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Eighteen Holes, Ocean Views

Some golfers stare at the blue, foam-flecked ocean and worry that hitting the ball there would incur a one-stroke penalty, plus distance. Others survey the crashing surf and dream of owning property with a commanding view. If you fit into the latter category, take a look at these ocean-view homes and ponder which of the three might be right for you.

You'll find each ensconced in a top-quality, master-planned golf community, with courses designed by Rees Jones, George Cobb and Tom Fazio. But these are also seafaring communities, which means that, for the people who live in them, many of life's finer moments don't happen on dry land at all.

Hammock Dunes

Palm Coast, Florida This seamark property covers about 1,000 acres between St. Augustine and Daytona, in a stretch of Florida with oceanfront bluffs tall enough to require wooden stairways down to the beach. Golf memberships at Hammock Dunes are on an equity basis and provide access to acclaimed layouts by Tom Fazio (the Links course) and Rees Jones (the Creek). Along with its mile and a half of beachfront, the property includes waterfront homes on a two-and-a-half-mile-long island in the Intracoastal Waterway. The main Hammock Dunes golf clubhouse, newly renovated, is grand in scale and lushly appointed. Views from several ten-story condo towers take in miles of ocean, although not everybody cottons to tall buildings on the shorefront. Tucked into oak groves and shaded by palm trees, the private homes at Hammock Dunes are to gush over, including the one pictured here, with its six-car garage, private pool, hand-finished cabinetry and Atlantic views. Visit hammockdunes.com.

Querencia

Los Cabos, Mexico In Los Cabos, "ocean" refers to the mighty Sea of Cortez. From a Querencia Club Villa, the Cortez stretches out along the rugged shoreline in the middle distance. Closer in view is the par-five fourth hole of the community's private Tom Fazio golf course. With bold contours that emulate the ridges and ravines of the surrounding terrain, the course has been open for several years, allowing members time to scope out the residential offerings now coming onstream. Those who purchase here will enjoy an elegant, gated getaway in the midst of a stimulating town that was undiscovered not long ago but is now being rapidly developed. To allow for maximum leisure, Querencia's property-management experts offer pre-arrival grocery shopping, daily maid service, landscaping, bill payment and all that other nice turnkey stuff. Visit loscabosquerencia.com.

Bald Head Island

Bald Head Island, North Carolina Crouched at the tip of Cape Fear and reachable only by passenger ferry, Bald Head Island is one of those no-car enclaves where you turn the kids loose by day and stare up at a crowd of stars by night. The golf course, designed by longtime Augusta National consultant George Cobb, changes its scenery from lagoon to scrub forest to dunes and oceanfront. The entire island has a land's-end feeling, scented by 10,000 acres of salt marsh and tidal creeks and buffered by a vast maritime forest preserve. Water activities center on the community's ten-acre harbor and full-service marina. Oceanfront homes at BHI dot the dunes randomly and seem to hold old sea captains' tales within their walls. Visit baldheadisland.com.

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