Test drives: Southeast developer offers golfers opportunity to be Member for a Day

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If there is anything wrong with the links-style layout at North Hampton Golf Club, it is that homes are often in view just off the fairways, although rarely near the field of play. 


    These are perilous times for big national developers whipsawed by the housing crisis, and they are pulling out all the stops to reduce their inflated inventories.  Virtually all of the name developers, as well as smaller ones, are pricing their homes aggressively and offering other attractive incentives.  But given the beating that real estate investors have taken, no one is going to buy a home without visiting their future property at least once.  So developers are not only sharpening their price reduction pencils but they are also concentrating on more creative ways to attract potential buyers to make that visit.  
    One of the most prominent developers in the southeast, LandMar, is making a special appeal to golfers in that regard, offering a Member for a Day plan for those looking for a vacation or permanent golf home in the southeastern U.S.  The Member for a Day (or Stay and Play package at some of their developments) offers all the privileges of club membership to the non-member who is willing to be shown around a LandMar golf community for a few hours.
    Florida-based LandMar's roster of developments is impressive, spanning Florida and Georgia and including communities with highly regarded golf courses like North Hampton in Fernandina Beach, FL, and Osprey Cove

Sales tours of communities do not take more than a couple of hours and the sales people are generally open and honest with answers to your questions.

in St. Marys, GA.  The Arnold Palmer-designed North Hampton recently showed up as the 45th best course in the nation, private or public, on a list at GolfLink.com (see the article immediately below).  More significantly, LandMar has a "strategic alliance" with Crescent Communities and Hampton Golf which gives residents of a LandMar community reciprocal golf privileges at eight other LandMar courses, many within driving distance, as well as the more far flung Crescent courses, which include the well-regarded Rim Golf Club in Payson, AZ (Weiskopf/Morrish design), and Sugarloaf in Duluth, GA (Coore/Crenshaw design).
    The LandMar Member for a Day package includes a round of golf per person, the required community tour with a member of the sales staff, and access to all the facilities.  In truth, though, North Hampton is available to the public for play, so if you wanted to avoid the community tour, you could pay a little more and test the golf course before you take the tour (green fees are incredibly reasonable for this quality of golf, around $60 on a weekday, cart included).  My experience with these tours is that they are not hard sell, they do not take more than a couple of hours, and the sales people are generally open and honest with answers to your questions.  
    North Hampton still has a few home sites available at prices beginning in the low $100s and some built homes starting in the $400s.  Amelia Island and its beaches (and resort golf courses) are just a few minutes away, and the increasingly popular city of Jacksonville about 20 minutes away.  If you are considering a slightly more rural golf community, LandMar's Osprey Cove, about 40 minutes north of North Hampton and near the charming St. Marys, GA, offers not only Member for a Day but also a stay and play package for just $99 per night that includes golf on its private Mark McCumber course.  I've visited Osprey Cove and liked it, although rain prevented me from playing the golf course.  Home site and house prices are lower than at North Hampton but the low country environs, for me, are even better. 

    I have contacts at both Osprey Cove and North Hampton, as well as other golf communities in the Jacksonville area, so if you are interested, contact me and I will get you more information and put you in touch with the person best able to help you with golf arrangements or a stay and play package.