“The classic model of houses ringing a golf course is dying"

16golf600.1.jpgSallie Brady of the New York Times looks at emerging trends in golf course housing development and lists some of the cutting edge communities of note.

Got to love the frank lede:

There's never been anything terribly sexy about living in a golf community. Imagine cookie-cutter spec homes dotting yet another dull par 4 in Myrtle Beach, and you get the picture. Even if you like the game and are in the market for a vacation home, you may never have considered buying in one of these old-style resorts.

Fast forward...

“The classic model of houses ringing a golf course is dying,” said John Kirk, an architect with the New York firm Cooper Robertson & Partners, who designed homes at WaterSound, a beachside golf community in the Florida panhandle. “Instead the golf course is like a big public green,” he said, adding that “people want to be able to walk to the post office or to get their morning coffee.”

Vacation home buyers continue to get younger — a median age of 47 in 2006, down from 52 in 2005, according to a survey by the National Association of Realtors — as more families move in next to the retirees at golf communities. Developers have responded by offering more design options, holiday kids’ clubs and summer camps, and myriad recreational activities beyond the driving range.

But the question is whether there are enough buyers for these new golf retreats. “The long-term demographics are favorable,” said Walter Molony, a spokesman for the National Association of Realtors. “It would not be surprising if we saw the vacation market hold its own while the rest of the market declines.”