Bay Harbor Club Bay Harbor Views of Little Traverse Bay in north Michigan delight golfers on Arthur Hills's picturesque nines. Yachting and horseback riding are also popular at this unique community on a reclaimed cement works. Golf: 27 holes (Arthur Hills). Recent Home Listings $600,000 to $8 million. Contact: 888-229-4272 or bayharbor.com.
The National Parkville Massive oaks and sycamores on 1,000 rolling acres 15 minutes from downtown Kansas City. Built around a challenging track by Tom Watson, his first signature course, the community also features sailing. Golf: 18 holes (Tom Watson). Recent Home Listings: $500,000 to $5 million. Contact: 816-505-0650 or thenationalgolfclub.com.
Iron Horse Whitefish With spectacular scenery, superior golf, fly-fishing and wilderness adventure—and that's just in summer. Golf: 18 holes (Tom Fazio). Recent Home Listings: $1 million to $5.7 million. Contact: 800-473-2755 or ironhorsegolfclub.com.
Yellowstone Club Big Sky Perched above a charming Montana ski town, this five-year-old fairways-and-slopes enclave attracts a national clientele. The course is all silky lines amid the rugged surroundings. Golf: 18 holes (Tom Weiskopf). Recent Home Listings (lots only): $2 million to $6 million. Contact: 888-700-7748 or theyellowstoneclub.com.
Stock Farm Hamilton Flanked by the Bitterroot and Sapphire Mountain Ranges; owned by Charles Schwab. Features an equestrian center, 30 miles of backcountry trails and houses hidden throughout the 2,600-acre property. Golf: 18 holes (Tom Fazio). Recent Home Listings (lots only): $500,000 to $1.5 million. Contact: 406-375-1888 or stockfarm.com.
Lake Las Vegas Henderson Residents live in enclaves tucked away from the multihotel resort areas but have access to the fine dining, marinas and boutiques. A fourth course, by Fazio, to open in 2007. Golf: 54 holes (Jack Nicklaus, Tom Weiskopf). Recent Home Listings: $400,000 to $4 million. Contact: 800-564-1603 or lakelasvegas.com.
Southern Highlands Las Vegas Robert Trent Jones Sr.'s last design rises into rocky foothills. With a glorious new spa, a network of trails and on-site schools, both public and private. Golf: 18 holes (Robert Trent Jones Sr./Robert Trent Jones Jr.). Recent Home Listings: $500,000 to $5 million. Contact: 877-261-1010 or southernhighlands.com.
Las Campanas Santa Fe The hacienda-style adobe clubhouse blends inconspicuously with the landscape but harbors many luxuries. With an elaborate equestrian center, a spa and fine dining. Golf: 36 holes (Jack Nicklaus). Recent Home Listings: $700,000 to $12 million. Contact: 800-992-4250 or lascampanas.com.
Bald Head Island Southernmost barrier island in North Carolina, with miles of pristine beaches. Accessible only by boat. Golf: 18 holes (George Cobb). Recent Home Listings: $500,000 to $4 million. Contact: 800-804-9826 or baldheadisland.com.
Jefferson Landing On The New River Jefferson Blue Ridge Mountain hiking, canoeing and fly-fishing rival the golf. Golf: 18 holes (Larry Nelson). Recent Home Listings: $250,000 to more than $2 million. Contact: 800-292-6274 or jeffersonlandingclub.com.
Wade Hampton Cashiers Idyllic setting, low-key golf and a rustic, understated community. Golf: 18 holes (Tom Fazio). Recent Home Listings: $759,000 to $4 million. Contact: 828-743-5465.
Pronghorn Bend A new development still partly under construction. Skiing, biking, fishing, climbing, riding—all near a charming town. Golf: 36 holes (Tom Fazio, Jack Nicklaus). Recent Home Listings: $400,000 to $1.8 million. Contact: 800-541-9424 or pronghornclub.com.
Sunriver Resort Sunriver Offers breathtaking views and skiing at nearby Mt. Bachelor. Sunny more than 260 days a year. Golf: 54 holes (Bob Cupp, Fred Federspiel, Robert Trent Jones Jr.). Recent Home Listings: $1 million to $2.5 million. Contact: 800-801-8765 or sunriver-resort.com.
Belfair Bluffton Enter through a corridor of moss-hung oaks. An annual amateur invitational attracts a top national field. World-class golf practice center. Golf: 36 holes (Tom Fazio). Recent Home Listings: $600,000 to more than $2 million. Contact: 800-587-7710 or belfair1811.com.
Berkeley Hall Two Fazio courses near Hilton Head, with one of the country's best learning centers. Many resort-like facilities. Golf: 36 holes (Tom Fazio). Recent Home Listings: $700,000 to $3.5 million. Contact: 888-817-8458 or berkeleyhallsc.com.
The Cliffs Communities Travelers Rest Hiking, canoeing, fly-fishing and horseback riding. A second Nicklaus course to open soon, followed by a second Fazio. Golf: 72 holes (Tom Fazio, Tom Jackson, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Wright). Recent Home Listings: $650,000 to more than $3.5 million. Contact: 866-435-5123 or cliffscommunities.com.
Colleton River Plantation Bluffton Nearly eight miles of saltwater marsh front creates a fertile habitat for wildlife. With two clubhouses, a stadium tennis center and Augusta-style cottages for guests. Golf: 45 holes (Pete Dye, Jack Nicklaus). Recent Home Listings: $699,000 to $4.5 million. Contact: 800-673-6456 or colletonriver.com.
Daniel Island Park Charleston A luxury golf enclave on the city of Charleston's secondary island. A Rees Jones course will open this spring. Golf: 18 holes (Tom Fazio). Recent Home Listings: $800,000 to more than $3 million. Contact: 843-958-5635 or danielisland.com.
Kiawah Island Twenty-one miles from historic Charleston, the island has 10,000 acres and lots of wildlife. Golf: 126 holes (Pete Dye, Tom Fazio, Clyde Johnston, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tom Watson). Recent Home Listings: $799,000 to $10 million. Contact: 888-559-9024 or kiawahisland.com.
Long Cove Hilton Head With a terrific Pete Dye course, Long Cove is a quintessential gated enclave that retains its quiet class and self-assuredness. Residents gather for oyster fests; and the yacht club is popular. Golf: 18 holes (Pete Dye). Recent Home Listings: $700,000 to $4 million. Contact: 843-686-1070 or longcoveclub.org.
Palmetto Bluff Bluffton The housing is clustered in villages scattered across 20,000 acres to foster community feel. Magnificent trees, extensive water access, boating and fishing—and an on-site Auberge spa. Golf: 18 holes (Jack Nicklaus). Recent Home Listings: $965,000 to $2.5 million. Contact: 866-316-5262 or palmetto-bluff.com.
The Reserve at Lake Keowee Sunset Four thousand Blue Ridge acres, halfway between Atlanta and Charlotte, reserved for 1,500 homesites. The Village Center sits above the shimmering lake. Golf: 18 holes (Jack Nicklaus). Recent Home Listings: $900,000 to $2 million. Contact: 888-217-8884 or reserveatlakekeowee.com.
Sea Pines Hilton Head Five miles of beaches and two Audubon Cooperative sanctuaries. Golf: 54 holes (George Cobb, Pete Dye/Jack Nicklaus, Clyde Johnston, Mark McCumber). Recent Home Listings: $750,000 to $3 million. Contact: 888-807-6873 or seapines.com.
Spring Island Classy community on a maritime island with a fine old Palmer course and a strong environmental emphasis. Riding, fishing, boating and a nearby hunting camp. Golf: 18 holes (Arnold Palmer/Ed Seay). Recent Home Listings: $1 million to $5 million. Contact: 843-987-2200 or springisland.com.
Rarity Bay Lake Tellico Golf, water sports and an equestrian center with views of the Great Smoky Mountains. Access to Lake Tellico provided by docks throughout the community. Golf: 18 holes (D.J. DeVictor/Peter Langham). Recent Home Listings: $185,000 to $1.3 million. Contact: 800-287-0032 or raritybay.com.
Barton Creek Austin One or the other of the two Fazio courses at Barton Creek Resort is reserved solely for residents each day. Golf: 72 holes (Ben Crenshaw/Bill Coore, Tom Fazio, Arnold Palmer). Recent Home Listings: $500,000 to $11.7 million. Contact: 800-336-6158 or bartoncreek.com.
Comanche Trace Kerrville The Kite course is a winner. Located in a hill country area noted for its arts. Golf: 18 holes (Tom Kite/Ray Bechtol/Randy Russell). Recent Home Listings: $200,000 to $1 million. Contact: 877-467-6282 or comanchetrace.com.
Horseshoe Bay Resort Horseshoe Bay Three courses and a lighted 18-hole putting course, with on-course air-conditioned bathrooms. Largest Robert Trent Jones Sr. complex in the U.S. Golf: 54 holes (Robert Trent Jones Sr.). Recent Home Listings: $400,000 to $5 million. Contact: 800-531-5105 or hsbresort.com/" target="_blank">hsbresort.com.
Vaquero Westlake Justin Leonard and several other Tour pros live in this ranch-themed community. Rolling terrain, shady oaks, stocked ponds and concierge services. Golf: 18 holes (Tom Fazio). Recent Home Listings: $1.3 million to $8 million. Contact: 817-379-4555 or vaqueroclub.com.
The Woodlands Forested setting 30 miles north of Houston. Two separate golf clubs. Golf: 99 holes (Tom Fazio, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Robert Von Hagge/Bruce Devlin). Recent Home Listings: $130,000 to $4 million. Contact: 281-863-1400 or thewoodlands.com.
Glenwild Park City Sundance Film Festival in the summer, nearby ski resorts in the winter. Year-round swim and spa facility and hiking trails on property. Golf: 18 holes (Tom Fazio). Recent Home Listings: $1.8 million to $6 million. Contact: 877-924-9453 or glenwild.com.
Promontory: The Ranch Club Park City Service that astounds. A tennis court morphs into an ice-skating rink come winter. Golf: 36 holes (Pete Dye, Jack Nicklaus). Recent Home Listings: $1.7 million to $4.5 million. Contact: 888-458-6600 or promontoryclub.com.
Quechee Lakes Quechee Small-town New England charm with a private ski mountain, summer camp for the kids and tennis facilities. Golf: 36 holes (Geoffrey Cornish). Recent Home Listings: $410,000 to $3 million. Contact: 888-592-2224 or quecheelakes.com.
Snoqualmie Ridge Snoqualmie Great golf, plus nearby fishing and skiing. Forty percent of the land is preserved as open space. Forty minutes from downtown Seattle. Golf: 18 holes (Jack Nicklaus). Recent Home Listings: $360,000 to $2 million. Contact: 888-669-8889 or srmpc.com.
The Greenbrier Sporting Club White Sulphur Springs The outdoor services staff will arrange for fly-fishing on private trout streams. Golf: 72 holes (Tom Fazio, Charles Blair Macdonald/Seth Raynor, Raynor/Jack Nicklaus, Dick Wilson/Bob Cupp). Recent Home Listings: $1.5 million to $5 million. Contact: 888-741-8989 or greenbriersportingclub.com.
Horseshoe Bay Farms Egg Harbor Golf membership includes beach-club privileges, access to private parks and a concierge. Golf: 18 holes (Rick Robbins/Brian Lussier). Recent Home Listings: $300,000 to $1.8 million. Contact: 866-599-3276 or horseshoebayfarms.net.
Powder Horn Ranch and Golf Club Sheridan The best aspects of the Western lifestyle—fishing, golf and hunting in the nearby Big Mountains. With nature trails and a new pool house with spa. Golf: 27 holes (Dick Bailey). Recent Home Listings: $550,000 to $2.3 million. Contact: 800-329-0598 or thepowderhorn.com.
How We Compiled the List
The goal in creating the Top 100 was to identify those communities that best combine superb golf with homes and facilities of the highest quality, extraordinary location and a wealth of lifestyle opportunities. Determining eligibility was not always simple. Some familiar names, Pebble Beach and Muirfield Village, for example, are not included—Pebble because buying a home in the community affords no special access to the public Pebble Beach Golf Links, and Muirfield because the residential community and Jack Nicklaus's golf club are technically unrelated and have minimal overlapping memberships.
To be eligible, communities must offer property owners and opportunity for membership in an affiliated private golf club. Limited public access to the course, such as for guests at a resort, is allowed but may detract from a community's ranking. In cases where the affiliated club has nonresident members, more than half of the club's members must reside in the community. For a few complex cases, other specific requirements ere established.
From an initial universe of more than 2,000 golf communities, the field was reduced to several hundred and then each was rated in five categories: golf (worth up to 35 points); quality of housing (25 points); community amenities and activities (20 points); location, including natural setting and proximity to cultural and other activities (15 points); and X-factor, such as celebrity residents or buzz (5 points). The points were then totaled to rank the Top 100.