News & Politics

Golf Communities

You can live alongside courses that earn top marks.

There are plenty of places where you can live on the links. But for serious golfers, quality is top priority. A great course has beautiful views, memorable holes, and challenging shots. These seven communities boast award-winning courses and top-rated instructors—plus lots of amenities.

Fit for the Pros

After a renovation in 2009, the PGA-owned TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm (10000 Oaklyn Dr., Potomac; 301-469-3700) will host the Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship—one of five majors on the senior tour—in October. The redesign included improvements to all 18 holes and a stream restoration.

Made up of 13 villages—each with its own architectural style—the community includes about 900 townhouses and single-family homes. It also has stables, a swim-and-tennis club, and a playground.

In the last year, prices have dropped by about 10 percent, says Long & Foster agent Nancy Itteilag, adding that homes have started to sell quickly. Nearly all of those in Avenel are resales, with townhouses going for $1 million to $1.4 million and single-family homes for $1.2 million to $6 million.

Three Good Courses

The River Course at Kingsmill on the James (1010 Kingsmill Rd., Williamsburg; 800-832-5665) was ranked ninth in Golfweek’s 2009 list of Best Courses You Can Play. Designed by Pete Dye, it has hosted PGA Tour events for 29 years.

“On a summer afternoon when you’re on the 16th fairway and the sun starts to set on the James, you shake your head and say, ‘I live here. This is pretty cool,’ ” says Kenny Murov, who moved to Kingsmill 12 years ago.

Residents can also play the Woods Course, one of Golf magazine’s Top Ten New Courses You Can Play in 2000, and the Plantation Course, which runs through the site’s original 18th-century plantation. Amenities include a spa, tennis courts, walking paths, and swimming pools. While most residents are empty-nesters, Kingsmill is home to some young families.

Home sites without river views start in the high $200,000s; waterfront lots cost up to $1.1 million. Resale homes are available; they average around $500,000 for houses not on the water and cost at least $2.5 million for riverfront homes. New houses average about $1 million.

Great Place to Learn

At Glenmore (1318 Piper Way, Keswick; 434-977-8865), 15 minutes from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, residents can get a good education of their own. The Kandi Comer Golf Academy, attached to the community’s clubhouse, is helmed by Comer, a five-time US Open qualifier and a top-ranked junior instructor.

The golf course was named one of Virginia’s ten best in 1997 by Golf Digest. “Each hole is unique,” says resident Trevor Joscelyne. “All the holes turn corners or go up and down hills, but it’s playable at the same time.”

The 700-home community includes a pool, an equestrian center, and golf practice facilities. Single-family homes are available for resale, priced from about $450,000 to more than $2 million. Thirty lots are for sale, from $230,000 to $700,000.

Mountain Getaway

A major renovation of Olde Mill (2258 Stone Mountain Rd., Laurel Fork; 800-753-5005), in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, is almost complete. The 18-hole Ellis Maples–designed golf course attracted Jim and Lucy Brickhouse to the community eight years ago. “It’s a beautiful course,” Lucy says, “and it’s going to be even better.”

For her, the mountain setting is what makes it special: “When you’re playing, you see wildlife, deer, turkeys. You’re just out in the elements.”

The couple spends time at the clubhouse, where there are winetastings and—their favorite—a seafood buffet. The community has an indoor pool, fitness center, and tennis courts.

Three new home styles are for sale: condominiums starting in the $200,000s, duplexes from the $400,000s, and custom cottages and single-family homes from $400,000 to $1 million.

Nice Architecture

Two years ago when Jeannie and Mark Golub built their French-style home in Virginia’s Estates at Keswick Hall (701 Club Dr., Keswick; 434-227-4441), they wanted easy access to good golf and a custom home that would retain its value. Keswick, which features an 18-hole Arnold Palmer course, offered both.

“If we wanted to play five holes after dinner, we could do that very easily,” Jeannie says. In summer, they hit the links five times a week.

Tucked into the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, about 15 minutes outside Charlottesville and an hour and 45 minutes from Washington, the course surrounds the stately Italianate Keswick Hall hotel and clubhouse.

Five homes available for preconstruction sale were designed by architect Robert Stern, dean of the Yale School of Architecture. Those are priced around $2 million. Other home sites are available for $350,000 to $850,000, not including construction costs, and two newly built houses are on the market for $2.2 million and $2.8 million.

So Much to Do

Sharon Norrie tries to play golf three times a week on the two courses that wind through Pennsylvania’s Penn National (3720 Clubhouse Dr., Fayetteville; 800-338-7523). She prefers the Iron Forge Course because it gives golfers more leeway; the Founders Course is a little tighter.

Both have four-star ratings on Golf Digest’s Places to Play list. Lorraine Klippel, a 2009 LPGA Teaching and Club Professionals Hall of Fame inductee, is available for lessons.

Other popular recreational options include book clubs, a farmers market, bridge groups, a community garden, and hiking clubs. The community has 400 acres still to develop, and a town center is planned. Though Penn National isn’t exclusively a retirement community, Where to Retire magazine named it one of the country’s best planned communities.

Home sites are for sale starting at $85,000. New townhouses are available for preconstruction sale starting around $300,000, and finished single-family homes are $400,000 and up.

Lakeside Living

About an hour from Washington, the 700-home Fawn Lake (Rt. 621, Fredericksburg; 800-435-8020) is surrounded by the historic site of the Battle of the Wilderness; you can see Civil War trenches from the front gate. The Arnold Palmer course meanders along the east side of the community’s seven miles of shoreline.

Bob Melany and his wife, Jacquie, built their home overlooking the eighth green in 2002 and keep a golf cart in their garage.

While most residents are retired, families are here, too. Boats less than 21 feet are allowed on the 288-acre lake, and waterskiing, tubing, fishing, and sailing are popular. The community is a certified wildlife sanctuary, with wooded and waterfront lots available.

When building is complete, Fawn Lake will have 1,400 properties, with home sites starting at $100,000 for wooded areas and $400,000 for waterfront. New single-family homes range from the low $400,000s to $2 million. Resale homes average between $650,000 and $750,000.

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