The Pete Dye course at Ford Plantation may not be one of the best known, but it is a gem, a pleasure to play and in excellent condition.
Ford Plantation, just south of Savannah, is among the most impressive golf communities I have visited. The course, by Pete Dye, is inventive and links-like, threading its way through lakes and along the Ogeechee River. Not for nothing did one of the wealthiest men of his era, Henry Ford, choose to make Ford Plantation his second home. The developers of the community showed great restraint in confining it to just 400 home sites, giving everyone plenty of breathing room and justifying house prices that begin just below $1 million and proceed steeply upward.
It must have seemed to one local entrepreneur that if he built a few large and beautifully appointed homes on Ford's lush land, people would come. You know the rest of the story; he finished the homes just in time for the market to go into the dumper.
On March 5, the three homes, now owned by the builder's bank, will be sold at auction -- maybe. Two of the three homes were recently listed for the reduced price of $1 million and the other for $1.4 million. No minimum bid has been set, but there is an unspecified "reserve" price, according to auction house Albert Burney, which is handling the on-site sale. The reserve is the minimum price the bank will accept; if it is not reached, no sale. Based on the price of nearby homes, I would not expect a reserve price much below, say, $800,000, but that is a guess. All three homes feature views of the deepwater harbor from which Mr. Ford used to launch his boat, and they include beautiful fit and finish and more than 3,000 square feet of space. (For a current listing of properties for sale inside Ford Plantation, click here.)
Of course, if you have to ask how much it is to join the terrific Ogeechee Golf Club, then you can't afford it. Okay, it is $125,000 and, according to someone at Albert Burney, dues (including all fees) are $20,000 per year. That sounded too high to me, even for a high-end community. A call I placed to Ford Plantation to confirm the number went unreturned, but if I hear back from them, I will post any corrected dues level here. If anyone would like more information, contact me.