Archive for September, 2012

What Golf Community would you buy a home and join the club?

September 18, 2012

Payne Stewart’s Glorious Moment!


Last week, I had a meeting with a gentleman who asked me a question that made me think. His question: If money was not an issue, what Wake County golf community and course would you recommend to a client? This question was also predicated upon location not being an issue for the client. With these open options, it made me think. I must admit, no one has asked me that question in the past.

It made me think of all of the great courses and communities here in Wake County. Most people do not realize, but there are nearly 20 golf course communities in Wake County alone, not to mention the Triangle. My answer to this gentleman was simple, “it depends!” This is the number one answer to all real estate questions as the answer depends on different factors. For instance, what types of courses do you like to play and do you want multiple golfing options with your purchase?

For me, I would want to join a club that gives me multiple course options as I get bored with the same course, day in and day out. Variety is so important to me that I rarely travel the same route home. I have always been like that, but others may be happy to have access to simply one course where they can learn all of the nuances of that course and “master” it. Others still may have specific ideas of what type of community. Some may be more interested in older homes with larger lots as opposed to many of our newer communities that have smaller lots and the rooms tend to be smaller. All of these and many more factors can play into your decision.

For me, I would have to recommend a community like North Ridge that has two courses or Wakefield that would give you access to all of McConnell golf courses. Some may prefer single courses like McGregor Downs, which has an amazing course, but only one course. In this blog post, I hope to address some of the great golf course communities in Wake county and give you an idea of which are the better ones.

To start, I need to cover some of the less expensive communities with public or semi-private courses. Among these would be Hedingham, Eagle Ridge, and Crooked Creek. The benefit of each of these communities is purchasing in these communities, you have the option of joining all three as the Fred Smith Company now owns all of these courses and have a membership level for these communities. These courses are very nice and are typically in good shape. Last year, Hedingham was closed for major repairs and regeneration of its greens, fairways and tee boxes. I played it shortly after it re-opened and it played very well. It has many challenging holes to keep your interest, but not so much that you are over challenged and cannot score well. Eagle Ridge and Crooked Creek are very nice courses. I cannot speak too much about these courses as I rarely play them due to driving distance, but as memory serves, they are both challenging and fair at the same time. If housing price is a factor, these communities offer affordable housing, many with great golf course views. Hedingham is the most affordable as it offers town homes for less than $100,000 up to single family homes in the $200-low $300s. Eagle Ridge and Crooked Creek consist of single family homes that tend to be priced in the $200s.

If money is not an issue, then the choices increase dramatically. I will start with the Southwestern Wake communities. There are several and one that I really enjoy is Devil’s Ridge, located in the Sunset Ridge community in Holly Springs. The community is well done and well maintained and the course is always in great condition. Membership in Devil’s Ridge will give you the option to join the Triangle Society with ClubCorp and give you access to several courses in the Triangle. A great way to be introduced to several courses. The community is primarily single family with housing from the mid $200s up to half a million. Membership in Devil’s Ridge is affordable and the course is semi-private.

More high-end in this area would include both McGregor Downs and Prestonwood. McGregor Downs is an exclusive community that is laid out very nicely with larger lots and is a highly established community. Many of the homes were built in the 1980s, so if you want an older community in this area, I would highly suggest this course. Membership in McGregor Downs will give you access to this amazing course and all of the additional community features such as tennis courts and lakes. This club was formed in 1967, so it is one of the oldest in the Triangle. Prestonwood, home of the SAS Championship, is more modern with additional benefits such as 3 courses to choose. All three courses are amazing courses with some very challenging, but fair holes. I have only played the Meadows course and I thoroughly enjoyed my experience (though I didn’t score well). Prestonwood has housing that consist of condos around the $200s to town homes for a little more and tops off with single family homes from mid $200s up to well over a couple million. Most of the lots are smaller than you would see in McGregor Downs, but most are more modern and updated as it is a newer community.

Moving north, you have several options in the Northern Wake area to include Brier Creek, Wildwood Green, North Ridge, Hasentree and many more. I will try to talk about each of these in some detail, but there are too many to cover in much detail.

Brier Creek and Hasentree are very nice courses and are both Toll Brother properties, so membership in one will get you membership in the other. Plus, you can add to your membership access to all Toll Brother golf communities in the U.S. Both communities are fairly new, but Brier Creek tends to have smaller lots than Hasentree, primarily due to the fact that there is more room with this community. Brier Creek course is very nice, but is currently being repaired as many of the greens were infected with a disease, which has caused them to close down the course to rid the greens of this infestation. If they have not yet re-opened, it will be soon. The course is challenging with one of their signature holes being the 18th, which is an awesome finishing hole. This hole offers a blind tee shot and a green that is surrounded by water on three sides. Brier Creek offers housing from condos priced in the low $100s to single family homes over a million. It is convenient to all the amenities that you could ask and very close to RTP and I-540. Hasentree is not as convenient as it is located off Hwy. 98, close to Wake Forest, but the benefits are larger lots and more nature areas. Housing starts in the mid $300s and goes up from there. The golf course is always pristine and the 88 bunkers on this course may make you curse Tom Fazio as they tend to be well placed for danger at every turn. For shopping, you would have to head towards Wake Forest. If you work in downtown Raleigh, the commute can be difficult.

A little closer to Raleigh, you will find both Heritage and TPC Wakefield Plantation. Both are fairly new communities with varying pricing range for homes and smaller lots than can be seen in some of the older communities. To get a larger lot, you will need to purchase one of the larger homes. I have never played Heritage, but had the opportunity to play Wakefield for the first time last week. It was an amazing golfing experience with some very challenging holes. The signature 18th hole is a Par 5 where you aim for the clubhouse from the tee box. The approach shot is over a stream, but do not go long as it elevates quickly towards the clubhouse with two bunkers. My approach shot sailed over the green and I thought it landed in the bunker, but it was not there. With the tall, thick grass, I couldn’t find the ball.

Heritage is a semi-private course located in the heart of downtown Wake Forest. Membership is affordable as it pertains to golf clubs. You only have access to that course along with the swim and tennis. Being closer to Hwy 1-Capital Blvd. the commute to Raleigh is much more efficient than the other courses around it. Wakefield membership offers the 18-hole course, the 9-hole walking course, access to all TPC Network courses and reciprocal golf privileges at all McConnell Golf Properties. McConnell Golf has eight golf clubs in North and South Carolina to include three in the Triangle, Raleigh Country Club and Treyburn being the other two. Membership is affordable based considering what you get for your membership. Even though I don’t live anywhere near Wakefield, I would probably be more inclined to this membership or at least it’s sister club, Raleigh Country Club due to the variety of clubs you can access.

North Ridge is another wonderful course with two courses available. It is located in North Raleigh and offers tennis and pools. I have only played one of the two courses and it was an intriguing experience. Many of the holes have water with a couple of Par 3s that go directly over water on the Oaks course. It plays very nicely with many challenges, but fair. Membership is not the most affordable, and to get the most value for your membership, you need to play multiple times a week. My wife and I almost purchased a home in this community and would have joined this course had we purchased that home. Housing is diverse with town homes in the low $100s-mid $200s and single family homes range from the mid $300s to well over a million. If you have not played this course, I would highly recommend it. I hope to be able to play the Lakes course at some point in the future as I have heard that this course is better than the Oaks.

Finally (but not lastly), Wildwood Greens Golf Club is also located in North Raleigh and is a course all about golf. The John Budwine Golf Academy operates out of this course and offers teaching professionals for any player. The course is very challenging, but fair with several water hazards throughout the course. I am a member of this course as it is very affordable, especially for someone who likes to play other courses. Membership dues are less than $200 a month and the initiation  is extremely reasonable. This course was in place before the community was developed around the course. The community offers homes priced from the low $200s to over $400s. The community is well laid out well with the golf course so you are not crossing several streets throughout your round of golf. If you are on a budget, this is a great course.

I hope you have enjoyed this and please let me know what your preference is. I haven’t covered all of the golf communities in Wake county as there are more than I can cover in this blog. Keep following this blog as I am always talking about individual courses in Wake county and usually focus on one course per blog post.

In answering the question, what community would you join if money was not an issue? I want to hear from you!