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America's Top Golf Communities

America's Top Golf Communities

Each year, Travel + Leisure Golf puts together its list of the . These are among the most exclusive and visually stunning communities in the country and have been chosen on a range of criteria: Golf amenity, residential architecture and style, location, management services and programming options, non-golf amenities and environmental stewardship. The rankings also take into account public access to the course — the more exclusive the property, the better it is for the ranking. With starting home
Photo Courtesy: Spanish Peaks

Each year, Travel + Leisure Golf puts together its list of the 100 Best Golf Communities in America. These are among the most exclusive and visually stunning communities in the country and have been chosen on a range of criteria: Golf amenity, residential architecture and style, location, management services and programming options, non-golf amenities and environmental stewardship. The rankings also take into account public access to the course — the more exclusive the property, the better it is for the ranking.

With starting home prices ranging from $700,000 to $5.5 million, residents of these choice communities are part of an exclusive club. If you’re a golf enthusiast, or simply enjoy taking in the picturesque views over a majestic 18th green, click ahead to see the Top 15 Golf Communities of 2009!

By Paul ToscanoPosted 29 Jan 2009


15. Kuki'o — Kona, Hawaii

Golf: 28 holes (Tom Fazio)Homes: From $5.5 millionHomesites: From $2.6 millionWebsite: kukio.comKuki'o is the first private equity Golf and Beach Club on Hawaii's Big Island. The Club includes a full service members' clubhouse, luxurious spa and fitness facilities, dining pavilion, beach bar, a ten-hole Tom Fazio-designed short course and Kuki'o's signature Outdoor Pursuits program. Upslope from the short course is Kuki'o's eighteen-hole Tom Fazio-designed championship golf course, featuring dra
Photo Courtesy: Kuki'o

Golf: 28 holes (Tom Fazio)
Homes: From $5.5 million
Homesites: From $2.6 million
Website: kukio.com
Kuki'o is the first private equity Golf and Beach Club on Hawaii's Big Island. The Club includes a full service members' clubhouse, luxurious spa and fitness facilities, dining pavilion, beach bar, a 10-hole Tom Fazio-designed short course and Kuki'o's signature outdoor pursuits program. Upslope from the short course is Kuki'o's 18-hole Tom Fazio-designed championship golf course, featuring dramatic panoramic views of the coastlines.


14. Estancia — Scottsdale, Arizona

Golf: 18 holes (Tom Fazio)Homes: From $1.5 millionWebsite: estanciaclub.comThe Estancia Club, which opened in 1995, rests on 640 acres of the northern slope of Scottsdale's Pinnacle Peak in the gated community of Estancia. The club’s Tom Fazio designed 18-hole championship golf course boasts 7,146 yards, bent grass greens, and breathtaking views.  Estancia allows only members and accompanying guests, so exclusivity makes Estancia a prime location for a private golf experience.
Photo Courtesy: The Estancia Club

Golf: 18 holes (Tom Fazio)
Homes: From $1.5 million
Web site: estanciaclub.com
The Estancia Club, which opened in 1995, rests on 640 acres of the northern slope of Scottsdale's Pinnacle Peak in the gated community of Estancia. The club’s Tom Fazio-designed, 18-hole championship golf course boasts 7,146 yards, bent grass greens, and breathtaking views. Estancia allows only members and accompanying guests, so exclusivity makes Estancia a prime location for a private golf experience.


13. 3 Creek Ranch — Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Golf: 18 holes (Rees Jones)Homes: From $1 millionWebsite: 3creekranch-jh.com3 Creek Ranch sits on a 710-acre expanse of classic western rangeland just 5 minutes from downtown Jackson. Private golf on the 18-hole course by Rees Jones places players in a unique space, surrounded by majestic vistas. It also features world-class fly-fishing on the ranch’s three blue-ribbon creeks. The 136 homesites take advantage of the area’s natural beauty, offering several distinct types of property. In the heart
Photo Courtesy: 3 Creek Ranch/Allen Kennedy

Golf: 18 holes (Rees Jones)
Homes: From $1 million
Web site: 3creekranch-jh.com
3 Creek Ranch sits on a 710-acre expanse of classic western rangeland just five minutes from downtown Jackson. Private golf on the 18-hole course by Rees Jones places players in a unique space, surrounded by majestic vistas. It also features world-class fly fishing on the ranch’s three blue-ribbon creeks.

The 136 homesites take advantage of the area’s natural beauty, offering several distinct types of property. In the heart of the property lies the clubhouse and fitness center, surrounded by the private golf course winding through a landscape of wild creeks and tall cottonwoods.


12. Tehama — Carmel, California

Golf: 18 holes (Jay Morrish)Homesites: From $2.6 millionWebsite: tehamagolfclub.comTehama’s course is a Jay Morrish design, with 6,520 yards of play and 200 feet of elevation change. The property - 2000 acres of native landscape, dotted by sprawling oak trees - is also a destination for weddings and other events, due to the natural beauty of the area.
Photo Courtesy: Schnaars

Golf: 18 holes (Jay Morrish)
Homesites: From $2.6 million
Web site: tehamagolfclub.com
Tehama’s course is a Jay Morrish design, with 6,520 yards of play and 200 feet of elevation change. The property — 2,000 acres of native landscape, dotted by sprawling oak trees — is also a destination for weddings and other events, due to the natural beauty.


11. Sea Island, Georgia

Golf: 54 holes (Tom Fazio, Rees Jones, Davis Love III)Homes: From $2 millionHomesites: From $780,000Website: seaislandproperties.comWith a selection of nine different communities within Sea Island, there is no lack of diversity in this private golf community. With amenities like a 65,000 square foot spa, tennis center, movie theater and a cultural arts center, there are plenty of activities even for non-golfers.
Photo Courtesy: Sea Island Properties

Golf: 54 holes (Tom Fazio, Rees Jones, Davis Love III)
Homes: From $2 million
Homesites: From $780,000
Web site: seaislandproperties.com

With a selection of nine different communities within Sea Island, there is no lack of diversity in this private golf community. With amenities like a 65,000-square-foot spa, tennis center, movie theater and a cultural arts center, there are plenty of activities even for non-golfers.


10. Reynolds Plantation — Greensboro, Georgia

Golf: 99 holes (Bob Cupp, Jim Engh, Tom Fazio, Rees Jones, Jack Nicklaus)Homes: From $500,000Homesites: From $300,000Website: reynoldsplantation.comOffering five diverse courses and one more currently under development, this community boasts ten thousand acres of property and eighty miles of shoreline. The members-only club offers indoor/outdoor pools and tennis, while the rest of the community features seven world-class restaurants, three marinas, 12 tennis courts and miles of hiking trails.
Photo Courtesy: Reynolds Plantation

Golf: 99 holes (Bob Cupp, Jim Engh, Tom Fazio, Rees Jones, Jack Nicklaus)
Homes: From $500,000
Homesites: From $300,000
Web site: reynoldsplantation.com

Offering five diverse course plus one currently under development, this community boasts 10,000 acres and 80 miles of shoreline. The members-only club offers indoor/outdoor pools and tennis, while the rest of the community features seven world-class restaurants, three marinas, 12 tennis courts and miles of hiking trails.


9. The Greenbrier Sporting Club — White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia

Golf: 72 holes (Tom Fazio, C. B. Macdonald/Seth Raynor, Seth Raynor/Jack Nicklaus, Dick Wilson/Bob Cupp)Homes: From $1.4 million.Homesites: From $500,000.Website: greenbriersportingclub.comIn the mountains of West Virginia, this private, gated residential community spans 6,500 acres with homes featuring fairway, creek-side and mountain views. Greenbrier is also committed to sustainability with emphasis on “Green Homes at The Greenbrier” which showcases a range of green home options for residents
Photo Courtesy: Greenbrier Sporting Club

Golf: 72 holes (Tom Fazio, C. B. Macdonald/Seth Raynor, Seth Raynor/Jack Nicklaus, Dick Wilson/Bob Cupp)
Homes: From $1.4 million
Homesites: From $500,000
Web site: greenbriersportingclub.com
In the mountains of West Virginia, this private, gated residential community spans 6,500 acres with homes featuring fairway, creekside and mountain views. Greenbrier is also committed to sustainability with an emphasis on “Green Homes at The Greenbrier” which showcases a range of green home options for residents. With golf as the No. 1 activity, Greenbrier’s centerpiece is the 7,025-yard, par-71 Sam Snead course, designed by Tom Fazio.


8. Talisker — Park City, Utah

Golf: 18 holes (Mark O’Meara)Homes: From $1.45 millionHomesites: From $450,000Website: taliskerclub.comResidents of this Utah community gain access to world-class golfing and skiing in over 10,000 acres of Talisker’s private wilderness. Members also have access to a full-time staff who manage the range of outdoor and personal activities. Only five years old, it also is a relatively young, although you can’t tell from the facility’s mature development.
© Peter Aaron/Esto, reproduced with permission

Golf: 18 holes (Mark O’Meara)
Homes: From $1.45 million
Homesites: From $450,000
Web site: taliskerclub.com

Residents of this Utah community gain access to world-class golfing and skiing in over 10,000 acres of Talisker’s private wilderness. Members also have access to a full-time staff who manage the range of outdoor and personal activities. Only five years old, it is relatively young, although you can’t tell from the facility’s mature development.


7. Spanish Peaks — Big Sky, Montana

Golf: 18 holes (Tom Weiskopf)Homes: From $1.25 millionHomesites: From $400,000Contact: spanish-peaks.com
Photo Courtesy: Spanish Peaks

Golf: 18 holes (Tom Weiskopf)
Homes: From $1.25 million
Homesites: From $400,000
Web site: spanish-peaks.com

Spanish Peaks is a 5,700-acre private community bordered by the Lee-Metcalf wilderness to the west, Yellowstone National Park to the south and the Gallatin National Forest to the north. This pristine getaway also boasts, namely, Big Sky Resort, the largest and tallest ski terrain in the country. Also featuring an equestrian center, ski lodge and fine dining, the par-72, 7,200-yard Tom Weiskopf course offers 40-mile views in a true Alpine environment.


6. Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Golf: 126 holes (Pete Dye, Tom Fazio, Clyde Johnston, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tom Watson)Homes: From $700,000Homesites: From $300,000Website: kiawahisland.comLocated just 30 minutes south of Charleston, Kiawah offers amenities including five-star restaurants, seven legendary professional courses, ten miles of beach  and an ocean-front hotel featuring 255 rooms and suites. Like many of the communities on this list, Kiawah offers activities beyond golf – such as a 21 acre nature park, kayaking
© Steve Uzzell, reproduced with permission

Golf: 126 holes (Pete Dye, Tom Fazio, Clyde Johnston, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tom Watson)
Homes: From $700,000
Homesites: From $300,000
Web site: kiawahisland.com
Located just 30 minutes south of Charleston, Kiawah offers amenities including five-star restaurants, seven legendary professional courses, 10 miles of beach and an ocean-front hotel featuring 255 rooms and suites. Like many of the communities on this list, Kiawah offers activities beyond golf — such as a 21-acre nature park, kayaking, biking and an exclusive pool complex.


5. The Cliffs Communities — Travelers Rest, South Carolina

Golf: 108 holes (Tom Fazio, Tom Jackson, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Wright)Homes: From $700,000.Homesites: From $300,000.Website: CliffsCommunities.comLocated in the heart of the Carolina Preserve, The Cliffs Communities extend between Asheville, North Carolina and Greenville, South Carolina at the leading edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  The Cliffs at High Carolina will also have the distinction of being the first in the United States to have a Tiger Woods-designed golf course. With the addition of t
Photo Courtesy: The Cliffs Communities

Golf: 108 holes (Tom Fazio, Tom Jackson, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Wright)
Homes: From $700,000.
Homesites: From $300,000.
Web site: CliffsCommunities.com

Located in the heart of the Carolina Preserve, The Cliffs Communities extend between Asheville, North Carolina, and Greenville, South Carolina, at the leading edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Cliffs at High Carolina will also have the distinction of being the first in the United States to have a Tiger Woods-designed golf course. With the addition of the Tiger Woods course, the Cliffs Communities will showcase a total of eight golf courses. 


4. Mayacama — Santa Rosa, California

Golf: 18 holes (Jack Nicklaus)Homes: From $4.1 million.Homesites: From $1.2 million.Website: mayacama.comThis members-only, gated retreat is the only private golf and lodging club in the heart of Northern California’s picturesque wine country. Distinguished by natural beauty, Mayacama will have will have? Is it not finished yet? fewer than 65 residences on 675 acres. It boasts a European spa, swim & tennis center, hidden trails, a clubhouse with sweeping views, and Mediterranean-influenced villa
Photo Courtesy: Mayacama

Golf: 18 holes (Jack Nicklaus)
Homes: From $4.1 million
Homesites: From $1.2 million
Web site: mayacama.com
This members-only, gated retreat is the only private golf and lodging club in the heart of Northern California’s picturesque wine country. Distinguished by natural beauty, Mayacama has fewer than 65 residences on 675 acres. It boasts a European spa, swim and tennis center, hidden trails, a clubhouse with sweeping views, and Mediterranean-influenced villas.


3. Santa Lucia Preserve — Carmel, California

Golf: 18 holes (Tom Fazio)Homes: From $3 million.Homesites: From $1 million.Website: santaluciapreserve.com.Under the guardianship of the Santa Lucia Conservancy since 1990, 90 percent of the Preserve's native landscape is permanently protected for generations to come. Just 300 Residents and their guests enjoy the Preserve's lifestyle, including a Tom Fazio golf course, an extensive sports and aquatic center, full-service equestrian facilities, and elegant lodging and dining at The Ranch Club's
Photo Courtesy: Santa Lucia Preserve

Golf: 18 holes (Tom Fazio)
Homes: From $3 million
Homesites: From $1 million
Web site: santaluciapreserve.com

Under the guardianship of the Santa Lucia Conservancy since 1990, 90 percent of the Preserve's native landscape is permanently protected for generations to come. Just 300 Residents and their guests enjoy the Preserve's lifestyle, including a Tom Fazio golf course, an extensive sports and aquatic center, full-service equestrian facilities and elegant lodging and dining at The Ranch Club's restored 1920s Hacienda.


2. Palmetto Bluff — Bluffton, South Carolina

Golf: 18 holes (Jack Nicklaus)Homes: From $1.2 million.Homesites: From $300,000.Website: Palmetto-Bluff.comLocated in what is known as the “Carolina Lowcountry”, Palmetto Bluff is bounded by a labyrinth of rivers, marshes and maritime forests that give the region its distinct landscape. With an emphasis on the natural beauty of the area, residents can select a range of properties from 30 acre secluded plots to locations closer to the recreation centers and courses.
Photo Courtesy: Palmetto Bluff

Golf: 18 holes (Jack Nicklaus)
Homes: From $1.2 million
Homesites: From $300,000
Web site: Palmetto-Bluff.com

Located in what is known as the Carolina Lowcountry, Palmetto Bluff is bounded by a labyrinth of rivers, marshes and maritime forests that give the region its distinct landscape. With an emphasis on the natural beauty of the area, residents can select a range of properties from 30-acre secluded plots to locations closer to the recreation centers and courses.


1. Pronghorn - Bend, Oregon

Golf: 36 holes (Tom Fazio, Jack Nicklaus).Homes: From $1.4 million.Homesites: From $375,000.Website: Pronghornclub.comApproximately 160 miles away from Portland, Pronghorn is Travel + Leisure’s selection as the #1 Golf Community in the country. With properties ranging from European villas to organically-inspired desert homes, residents of this top-rated community are never far away from a world-class course – the community features both Jack Nicklaus and Tom Fazio designs. The Pronghorn foundati

Golf: 36 holes (Tom Fazio, Jack Nicklaus).
Homes: From $1.4 million.
Homesites: From $375,000.
Website: Pronghornclub.com

Approximately 160 miles away from Portland, Pronghorn is Travel + Leisure Golf’s selection as the #1 Golf Community in the country. With properties ranging from European villas to organically-inspired desert homes, residents of this top-rated community are never far away from a world-class course – the community features both Jack Nicklaus and Tom Fazio designs.

The Pronghorn foundation also collects a portion of the sales from each property to support charitable programs including arts and culture, environmental stewardship and affordable housing, benefiting numerous programs throughout central Oregon. Starting at $1.4 million, you too could be a resident of this top-notch golf community!


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