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A green lifestyle

by Debra Gelbart on Oct 7, 2016

Less than two decades ago, a golf course community centered around the golf club, the greens and the challenge of the course. While that’s still true to an extent, the reasons buyers choose to live in a golf course community today are often more related to the scenic views and a relaxed lifestyle provided by the open landscaping of a golf course than necessarily by plans to regularly play nine or 18 holes. However, you’ll still find plenty of golf enthusiasts choosing to live near a course.

Unique lifestyle experience

“Typically, we find that our buyers are people who are seeking a unique and upscale desert lifestyle experience,” said Mark Hammons, vice president and general manager of Vistancia, an all-ages golf course community in the Northwest Valley. “They are looking for a home that is surrounded by the beauty of the private golf course, vast open space that allows for more privacy and stunning Sonoran mountain views from every angle. 

“Golfers like the convenience, lifestyle and ability to drive to their activity in a golf cart,” added Steve Soriano, executive vice president of Robson Resort Communities, which develops active-adult communities. “Non-golfers appreciate the landscaped open space that they get to live on but someone else does all the work to maintain.”

More than just golf

Most golf communities provide more than just golf, said Hal Looney, Arizona president of Shea Homes’ Active Lifestyle Communities. “They can deliver a highly amenitized lifestyle,” he said. But for golfers, “living in a golf course community like Trilogy (Shea Homes’ active-adult community brand) can be convenient and provides a social life that occurs outside of the course.”

In addition to golf, residents of Estrella, a master-planned community in the Southwest Valley, enjoy amenities that promote an active outdoor lifestyle, said William Olsen, senior vice president and division manager for Newland Communities, which developed Estrella. These features include parks, more than 20 miles of trails, 72 acres of lakes, a yacht club and two residents’ clubs, he said. The amenities “combine with a close-knit neighborhood feel to attract a variety of residents, regardless of golfing status.” 

Three types of golf courses are located in these communities — public, semi-private and private. Vistancia offers two golf courses — a private and a public course. Indeed, Blackstone Country Club at Vistancia is a private 18-hole championship golf course designed by Jim Engh. Club membership is not required with home purchase in Vistancia. Trilogy Golf Club at Vistancia is a public daily-fee course designed by Gary Panks.

All Trilogy communities in Arizona — including Vistancia in the Northwest Valley, Encanterra in the Southeast Valley, Verde River in Rio Verde and Wickenburg Ranch in Wickenburg — offer a golf course, whether public or private, Looney said. Meanwhile, Robson golf courses are semi-private, Soriano said.

It’s important to note that golf course living is not limited to active-adult communities, Olson said. “Estrella is a vibrant, all-ages community and many of our younger couples and families enjoy living near the golf course.” 

Cost of membership

Blackstone Country Club offers several choices for golf or social membership including Equity Golf ($20,000 membership fee and $750 monthly dues); Non-Equity Golf ($10,000 membership fee and $750 monthly dues); Equity Social ($4,000 membership fee and $320 monthly dues).

If you own a home in a Robson Resort Community, you are a member of the club and membership costs nothing, Soriano said. Meanwhile, Trilogy Golf Club at Vistancia offers a variety of golf packages ranging in price from $1,300 to $4,925 a year. 

Several annual-pass opportunities (ranging from $1,800 to $4,000 annually) are available for both individuals and couples in Estrella, Olsen said, on either a seasonal or a full-time basis. Estrella residents receive preferred tee times, assorted golf package options and discounted greens fees.


In addition to being able to enjoy natural beauty, Looney said, residents of a golf course community like Trilogy can count on reduced rates for guest fees, opportunity for viable competition, preferred tee times and easy accessibility to the course. 

Hammons’ list of advantages for living in Vistancia includes “spectacular golf course and mountain views from nearly every angle; close proximity to clubhouse amenities and member activities; upscale, luxury home designs that feature four-sided architectural detailing to ensure the views from the golf course are in sync with the private golf club experience; and an extraordinary indoor/outdoor living experience overlooking the pristine golf course.” He pointed out that “homes in golf course communities typically hold their value through varied real estate cycles.” 

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