In the history of critical writing, today's launch of golfcommunityreviews.com won't amount to a hill of beans for anyone but my wife and kids -- and them I am not too sure about. They thought I spent enough time already hunched over my laptop.
Now this. After almost a year of publishing the HomeOnTheCourse advisory newsletter (see HomeOnTheCourse.com), I am more convinced than ever that there is a big need for unbiased information about golfing communities. Sure, you can find tons of material on the subject online, but virtually every scrap of it is hype, promoted by the communities themselves or their marketing agents. After 30+ years in corporate communication, and having banged out plenty of press releases, my nose can smell the subtle techniques the marketing experts use.
A few months ago we read in a magazine with the helpful-sounding name Resort Living that one group of communities offers "one of the most comprehensive golf memberships" anywhere. Resort Living may sound like a Travel & Leisure clone, but our radar told us something was funny (even T&L doesn't often use such overheated superlatives). With a little research, we discovered that Resort Living is published by the same company responsible for marketing that group of communities. (Okay, it's the well-appointed Cliffs Communities, and we can't quibble with the claim, just that it is promotion in the guise of objectivity.)
Aside from support of truth, justice and American blunt honesty, this blog will share more subtly shaded information about golf communities; e.g. how they differ, one to the other, in terms of their golf courses, their residents, proximities to things that matter besides golf (like health care, culture, restaurants, transportation) and the range of real estate available. We'll continue to look at the cities nearby and what they offer in the way of lifestyle choices. We intend to appeal primarily to those looking for retirement or second-home properties, but what we have to say will be equally germane to the investor looking to park some money in a relatively safe, and potentially rewarding, place. After all, the old real estate saw holds true for everyone -- Location. Location. Location.
We will continue to travel so that we can provide information from on location -- there's that word again -- not just material cobbled together from the internet, the Wall Street Journal, and other sources we review daily. But we will also be a consolidator of information, saving you time and money by being your eyes, ears and representative as you face some major investment decisions about vacation or retirement real estate. When you spend the time and money to travel to investigate golf course communities, we want to arm you with the most objective information possible.
Now here's the truth in advertising statement: This venture isn't entirely altruism, although we do feel as if we are on a mission. Our humble little blog will be gussied up by those intrusive sponsored ads from Google and others; this helps us pay the electricity bills and supplement this author's fixed income. But rest assured that a community whose unsolicited ad pops up on our site will be treated with the same objectivity as one that never advertises, and that we are as likely to bury an advertiser as we are to praise it, although we will more often choose to review those communities we can recommend than those we can't. We don't want to waste your time and ours savaging places that clearly offer bad golf and sub-standard real estate options.
We hope also that if you return to this site, you find enough value in our observations and research that you will opt for the more in-depth reviews in our HomeOnTheCourse advisory newsletter, which we will soon offer at a nominal annual charge. More information on HomeOnTheCourse will be forthcoming.
Finally, from time to time, you may find that we hop the tracks a little and raise an issue unrelated to golf or real estate. I hope you will join me in the occasional musing. My wife and children are tired of taking the brunt of my observations about political correctness and other pet peeves. So the price you pay to read this blog will be the occasional observation from your editor. I look forward to your own comments. I hope we all have some fun and learn from each other's experience and interests in golf-related living. Golf is a game for life, and my mission is to help you find the best possible place to play it for the rest of your days.
We often come upon private golf clubs not connected to a planned community. They offer all the privileges of golf community courses but with the extra flexibility of choosing a home anywhere. In the case of the excellent Tom-Fazio designed Thornblade Club in Greer, SC, the adjacent neighborhood of mostly single-family homes, with a few condos, is worth serious consideration.