Douglas, GA, has the lowest cost of living index of any town in America, according to a new report from the Council for Community and Economic Research. With an index rating of just 82.8, the COL in Douglas is almost 20% lower than the national average (100). Other low-cost towns in the southern U.S. include Clarksville, TN (84.3), Tupelo, MS (85.5), Fort Smith, AR (86.2) and the Martinsville-Henry County area, south of Roanoke, VA (86.5). On the list of most expensive cities, New York (224.2), San Francisco (173.6) and Honolulu (163.6) rank highest.
At about 30 minutes from both Waycross and Valdosta, GA, Douglas is remote, but there is something remotely interesting about its golfing pedigree. The town's one private club, Douglas Golf and Country Club
, claims that Bobby Jones participated in the original design in 1931 (Dick Worrell and Larry Hanson receive credit as well). The layout plays to 6,446 yards from the tips with a rating of 71.7 and slope of 130. A satellite map of the golf course
shows two good-sized lakes that come into play, including on a par 3 with a peninsula green, and a couple dozen sand bunkers. An 18-hole municipal course, a nine-hole course and an executive layout round out the golf offerings in Douglas.
According to City-Data.com, home prices in Douglas plummeted from a median of about $150,000 in mid 2007 to $93,000 last month (50 homes were sold in September). Just 13 homes in town are valued above $400,000, and more than half of those (7) have an assessed value of more than $1 million.
The Douglas G&CC general manager did not return my phone call, but a receptionist told me the initiation fee for the club was $250. It is possible she was quoting the monthly dues, but who knows? In the least costly town in America, no price may be too low.