Smorgasbord golf: When membership in six or more courses is an option

Tom Fazio's course at Keowee Vineyards is one of seven you can play if you are a full golf member in The Cliffs Communities.  Membership is $150,000.

    Golfers are somewhat like Knights of the Roundtable, always looking for the Holy Grail, aka the perfect round ("perfect" being relative, of course).  So we tinker with our swings, jump on the latest driver from Callaway or Taylor Made, sign up for golf school, consider hypnosis...and we play as many different golf courses as we can, hoping that maybe the shape of one layout will fit perfectly the shape of our shots

Initiation fees can pile up, along with alimony payments if our non-golf playing spouses catch on.

(assuming there is a consistent shape to our shots).  As many of us trot off into the sunset of retirement living, we set our sights on golf membership in just one course.  We'd gladly belong to more than one, but those initiation fees can pile up, along with the alimony payments if our non-golf playing spouses catch on.
    But maybe we don't quite have to give up the dream of buffet golf.  What follows are summaries of a few communities that offer multiple course memberships in their private clubs, starting with the fanciest and ending up with the equivalent of the local Chinese buffet ($6.95, all you can eat).  This is by no means the entire enchilada of communities that offer multiple course options; if you are interested in the concept, get in touch with me and I will get you more information on membership and real estate opportunities in places like Pinehurst, Woodside Plantation in Aiken, SC, and others that fill the bill.  For now, here's just a taste of what's available.

    The Cliffs Communities in the Carolinas offer the golfing equivalent of a grand buffet with lobster and steamship round of beef on the table.  With six courses in play, one (by Gary Player) close to completed, and a promised Tiger Woods design a couple of years down the road, the Cliffs offers the single best looking, most
The $150,000 membership at The Cliffs attaches to the property, not the individual.

diverse (in terms of layouts and location) and best conditioned grouping of all.  Ranging from the pleasant if not diverting Cliffs Valley course by Ben Wright to the Tom Jackson high-altitude Glassy Mountain to the Fazio gem at Keowee Vineyards, such gourmet golf comes at a price, in this case $150,000 to start.  But a member in one club has full privileges at all others, and the longest distance between courses is about 75 minutes (and a pleasant drive it is!).  Understand, though, that when you purchase a property at The Cliffs, you must purchase golf membership at that time; memberships attach to the property, not the individual.  If you buy a property without golf membership and want to join later, you will have to buy another piece of property; and the person who purchases your original property will not be able to join as a golf member (unless they, too, purchase another piece of property).
    Among hi-quality, multiple course communities, Reynolds Plantation offers almost as much golf as The Cliffs, all inside the gates.  (Side note:  Yesterday, while purchasing an automobile for my teenage daughter, the general manager of the dealership offered that his dream is to live in Reynolds Plantation.)  With five lush
You could build a new home at the high-class Reynolds Plantation for as low as $600,000, land included.

layouts in place, courtesy of Nicklaus, Fazio, Rees Jones, Bob Cupp and the unheralded but well regarded Jim Engh, and a new Pete Dye course under construction, Reynolds cuts down on the gas guzzling since all courses are a short distance from each other.  One small compromise though:  Four of the six courses at Reynolds are open to guests staying at the on-site Ritz Carlton or in owner-rented villas.  Reynolds property purchasers can opt for a golf plan that includes just the four resort courses - at $65,000 - or the full boat golf, all six courses for $110,000 (no green fees or cart fees).  Given that many homes in Reynolds tip the $1 million mark, and that no Ritz Carlton is a cheap stay, you are not likely to run into any muni-course bachelors-for-a-weekend foursomes whooping it up on your course.  Home sites at ½ to ¾ acres begin at a modest $150,000 or so, although lake views command much higher prices.  Construction costs begin around $150 a square foot, which means it is possible to build a new 3,000 square foot home for around $600,000.

    If the multiple-course options at The Cliffs, Reynolds Plantation or elsewhere sound interesting, contact me and I will get you more information.  As always, there is never a fee or obligation for calling on my services.

Tomorrow:  How to go even lower on the cost of membership golf

The Ben Wright design at Cliffs Valley provides something to look up to -- the mountains that surround the course.

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