Golf community takes shape in Massachusetts

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The blind tee shot on the 580-yard 16th hole is ideally played at the house in the middle distance in the growing golf community surrounding The Ranch Golf Club.   

 

    Today I played with three friends at The Ranch Golf Club, a high-end daily fee course just over the Massachusetts line from Connecticut, about 45 minutes from Hartford, CT and Springfield, MA.  I won't burden you with another review of the course - click here if you want to read one my son posted a few weeks ago - except to say that The Ranch is always in top shape and provides service that comes pretty close to that of a good private club.   You are greeted at the bag drop, your clubs quickly strapped onto a cart, directions to the pro shop, practice range and putting green given.  It is always fun to play at The Ranch.
    It also is always fairly expensive.  We paid $110 today, inclusive of golf cart with a reliable GPS system, whose screen was just a little dim, and all the range balls you want to hit.  No fewer than six times we were greeted by the ranger out on the course; he was there not only to ensure speed of play but also to help with guidance for a few of The Ranch's daunting blind tee shots, which held no surprises for our foursome since all of us had played the course before.
    The Ranch offers annual memberships to anyone.  For unlimited golf in 2009, the fee for an individual is $3,400 andtheranch6approach.jpg for a couple $4,400 (rates for collegians and juniors are deeply discounted).  Membership includes unlimited use of the practice facility, a $20 cart fee per player (not such a bargain), reduced guest fees (about $35 off the walk-in rate) and participation in tournaments and other club activities.  (Note:  Anyone who joins now is able to play free for the rest of the 2008 season, which lasts into November.)  Considering the summer twilight rate of $70 per round, a couple would have to play about 50 rounds each per season to make membership worthwhile...
    Or, they could purchase one of the attractive homes sprouting up around the golf course in the adjacent gated community and received a reduced membership rate.  I was impressed, especially in the current housing market, at the number of homes that have been built in the year since I last played the course.  Starting at $529,000, the golf real estate features much in the way of natural materials, like stone and wood planks, and the homes look out across the golf course to the Berkshire Mountains beyond.  For a couple seeking the golfing lifestyle in both the northeast and the south, The Ranch Golf Club Estates would be a viable option for the spring, summer and into the early fall.  For sure, you will not become bored of the golf course.
    A special Ranch Partner Program is available for owners of homes in the community.  Annual membership rates are 25% lower than for non-homeowners, just $3,150 for couples and $2,400 for individuals who own a home in The Ranch Club Estates.  The local market is hurting at the moment, and it is possible to negotiate excellent prices.  Some of the "spec" homes we passed along the fairways were large and impressive, others smaller and impressive.  All seemed well integrated into the landscape and on only one or two fairways did I think the out of bounds stakes could have been moved back a little.  
    If you are interested in The Ranch, contact me (click on button at top of page) and I will put you in touch with one of the agents who feature homes in the community.

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The 8th hole at The Ranch is a quality par 3.