Close to Home: Living Beside a Golf Course

When you live beside a golf course, you can gain more than easy tee times. You’ll find nearby dining, family activities, and social clubs.

By: Alice Shapin

Debbie and Andy Donnelly were already living in a nice community when they decided to move 15 minutes away to Lansdowne on the Potomac. Why? Quick access to golf and the clubhouse.

Barbara and Mark Tatum lived only two miles from Lansdowne when they also decided to make the move. “We belonged to the club before but wanted a house in the community so we could walk to the clubhouse,” says Mark.

Lansdowne on the Potomac, near Leesburg, has a big clubhouse reminiscent of a country estate, two 18-hole courses, and a nine-hole course. “I regularly play the two 18-hole courses and have already taken our seven-year-old twins to play the nine-hole Shark Bite,” says Andy Donnelly. “It’s family-friendly with special junior tees. Eventually the boys will be able to play by themselves. That’s a very big bonus.”

Mark is the true golfer in the Tatum family, playing once or twice a week. “After golf, I stop by the clubhouse for a beer,” he says, “and Wednesday nights I hang with the guys at the clubhouse.”

The clubhouse is a big part of residential life, especially in the summer. “We have dinner there frequently and bring family and friends,” Andy Donnelly says. “Every Friday night there’s Jazz on the Potomac; we usually have dinner on the terrace and listen from there.”

Barbara Tatum likes the family and theme nights such as “breakfast for dinner” as well as its cooking demonstrations and winetastings.

A major perk for members is having access to Lansdowne Resort’s new outdoor pool complex, tennis courts, spa, indoor pool, fitness center, supervised programs for kids, and restaurants.

Sommelier Mary Watson-Delauder pairs food and wine during clubhouse cooking demonstrations and chooses all the restaurants’ wines. “I also have an herb garden with 80 varieties that the restaurants use,” she says. “Many times when I’m away, one of the club’s members waters my garden.”

Says Barbara Tatum: “We’re very spoiled.”

While Lansdowne on the Potomac is somewhat unusual in that members have access to resort amenities, other communities have attracted buyers with premier golf courses, clubhouses, and extras.

Mike Koszalka, a retired police detective from New York, moved to Grasonville, Maryland, after his wife, Maria, accepted a job as vice president of nursing at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. “I golf four to five times a week, and Maria tries to play on the weekends, so a golf course was a must,” he says. “I fell in love with Prospect Bay after playing it.”

On Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Prospect Bay is 25 minutes from Annapolis, Easton, and St. Michaels and an hour from Washington and Baltimore. Its clubhouse opened in January of last year. Mike liked that all houses have one-acre lots and aren’t “cookie cutter.” The Koszalkas bought a three-bedroom “English country” house on the sixth hole and keep a boat at the development’s marina.

The golf course at River Creek in Leesburg has a large clubhouse with a terrace, fine dining, and grill. Both have Potomac River views.

“Every Friday night, we have live entertainment and ‘martini madness,’ with a special martini where 50 percent of the price goes to the charity of the evening,” says clubhouse manager David Coffey. “And once a month our wine club meets.”

Linda Furr and husband Steve are members. “We taste about four to six wines where each is paired with different foods,” says Linda. “And every month they bring in different distributors or someone from the vineyard. It’s a very social evening.”

Kendall McCaughey and her husband, Mike, moved to River Creek for its camaraderie and amenities. “We’re both golfers, but unfortunately, between my job and two young children I don’t get to play as much as I would like,” she says. “My husband plays once a week, and we try to play in the nine-hole couples’ league. We go to the clubhouse on a regular basis just to have dinner with our family. We definitely take advantage of the Sunday brunch.

“There are empty nesters, families with young children, and families with older ones. Often our biggest fault is that on weekends we forget to leave the gates of River Creek.”

Here are details on communities in the region where you can find lots of play and relaxation.

Virginia

The Ritz-Carlton manages Creighton Farms in Aldie (877-300-3338; creightonfarms.com), so concierge services include everything from auto detailing to petsitting. This new gated community, which sits on 900 acres, opened a challenging Jack Nicklaus course in April. When the Georgian manor-style clubhouse is built, it will offer fine and casual dining. Also on the way are two swimming pools, tennis, a fitness facility, and riding trails. The 183 home sites range from one to six acres and are priced from $700,000 to $2.2 million.

Fawn Lake in Spotsylvania (800-435-8020; fawnlakevirginia.com) is a gated community on more than 2,300 acres with a deep-water lake for boating, fishing, and waterskiing. Residents also enjoy a beach, pool, tennis, the Arnold Palmer course, and a waterfront clubhouse. Fawn Lake offers new houses from the high $500,000s to more than $3 million, resales from the high $400,000s to $1.6 million, and lots from the $140,000s to $800,000s.

At Lansdowne on the Potomac east of Leesburg (703-723-8906; lansdownehoa.com), the community focal point is the Potomac Club complex. Amenities include indoor and outdoor pools, a spa and exercise rooms, a riverside park, a canoe/kayak launch from Goose Creek, and hiking trails. There’s also the Golf Club at Lansdowne (703-858-2118); Lansdowne Town Center, a mix of retail and residential space; and an elementary school and middle school.

Townhouses start in the mid-$400,000s, two-level condos in the mid-$300,000s. Resales of single-family homes run from $550,000 to more than $1 million, townhouses from the $400,000s.

The gated Piedmont in Haymarket (703-753-7404; homesinpiedmont.com) includes lighted tennis courts and an aquatic center with indoor and outdoor pools. The Piedmont Club (703-753-5922; piedmontclub.com) showcases a Tom Fazio course and a clubhouse with dining. Single-family houses sell for $400,000 to $2 million and townhouses from $300,000.

River Creek in Leesburg (703-443-2800; river-creek.com) is a gated community between the Potomac River and Goose Creek. Amenities include the River Creek Country Club, playing fields, parks, a marina, and trails. River Creek is grouped into neighborhoods to foster a sense of community. New single-family houses start in the $600,000s; resales (including townhouses) run from $500,000 to $2.5 million.

Maryland

The Residences at Bulle Rock in Havre de Grace (410-939-8700; bullerockresorthomes.com) offers golfing, casual dining, tennis, indoor and outdoor pools, a fitness center, and walking trails. It’s situated along the Pete Dye–designed Bulle Rock course, home of the LPGA championship. Its two-story Residents’ Club hosts happy hours and meetings of nine clubs from fishing to bridge. Single-family houses start in the

low $400,000s, villas from the $300,000s, and condos from the low $200,000s.

Oak Creek in Upper Marlboro (301-390-8707; oakcreekclub.com) is a gated community on 1,100 acres. It boasts an Ault, Clark & Associates course that opened April 5. A swim-and-tennis club, hiker/biker trails, and a park are being built, and the Oak Creek Country Club is planned. Oak Creek is grouped into villages with single-family houses from the $400,000s to $1 million, townhouses starting in the $300,000s, and village homes—a cross between a single-family and townhouse design—starting in the $400,000s.

Overlooking Eastern Bay, Prospect Bay in Grasonville (410-991-1044; prospectbay.com) includes tennis and swimming as well as a 40-slip marina. Its course stretches over 210 acres. The 330 homes offer varied architectural styles and both water and golf-course views. Resale golf-course houses range from $550,000 to $800,000, waterfront houses from $900,000 to $1.6 million.

This article is from the June 2008 issue of The Washingtonian. For more articles from the issue, click here.