Seeking a second place to hang your visor—with golf in your backyard? Here are three great communities on three budgets.
Trilogy at Ocala Preserve
Location: Ocala, Florida, 80 miles northwest of Orlando in Florida horse country, is known for its rolling terrain and semi-rural character.
Golf: The semi-private Trilogy Golf Club at Ocala Preserve ($20-$35) is a brand-new (2016), walking-only Tom Lehman/Tripp Davis collaboration on a cozy 50 acres.
Real Estate: Trilogy is an all-ages Shea Homes community. The Escape Collection starts at $191,990, while the Reflect Collection offers homes beginning at $253,990.
Takeaway: There's superb value, as well as a revolutionary course in terms of variety, sustainability (no carts, reduced water use) and time-commitment flexibility.
Grandfather Golf & Country Club
Location: Linville, North Carolina, is a bucolic Blue Ridge Mountain town set at 3,665 feet. The private Grandfather club and community dates to 1968.
Golf: Ellis Maples routed the gorgeous 7,010-yard Championship course through pine forest, laurel and rhododendron, all backdropped by mountains.
Real Estate: This second-home destination offers condos from 900 to 2,800 sq. ft. ($159,000-$799,000) and single-family houses from 2,000 to 7,100 sq. ft. ($375,000-1,775,000).
Takeaway: Course improvements, a new high-end fitness center and refinements to its cool Art Loft (an artist's retreat) keep this community vibrant.
Carlton Woods (Creekside)
Location: This very prestigious development is 28 miles north of Houston. As the name suggests, the terrain is heavily forested and slashed by creeks.
Golf: Two A-list options: an "01 Jack Nicklaus Signature design and an "05 Tom Fazio layout. The Nicklaus is a bit tougher and the Fazio prettier, with deep, sculpted bunkers.
Real Estate: Homes here range from 4,359 sq. ft. ($1,098,000) to 10,321 sq. ft. ($3,850,000), as well as homesites from 0.24 acres ($310,000) to 2.13 acres ($1,800,000).
Takeaway: Call them "McMansions" if you will, but the Fazio fairway homes are modern and magnificent. And the Fazio course conditioning is the best I've laid eyes on in "16.