Start the search for your luxurious golf home
Does your dream property have lush sweeping views, access to five-star leisure amenities and come with round-the-clock security? If so, you might want to consider buying on a golf community, even if you’ve never lifted a driver in your life!
Today, some of the world’s most desirable properties sit beside a fairway, either on their own plot or as part of a development. Easy access to quality golf, often championship standard, and all the trimmings, including a clubhouse, training facilities and discounted membership or fees is an obvious draw. But for many buyers, it’s a combination of having different leisure experiences and services on your doorstep, glorious outlooks and the reassurance of being in a secure gated environment that clinches the deal. Not forgetting that homes on quality resorts also have strong rental appeal.
“It is a surprise but only 30% of buyers of golf resort properties actually play golf,” said Paul Cherry at Chersun Properties in Spain. “The majority of non-golfers enjoy the great views and the openness of a golf resort, along with the sports facilities and amenities that are usually available.”
The styles and configurations of residential golf communities are varied. At the large end of the scale, they could be large manicured communities made up of different developments built around one or more golf courses, often signature courses by world-renowned designers, interspersed with a choice of upmarket facilities and commercial outlets. At the other end are small boutique resorts, or estates, offering a limited number of exclusive plots carefully sited around one golf course. These days, many resorts also include an international branded hotel chain.
Whichever type suits you, we outline some key places to start your hunt for a luxury golf home.
More than 50 years after its first course opened at Penina in Portimão, the Algarve is today a top international golf destination. A large proportion of its 40-plus courses are championship standard, some being favourites for hosting opens, and the properties dotted around the fairways are some of the most desirable in Europe.
The so-called Golden Triangle near Faro Airport is the jewel in the crown. There you’ll find the upmarket resorts of Quinta do Lago, with three courses, Vale do Lobo, with two courses, and larger Vilamoura, with five courses and a world-class marina. Luxury villas in Quinta do Lago in particular are popular with celebrities. Other popular options in the central Algarve include Salgados Golf and Oceanico’s Amendoeira Golf Resort near Albufeira, while the western Algarve is home to the Boavista Golf and Spa near Lagos and the Pestana Golf Resort near Carvoeiro.
“We believe the benefits of buying on a golf resort, even as a non-golfer, include security, quality of life, exclusivity and a social community within great locations,” highlighted Paul Cotterell at Casas do Barlavento in Lagos. “Two of the locations we promote are Boavista Spa and Golf and Palmeras Ocean Living & Golf. Both of these resorts offer selective ocean view settings and are just a few minutes from the cosmopolitan city of Lagos with its historic backdrop.”
Meanwhile, the less developed eastern Algarve is home to the dazzling Monte Rei resort, with multi-million-euro villas set around a Jack Nicklaus course. Other options are located on Portugal’s unspoilt Silver Coast, just north of Lisbon, and include the golf communities of Praia d’El Rey, Bom Sucesso and Royal Obidos.
A name synonymous with upscale golf resorts and a popular hang-out with sports stars is La Manga Club, located next to the Mar Menor in Murcia. The first resort in Spain to have two championship level golf courses, today its armoury of leisure facilities includes professional standard football and tennis academies, let alone a Spa and wellness centre. Property there ranges from villa plots by the fairway to small developments of town homes and apartments.
Meanwhile, for choice of luxury resort and championship golf, nowhere in Europe can match the 150-kilometre-long Costa del Sol, home to more than 60 courses.
So how do you pick out the real gems? “With so many available you will discover that a prestige resort is one that has an award-winning golf course and top quality, modern properties which provide privacy and a relaxing environment,” explained Paul Cherry at Chersun Properties. “The resort will also have a good choice of five-star restaurants and activities such as a gym, spa, tennis courts and children clubs.”
The Marbella and Mijas Costa municipalities account for many of the Costa del Sol’s golf hot spots. Looking closer, the Nueva Andalucía community, located behind Puerto Banús, is known as ‘Golf Valley’, thanks to its Las Brisas, Aloha and Los Naranjos golf courses. While the hills around Benahavís also are home to a number of resorts, including Los Aqueros, Monte Mayor and two of Spain’s most upmarket ones, La Zagaleta and La Quinta. Tucked away in the western corner of the Costa del Sol is the exclusive gated community of Sotogrande – home to five golf courses, including celebrated Valderrama, host of the European Tour’s Volvo Masters and Ryder Cup, as well as a marina and polo club. Sotogrande’s residents include royalty and the world’s wealthy elite.
Elsewhere in Spain, other top boutique resorts include PGA Catalunya near Girona and Las Colinas in the southern Costa Blanca.
The climate might be less inviting than other international destinations, but the UK has its own collection of exclusive golf communities, referred to more often as golf estates. The best-known are concentrated on the south-west fringe of Greater London, meaning easy access to the capital, as well as two international airports (Heathrow and Gatwick). The most high profile ones include Wentworth Estate in Virginia Water, which is built around the Wentworth Club, host of the first ever Ryder Cup, and St George’s Hill in Weybridge. Both count celebrities among their owners. Others include Sunningdale Golf Club and Claremont Park Estate in Esher.
In Scotland, the birthplace of the golf, the typical model of a gated resort or estate doesn’t really exist, but there are opportunities to purchase a home that overlooks one of its famous courses. One option is a luxury apartment at Hamilton Grand overlooking the 18th green of St Andrews Old Course. Or choose a property in Auchterarder, where you could be close to both Auchterarder golf course and world-famous Gleneagles. Just east of Edinburgh are Gullane and Muirfield, where it might be possible to pick up a property near one of the pristine fairways – if you’re quick!
Meanwhile, across the pond Florida’s balmy year-round climate is made for golf. The Orlando area offers the chance to combine a luxury golf home with easy access to Disney and the theme parks. ChampionsGate, Reunion and Providence are the largest, most established communities, or try one of the newer sparkly options, such as Bella Collina.
On Florida’s Gulf Coast is Naples, one of the richest cities in the USA in terms of average income per capita and said to have more golf courses per head of capita than any other area in the USA!