Some golf communities are seeing the need to take a different approach to preserve all that drew people to live there in the first place.
Living in a golf course community has always had a lot of obvious appeal, even if you didn’t play golf or needed to take out a mandatory club membership as part of acquiring real estate on the property. The communities offered a lot of built-in security and tranquility—and most of all, assurance of pleasing views and surroundings, and the absence of a threat of high-rises or other monstrosities springing up next to or in front of your home.
At least that was pretty much the case for many years, as long as golf was the driving force behind the community’s reason for being. But that has all changed dramatically in the last ten or so years—and in many cases, those living in golf communities have suddenly found themselves confronted by the very real threat of living next to an apartment building or senior-living center, and/or having those pleasing views turn into overgrown, weed-filled eyesores.
This has led to a steady stream of people rushing to fill community centers and town halls around the country, as part of hastily assembled protests and grass-roots efforts to try to stop plans for potential development of golf community properties, and/or to try to take existing developers or golf course operators to task for abandoning and neglecting a property. “I bought my home because of the [golf course] view” has been heard repeatedly from agitated citizens after they’ve stepped up to microphones at zoning-board hearings.
Some communities, however, have seen the need to try to take a different approach to preserve all that drew people to choose to live there in the first place. Recognizing that their communities have dwindling appeal not only because of changing participation patterns for golf, but also because millennials and other emerging generations are gravitating to other styles of living preferences, those who live in places like Stockton, Calif.’s Brookside golf community and who operate clubs associated with those properties are trying to find ways to come together, as golfers and non-golfers alike, with new “save our view” concepts that also offer some interesting new possibilities for expanding club membership rolls.
These type of proposals, through which those in the community’s homeowners association who are not club members would be assessed a fee in return for some club access and privileges, are also certain, of course, to generate protests of their own. In the case of Brookside, where only 30 percent of those residing in the 937-home development are members of Brookside CC, those raising objections to the plan say that the club’s problems stem more from a history of financial mismanagement than from the major cultural changes that are affecting golf and real estate.
But the developer of Brookside is on record as saying that while the presence of the golf course increased lot values by from 50 to 100 percent when the community was built about 30 years ago, mandatory membership would be required if it were being built today.
And General Manager Alicia Escajeda says that while Brookside CC has operated at a profit in recent years, the $560,000 that would be generated each year from the $50 monthly fee paid by the new class of homeowner members is critical to not only her club’s long-term survival, but that of many other clubs like it.
“This is a nationwide issue that is happening all over,” Escajeda says. “There are numerous case histories of what happens when a golf course closes. We do not want to become a statistic. [All] community residents who want to maintain their property values and create a stronger and sustainable future should [support a concept like Brookside’s].”
Read more about Brookside CC HERE.