Fair Ways Real estate promoters see straight shots ahead for golf neighborhoods

The top-notch golf course at Dunes West and its clubhouse helps draw home buyers to the Mount Pleasant community.

The pros and cons of living on a golf course are not lost on Don Campbell, local agent with Berkshire Hathaway Carolina Sun Real Estate.

An avid golfer, Campbell lists a home for sale on Snee Farm Country Club in Mount Pleasant. “It’s right on the 14th green,” says Campbell, describing the top-notch location of the Casseque Province residence priced at $599,000. The Snee Farm golf layout is a “great old design of a course, a test of skill.” Club membership, which includes use of the clubhouse and the swimming pool where the neighborhood’s perennial top summer-swim team practices, amounts to an affordable $2,500 a year, he says.

The Rice Planters Amateur, frequented by leading college players and won in past years by Hal Sutton, Mark Calcavecchia, Tom Lehman and other players who would go on to star on the PGA Tour, takes place yearly at Snee Farm in early summer. This year, the tourney moved temporarily to Rivertowne Country Club as the traditional home course refurbished its greens.

Yet even as a golf fan, Campbell realizes not every player is a pro, and the Snee Farm houses are built a safe distance from errant shots.

“You don’t get bombarded by golf balls,” he says.

Campbell’s listing of a course side residence is fairly common in the Charleston area, considering there are close to 30 layouts in the region. A few courses such as Patriots Point, Yeamans Hall Club and Charleston Municipal are golf only or largely free from real estate.

Hundreds of homes lie alongside fairways, greens and tee boxes, while thousands more are in communities with golf courses in West Ashley; Mount Pleasant; Awendaw; Summerville; Goose Creek; North Charleston; James Island; Moncks Corner; Daniel Island; Wild Dunes; Hollywood; and Johns, Kiawah and Seabrook islands.

Conversely, new courses are scarce: just a handful opened in the past decade. Eagle Landing and Kings Grant are among a small number that closed. Yet many layouts undergo repairs, design changes and overhauls to spike interest. And golf communities continue to post healthy sales figures and home prices.

Indeed, golf remains a marketing tool, even in villages with scores of additional amenities.

Phil Gardner, associate with William Means Real Estate, lists a nearly $1.4 million home on Marsh Hen Drive on Seabrook Island.

“Set below grand, shady oak trees, this custom-built retreat’s panoramic views overlook an expansive marsh front. Large sunny windows throughout the entire house provide instant access to the Lowcountry’s natural beauty, eliciting a sense of peace. You’ll even see the ocean in the distance,” he says.

Still, Gardner is quick to note one more perk for the idyllic property: a buyer would have availability to a golf membership.

Similarly, the Plantation At Stono Ferry promotes its championship golf course. “The Links at Stono Ferry is an award winning golf course and home to the College of Charleston men’s and women’s golf teams,” says Bud Poston, Realtor with Century 21 Properties Plus who specializes in the Hollywood community’s real estate.

At the same time, Stono Ferry touts a steeplechase horse track, swimming pool, recreational fields and an equestrian center.

The mix of amenities plays a role in boosting home sales, Poston says.

In 2016’s first half, 16 properties closed at Ironwood Townhomes and in the neighborhood’s single-family homes, he says. “Some (properties are) on the golf course, some on the marsh and some on the deep water Intracoastal Waterway-Stono River,” Poston says. Another four single-family home sales are in line to close, he says.

In the first six months last year, 13 properties closed, “so 2016 is looking like a banner year for our neighborhood,” he says. Two dozen properties are listed for sale in Stono Ferry, some townhomes but mostly single-family homes, says Poston, who with business partner Rob Sturm works from the real estate sales office at the Stono Ferry golf clubhouse. There are also home sites for sale along the interior, golf course, marsh and waterfront. Six lots sold through June this year compared with just one sale in 2015, Poston says.

Stono Ferry “continues to offer a variety of properties available in a gated, golf and equestrian community that is very private and natural,” Poston says.

Reach Jim Parker at 843-937-5542 or jparker@postandcourier.com.