Club, White Sulphur Springs
See Top 25. Golf: 72 holes (Tom Fazio; Charles Blair Macdonald/Seth Raynor; Raynor/Jack Nicklaus; Dick Wilson/Bob Cupp). Recent Home Listings: $1.5 million to $6 million. Contact: 888-741-8989, thegreenbriersportingclub.com.
Snake River Sporting Club, Jackson Hole
Buying a home in this 554-acre mountain community enters you in a luxury sports decathlon—events would include golf, skiing, fly-fishing, horseback riding, tennis, whitewater rafting and hiking. Recovery from outdoor exertions will be found in the yoga studio (opening next year in Snake River's fitness center) or in the natural hot springs early fur trappers extolled. Golf: 18 holes (Tom Weiskopf). Recent Home Listings (lots only): $1.3 million to $1.6 million. Contact: 888-434-7772, snakeriversportingclub.com.
3 Creek Ranch, Jackson Hole
Utah's republican governor, Jon Huntsman Jr., has been seen of late in public-service ads urging federal officials to unite with several Western states in a bid to help stem climate change. The governor's father, Jon Huntsman Sr., is a self-made billionaire whose determined philanthropy has targeted goals as lofty as finding a cure for cancer. In the mountain town of Driggs, Idaho, the family is building Huntsman Springs, a golf and sporting club that will embody the family's activist spirit of land stewardship and conservation. One of the Huntsmans' first completed projects was a five-hundred-acre wildlife refuge, replete with restored wetlands. They have set up an environmental-management department at the community and embarked on "dark sky" initiatives.
Being the purview of wealthy, educated, forward-thinking lovers of the outdoors, the new communities of the West are naturally drawn to what was once an unpopular cause among conservatives. For example, buying a home in 3 Creek Ranch (which makes our Top 100 list for the second time) means signing on to an environmental-stewardship program that requires the help of resident volunteers.
The Snake River Sporting Club, new to our list this year, has two forms of Audubon certification already under its belt, including recognition for habitat restoration and water conservation—the latter being an issue of deep concern both west and east of the Rockies these days. Gozzer Ranch, a new Idaho community, seemed to catch the do-good zeitgeist when it dumped the frothy name "Charbonneau" and branded itself after a flinty Panhandle homesteader named John Gozzer. Developers went a step further and saved a historic in-town frame structure, the century-old Blackwell House, to use as a sales office.
There are newer golf communities—including some in the intramountain West—whose published mission statements never get past the notions of fun and games amid pretty scenery, but more and more the need for activism in the name of preserving the land and culture of the rural West are part of the gated-golf industry. —David Gould
The master plan for Oldfield, a golf community in Okatie, South Carolina, included funds for a landscaped berm to run the length of Oldfield's frontage on Highway 170. Historical Concepts (historicalconcepts.com), a land-planning and architecture firm in Peachtree City, Georgia, suggested an alternative.
"Instead of a walling off the community with a berm," says Aaron Daily, a principal in the firm, "we had the idea to run a white rail fence along the road and graze some horses in that acreage, then build a country store a quarter-mile in from the highway." Visitors turn onto a simple road and soon encounter the security station, disguised as a country store and post office—both fully operational. Down to the vintage gas pumps out front, the Greeter's Store was designed with the passion for authenticity Historical Concepts brings to all its work.
Golf communities in the Southeast are coming to rely on Historical Concepts for infusions of architectural character and spot-on period detail. Spring Island, Chechessee Creek and Palmetto Bluff are also graced by private homes and/or common buildings that spring from the company's antiquarian spirit.
"Anything we create begins with the question of what views do we have and what's growing there," says Daily. "On some projects we'll get three-dimensional imagery of the trees, so we know the location and even the width of every limb." Jim Strickland, founder of the firm, encourages staff members to travel old Dixie roads, stopping to take notes and photos of pre–World War II buildings. According to Daily, Strickland is thrilled whenever someone points to one of his finished structures "and says how nice it is the developers were able to save that old house."—David Gould