August/September 2022

Although it may seem counterintuitive, the current real estate market, with its soaring prices, offers an opportunity to many retirees looking for a permanent retirement home or a vacation home.  How so, you ask?  Read on…Also, golfers need all the confidence boosts they can get, and sometimes the “lessons” we receive from professionals do not come on the practice range but rather through the television and golf history books.  This month we thank Colin Morikawa and Tommy Armour for that.

Ka Ching:  High Real Estate Prices Offer Buying Opportunity for Retirees

Cash is king!  You’ve heard that before many times, and it is an important notion to keep in mind for retirees seeking to purchase a retirement home or vacation home at a time of unprecedented price increases.  Cash, in the form of home equity, is an advantage that many retirees have over most other demographics currently looking for homes.

Over recent months, the real estate market has begun to thaw.  More homes are available although prices are still at historically high levels.  A rise in mortgage interest rates has tamped down enthusiasm by some buyers who had been looking.  The rate rises affect first-time homeowners the most but also have put a damper on couples and families looking for larger spaces.  But those of us who have ridden the 30-year wave of real estate price increases in our primary homes do not have the same issues; our homes are loaded with equity that, as soon as we sell them, provide more than enough cash to purchase a more modestly sized home in a location with lower property taxes, as is the case in much of the Sunbelt.

Some popular golf community markets are still locked up pretty tight. In Asheville, NC, for example, just six golf homes were listed for sale in late August, with a median offering price of $2 million.  At the sprawling Landings community in Savannah, GA, home to more than 4,600 residents, the median home price for the 55 properties available has risen to nearly $775,000, well over pre-pandemic levels. 

Those may seem like daunting statistics but if you have owned your primary home for, say, more than a decade, chances are its value has increased pretty much in step with increases elsewhere, including the Sunbelt.  In other words, if you are looking for a vacation or permanent home down South, ignore the media hype about low inventories and high prices and start looking, or begin looking again, for your next home.  You’ve worked hard; you owe it to yourself. 

Here are some markets and communities you – or your friends and family members, if they are looking -- might consider:

Pawleys Island, SC

Nowhere on the east coast will you find a better combination of beach and accessible golf (“accessible” as in high-quality, reasonably priced courses open to the public).  Near the end of August there were 49 homes listed for sale in the Pawleys Island market with a median price of $575,000 and average cost per square foot of $247.  (Some of those 49 homes were listed as “under contract”).  One three-bedroom, two-bath home in the River Club community was listed at $400,000.  A four-bedroom, three-bath home in Pawleys Plantation was offered at $575,000. (Note:  Your editor and his wife have owned a vacation condo in Pawleys Plantation since 2000.)  Initiation fee for membership in the semi-private Jack Nicklaus club is $2,500.  At the highest end of the Pawleys Island market, a five-bedroom home in The Reserve that includes five full bathrooms and 1 ½ half baths was listed for $1.3 million.  The Reserve Country Club is owned by the McConnell Golf Group whose unique membership grants privileges at 14 of the best private clubs in the Carolinas and Tennessee.

Other golf communities in the area to consider:  Wachesaw Plantation, Heritage Plantation, DeBordieu Colony.

Lakewood Ranch, FL

One of the largest golf communities in the Southeast, Lakewood Ranch is actually a town with its own zip code and plenty of services within its borders, including three golf courses.  The community, which is about a 15-minute drive from Sarasota, is separated into more than 22 neighborhoods, each with pretty much their own character and real estate price structures.  Lakewood Country Club is currently showing a waiting list for full-golf memberships, but sports and social memberships are available.  Of a total 114 homes for sale, 20 are listed between $400,000 and $600,000.

Other (Sarasota/Bradenton) area golf communities to consider:  Palm Aire, Prestancia, Longboat Key, Concession, Laurel Oaks.

Wilmington, NC

Wilmington is a full-service city, both historic and modern all in one.  One of its top golf communities, Landfall, is sandwiched between downtown and the Atlantic Ocean, less than 10 minutes to each.  Other communities, such as Porters Neck, St. James Plantation and Brunswick Forest, offer a wide range of amenities and home pricing.  Landfall is at the highest end of the market, with 23 current listings priced from $550,000.  Of Brunswick Forest’s 45 listings, 11 are priced under $400,000. Located in Leland, NC, Brunswick Forest is just 10 minutes to downtown and about 20 minutes to the beaches.  St. James Plantation, about 45 minutes south of the city, is a sprawling community with four private golf courses and its own beach club just 10 minutes out the back gate.  Its 34 home listings begin at $500,000.  Porters Neck is a smaller community just north of the city, featuring a Tom Fazio golf course that recently joined the McConnell Golf Group (see above).  It shows only eight homes for sale, starting at $864,000.

Other golf communities in the area include:  Compass Pointe, Magnolia Greens, Beau Rivage, Bald Head Island.  

Larry Gavrich
Founder & Editor
Home On The Course, LLC

Lessons from a Quintuple Bogey

The German word for it is schadenfreude:  Pleasure derived by someone from another person's misfortune.  Every time one of the best players in the world struggles, we rank amateurs watching on TV crack a sympathy smile.  I admit I do because it is a reminder that the game we love can bring anyone to his or her knees. 

According to the Royal & Ancient, there are 66.6 million golfers in the world.  Of that number, Colin Morikawa is the eighth best.  But for a 20-minute stretch on one hole of the BMW Championship a few weeks ago, Morikawa, to his regret, was one of us. He put up a score at the par 5 12th hole that, I daresay, at least 40 million of us golfers would have beaten.  After two nicely placed shots that left a wedge over a pond to the green, Morikawa dumped two shots in the water, then blew one over the green and, when he finally putted out, carded a quintuple bogey 10. 

How many times have you beaten yourself up over a three-putt and taken that negative attitude to the next hole? On the hole just before his disaster, Morikawa four-putted for double bogey.  See, it happens even to them.

As bad as you may feel for Morikawa, his quintuple bogey doesn’t rank anywhere near the top of the leaderboard for highest score on an individual hole.  According to a Golfweek  article in March 2021, the 21 highest scores ever recorded on a professional golf tour begin with 13 and end with – wait for it – 23.  That 23, which is known as an archaeopteryx, was allegedly recorded by a pro golfer whose name has adorned sets of clubs and golf balls and, as I recall, a line of clothing. 

The Golfweek article indicates that, at the 1927 Shawnee Open at the legendary Shawnee Country Club (A.W. Tillinghast design), Tommy Armour, aka the Silver Scot, knocked 10 balls out of bounds on the par 5 17th hole. (Note:  Other accounts dispute this and indicate he scored an 11 on the hole). Whether it was an 11 or 23, it is a reminder that we should never take a golf hole for granted – or think about knocking a drive out of bounds.  And the fact that we might play well one day has nothing to do with how we will play the next.  One week before his awful showing at the Shawnee Open, where he finished a few dozen strokes behind the winner, the Silver Scot won the U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club.

One other note about that 23 – or 11—that Armour made at Shawnee.  News reports at the time say he blamed his score on “the yips,” the first time that term was ever used to describe a golf performance.  Armour went on to win the PGA Championship and Open Championship in the early 1930s, but he struggled often during his career to make short putts. 

Just like the rest of us. 

statue of man sitting on a park bench
Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet, SC

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