Golf course communities are sometimes viewed as agents of sterile suburban sprawl, but the latest wrinkle in master-planned developments promotes just the opposite. New Urbanism, as the concept is known, advocates town centers, walkable streets, mixed-use development and curtailed vehicular traffic.
No one will confuse golf real estate developers with bold social theorists; communities with at least a touch of New Urbanism are growing because people like them. If all you want is privacy and a monthly newsletter, these properties may not be for you. But if you like the tighter scale and premodern rhythms of a golf-embracing town that is organized into traditional neighborhoods, give them a look.
Verrado's neighborhoods will feature a variety of architectural styles, all authentic to the region; in excess of 10,000 homes are planned, priced from $300,000 to more than $2 million. Pictured is a 4,000-square-foot western regional farmhousestyle home with a spa in the master suite, an office and an extensive patio area including changing rooms and outdoor showers near the pool. Two-thirds of all Verrado homes will have front porches, to encourage neighborly interaction. The community's central retail zone (with chic loft apartments above the stores) plus hiking trails and some twenty town parks bring residents together in a casual fashion. Annual memberships are available at the Raven Golf Club, designed by Tom Lehman and John Fought, which traipses through rugged foothill terrain near the White Tank Mountains. Verrado residents receive a membership to a swimming and sports complex and can join the gym and health club. Visit verrado.com.
Charleston, South Carolina
"We don't consider ourselves a golf community," says Daniel Island COO Matt Sloan. "We're a new town, one that happens to have the only thirty-six-hole private golf club in Charleston." Daniel Island's building specs require twenty-five-foot housing setbacks off its walkable neighborhood streets. "That's a comfortable speaking distance," Sloan explains. Many property buyers are subject to an immediate-build requirement that fills out the neighborhoods in orderly fashion. Golfers can choose between the original Tom Fazio course and a new Rees Jones eighteen, which have adjoining first tees. The home below, with its ten-foot ceilings and pine floors, is in the Daniel Island Park enclave, close to the Daniel Island Club and the only neighborhood that includes social membership in the club (golf membership is extra). Visit danielisland.com.
Vero Beach, Florida
Designed by the pioneering New Urbanist firm Duany Plater-Zyberk (which also produced the landmark Florida town of Seaside), Windsor is a club village on 416 acres of a former grapefruit grove. Intended to function as a complete community, its center is composed of a complex of buildings that includes a general store, post office, restaurant, café, office space, an inn and apartments. Bounded by a joinable members-only Robert Trent Jones Jr. golf course and a polo field, the intimately scaled Windsor is laid out in the tradition of Caribbean towns. Like many Windsor homes, the residence above has generous balconies and an inner walled courtyard with a swimming pool, open-air dining space and detached guest house. Visit windsorflorida.com.