In recent years, competition among gated communities has elevated their service standards, giving rise to a concierge approach borrowed from the big-city hotel. Some golf properties actually use the term "concierge"; others merely import the concept. Either way, the result is an emphasis on anticipating members' needs and creatively satisfying impromptu wishes. The communities spotlighted here possess the two main preconditions of a concierge culture: memberships that are vigorous in their pleasure seeking and environments filled with opportunities and options. With those elements firmly in place, there's a vital need for people with a talent for guaranteeing that the proper arrangements are made.
Okatie, South Carolina
"Remote convenience" is promised at Oldfield, where the field-and-stream setting is complemented by an eighteen-hole Greg Norman course. Besides golf, its residents are attracted to the unusual array of fishing, hunting, shrimping, river sports and wildlife exploration. Instruction for these activities takes place at the Outfitters Center, a combination fishing lodge, provisions store and education center. After members stow their clubs or waders for the day, they can seek help navigating the cultural scenes of nearby Savannah, Hilton Head and Beaufort. Visit crescent-resources.com/communit/oldfield.
Square Feet: 2,443
North Scottsdale, Arizona
World-traveling residents of this Sonoran village, with its six Jack Nicklaus Signature courses, turn to their concierge staff to secure orchestra seats, sports tickets and reservations at fine restaurants. Even arranging member activities inside the gates takes careful coordination, given Desert Mountain's vast pleasure infrastructure. A popular program, the Fall Expo, allows members to sample foods from each of the six distinctive clubhouse dining rooms. The concierge also keeps tabs on live music and entertainment events, private wine tastings and art shows, plus lends a hand with practicalities such as notarizing documents, offered free of charge. Visit desertmountain.com.
Square Feet: 6,900
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
Member service at this classic, thirty-six- hole Florida community is led by Achal Goswami, a longtime Ritz-Carlton executive who speaks several languages and recruits interns from major hospitality institutes worldwide. One member tells of lavish dinner parties catered for twelve in a private home, all arranged on short notice and including polished silverware and a banquet table. On chilly winter mornings, golfers are greeted on the first tee with mugs of hot chocolate. Beyond-the-call service extends to children's programs and to the community's business center, where conference calls are made more bearable by plates full of homemade cookies. Visit frenchmanscreek.com.
Square Feet: 4,626