THE desire to live on a golf course has fuelled the construction of residential golf estates across Australia over the past 20 years. The phenomenon has seen approximately 50 golf communities developed in various parts of the country.

Historically, homebuyers tend to value water views more than any other aspect. The next most attractive features tend to be golf course and parkland views. But there are a number of reasons behind the remarkable growth of residential golf estates. To get a better take on why Australians choose to live in residential golf estates, we asked homeowners for their reasons for buying into the dream.

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Ross and Ros Hogan were the first residents to make their home at Cranbrook Residences, an aged care and retirement facility next to Castle Hill Country Club in Sydney’s north-west. The couple is indicative of retirees who are seeking a new standard in exclusive retirement living.

Ross is enjoying his 12th year of golf, and retirement, but Ros is a relative newcomer to the sport. They’ve fallen in love with Cranbrook Residences, the nearby Castle Hill course the club’s welcoming social scene.

Living On The Fairways
A bedroom view at Cranbrook Residences golfers would love to wake up to every morning.

“When we were looking to downsize, our priority was proximity to great golf, finding a community purpose-built for those over 55 and choosing an apartment with high-quality finishes and plenty of room,” Ross says. “We have three bedrooms as well as 205 square metres of living space. The fact our apartment looks out over the gorgeous sixth green and seventh holes is a very welcome bonus.”

The 53 apartments at Cranbrook Residences feature an abundance of natural light and luxury inclusions. Designated indoor/outdoor living zones and custom-designed kitchens appliances make entertaining a pleasure.

Lifestyle amenities include a contemporary café and on-site wellness centre with hair and beauty salon, hydrotherapy pool, gym for physio, visiting doctor’s consultation suite and a soon-to-be completed fitness centre.

Aveo Newcastle is breathing new life into Shortland Waters Golf Club. This secure, tranquil retirement community will boast 300 independent living villas that meander along fairways, linked by green walkways.

Perched on a tree-fringed ridge, the spacious villas maximise views and natural light. Featuring a chef’s kitchen with European appliances, the open-plan living and dining areas incorporate flexible study areas while the private terraces provide the perfect spot to relax. All villas are designed with secure, direct-access garages and fitted with a 24/7 emergency response system.

Residents will have access to all the support they need, both now and in the future. With an on-site residential aged care home planned in future stages, they can stay part of the community and be close to friends and loved ones.

The master-planned village will have a community centre, featuring a lounge bar, communal kitchen, café spaces and a gym. Residents will also have exclusive access to a health and wellness centre where they can receive treatment from doctors, physiotherapists and podiatrists.

Security, care and lifestyle are paramount so that residents can maintain their independence as well as enjoy retirement. A limited number of first-release villas are currently available at Aveo Newcastle, which is 15 minutes from the city centre with easy road links to local beaches, the airport and Hunter Valley.

On Queensland’s Gold Coast, Marina Concourse is the centrepiece of The Concourse at Royal Pines. Award-winning developer Sunland Group has emphasised contemporary architecture in its stylish twin-tower development that features 110 luxurious apartments and penthouses adjoining the championship layout that hosts the Australian PGA Championship.

Two six-storey, mid-rise towers will stand above the waterfront setting nestled between the Nerang River and Royal Pines marina. With views of the Gold Coast hinterland and Surfers Paradise skyline, the apartments feature a sophisticated open-plan design, high ceilings and full-height windows to provide stunning outlooks from every angle.

Marina Concourse contains a mixture of two-bedroom, two-bedroom plus study, three-bedroom and three-bedroom plus media residences. The penthouse apartments will be located on level six.

The atrium of Marina Concourse has a retail and dining precinct with direct access to the waterfront and landscaped gardens. The world-famous Gold Coast beaches are 15 minutes away.

On the New South Wales Central Coast, Magenta Shores has seen excellent growth over the past 24 months. In some cases, it has extended beyond 19 percent at this premium lifestyle product. In the fashionable Sanctum precinct, 51 luxury beach homes and golf-side homes were offered off the plan. Some 48 have now sold and the next stage of design is underway at the estate, which offers ocean views surrounded by national parkland just one hour from Sydney.

Down on the border, Black Bull Golf Course is winning rave reviews and Silverwoods Golf and Lifestyle Resort is flourishing at Yarrawonga on the banks of the Murray River. Located in one of the fastest growing regional towns, Silverwoods has been a hive of construction over the past few years and property buyers have witnessed the completion of streetscapes and continued overall growth to the development. An exciting new stage release is coming soon to Silverwoods, which will be the highly sought after waterfront allotments on Lake Mulwala and first hole with fairway views. In addition, plans have been announced to build a Sebel luxury 4-star boutique hotel and serviced apartments.

Across the ditch in New Zealand, the Jack’s Point development in Central Otago on the South Island is taking shape around the acclaimed 18-hole layout designed by John Darby. Upon completion, some 5,000 residents will live in the Jack’s Point settlement on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, just 15 minutes from Queenstown.

While planning has taken 15 years, Jack’s Point will eventually comprise 1,300 residential homes, a lakeside village with accommodation, restaurants and shops, a luxury lodge and 35 kilometres of hiking, cycling and equestrian trails.

Once a high-country farming station, Darby’s vision was to convert it into an upmarket residential estate. Only five per cent of the total 1,200 hectares will undergo construction – in keeping with the environmental philosophy of Jack’s Point: “5% settlement, 95% preserve and 100% life”.

“Jack’s Point is truly one of the very special sites in New Zealand, sitting so close to Queenstown on the sunny side, right under the Remarkables mountain range,” Darby says. “In designing the village, neighbourhoods and golf course, we wanted to capture and preserve the sheer scale of this dramatic land with the mountains rising above it.

“We made some ground rules for ourselves very early on – one was to make sure 95 per cent of that area was kept as open space for everyone to enjoy.”

Twice As Nice

One Sydney family liked the golf-course living concept so much they did it twice.

Marc and Shannan Webber hadn’t always dreamed of living on a golf course, yet within the past six years they’ve built new homes on two different occasions within the same estate.

The Webber family feels right at home at Stonecutters Ridge.
The Webber family feels right at home at Stonecutters Ridge.

The Stonecutters Ridge residents moved in to their current home behind the 12th green of the three-time New South Wales Open venue in mid-2016. Initially they built elsewhere within the 900-block estate, owning and occupying a two-storey home for three years before going through the entire process from scratch again in a different part of the residential precinct.

Why the move?

“We wanted to live on the golf course,” Marc says of their current home. “It’s therapeutic, looking out there and watching people playing. And I liken golf-course frontage to being like a water view because they’re both rare. It’s a valuable commodity in re-sale, for one; and two, we’re all golf fanatics.”

Indeed, golfers dominate the family of five. Marc joined Stonecutters Ridge from Parramatta Golf Club along with several friends not long after word circulated that Parramatta would soon be closing its gates. Shannan also plays, as does Kade, their 12-year-old son who enjoyed a moment of fame last November as Jason King’s pint-sized caddie at the NSW Open.

“The first house, because there was initially no other building going on around it, you could see the course and it fit the bill,” Marc says. “But once the other houses went up, you could’ve been anywhere in Sydney, albeit close to a golf course. But now, with this, it’s not easy to do but it’s heaven.”

Heaven, yes, but not necessarily the realisation of a long-held dream. Living on a golf course was instead something that began on a whim for the Webbers.

“It was never in our wildest dreams until five or six years ago,” Marc recalls. “It just happened that one of our mates, off the cuff after golf on a Saturday at Parramatta, said he was coming out to look at housing blocks on the Sunday and: did we want to have a look too? We did, then 24 hours later we had a deposit down on a block of land. And that’s how it all started.

“I was happy with the life we had where I drove on a Saturday from Glenwood to Parramatta, 10 kilometres away, played my golf and came home. I was quite happy with that as I wasn’t a fanatical golfer yet, but now … well, I’m thinking about it half the day, and how lucky we are to come home here.”

For Kade, it’s like living in Disneyland, Marc says. If he’s not at the practice range, he’s out playing; and if he’s not playing he’s taking a lesson or out the back putting. “He wants to go as far as he can with golf – and here he’s got the perfect springboard.”

Shannan and Marc agree that the other best aspects to living in a golf-course estate are the immediate access to the course, the views and the sense of community the environment creates.

And the worst parts? “At times there’s no privacy!” Marc laughs. “Every five minutes there’s someone on the course waving at you or calling out and having a chat. If you’re trying to read the paper out the back, forget about it! If there is a downside, that’s about as bad as it gets.”

– Steve Keipert

Piece of Paradise

Often it’s the accompanying attributes of a golf-course estate that help make the selection.

Retired supermarket chain executive, Ted Moore, has been living beside the third green on the Legends course at Moonah Links [below] for more than a decade. Still a member of a number of boards, Moore, refers to his study as the “green office”.

Living On The Fairways

“I always wanted to retire to a golf-course residential development and at the time there were 45 under construction around the country,” he says.

Moore,  chose Moonah Links on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula because of the tranquillity it offers: “It’s a piece of paradise just 50 minutes from Melbourne. There are a number of wonderful golf courses in the area but only one of them, Cape Schanck, is residential. The only noise I hear in the morning is the chattering of magpies.”

Moore purchased one of 250 residential lots and while the majority of his neighbours are retirees like him, there is still a good smattering of young couples and families living at Moonah. The two magnificent golf courses – the Legends and Championship layouts – were not the main reasons he moved to the area.

Living On The Fairways“I didn’t even play golf until I came here,” the 17-marker says. “And my wife, Robyn [inset], was pretty much a social player. But we never tire of playing these two courses. They present a new challenge every day.”

Wind always plays a part in your round at Moonah but both courses are playable all year because of the sandy terrain on which they are built. “I can only remember on one occasion where the greens were unplayable because of surface water,” Moore says proudly.

And at the risk of stating the obvious, all this is available by taking a short cart ride to the first tee. Not to mention the wonderful restaurant, clubhouse and gym facilities at your fingertips and private access to the adjoining hot springs and winery (both just two minutes away in a golf cart).

“We’re extremely happy to be here. We couldn’t ever see ourselves leaving this place,” Moore says.        

– Michael Davis