The current gulf between most expensive home and least expensive home site in many communities is forcing some couples to consider the formerly unthinkable: “Should we buy a lot and build our dream home?” During this current period of high prices and low inventories of homes for sale in some of the nation’s best golf communities, the answer might be “Yes,” despite the high costs of lumber and labor.Real estate wisdom says you should never own the most expensive house in your neighborhood; owning the least expensive house runs a close second but if your home is down-market in price but brand new, your upside potential is high.

That is why for many retired couples, this is a good time to build that home you have always dreamed of.I looked at a few of my favorite golf communities in the Southeast and found some wide deltas between the most expensive homes and lots currently listed for sale. Here they are, with links to the listings.

Indian Creek, Kilmarnock, VA
Known as the Northern Neck of Virginia, the intriguing area surrounding Kilmarnock is among the least known and, therefore, most underappreciated in the Southeast Region. The neck juts out into the expanse of water formed by the Potomac and Rappahanock Rivers, across from the DelMarVa Peninsula. Indian Creek is the preeminent private club on the Northern Neck. The nearest city is Richmond, about two hours away, which keeps local real estate at a significant value for peace-and-quiet seekers. That is not to say the area lacks “mansion style” homes, like this one priced at $1.65 million. 

Land is generally cheapest in remote areas, even those areas that have a lot to offer. This more than ½ acre lot is listed at just $20,000. For half the difference between it and the beautiful $1.65 million home, you could let your imagination run wild when building your dream home. 

DebbyDoo beach clubThe beach club on the ocean at DeBordieu Colony.
DeBordieu Colony, Georgetown, SC
Known by locals as Debby Doo – French is not a second language in the Low Country of South Carolina – DeBordieu translates as “near to God.” Whether a brilliant sunrise over the ocean or an exciting Pete Dye designed golf course are the stuff of natural highs for you, DeBordieu is a special place for those who like to both relax and be active in equal measures. One of the rare east coast golf communities north of Florida with a golf course AND an ocean beach club inside the gates, DeBordieu commands the top end of the market in the Myrtle Beach/Pawleys Island area. Whenever a beachfront home at DeBordieu comes on the market, it immediately leaps to the top of the price list. However, the most expensive home currently for sale in the community is not on the ocean, just a short walk away. But at $4.6 million, it is spectacular. 

As lots go in the Southeast, $279,950 is pricey, but for a home site in a community that is always a short golf cart ride to the ocean beach club and with a fine Pete Dye golf course, it is all relative. Click here.

Haig Point par 3 over marshThe Rees Jones layout at Haig Point is full of surprises...and challenges.
Haig Point, Daufuskie Island, SC
When you decide to live at Haig Point, you can pack up all your cares and woes and leave the world – and your car – behind. No private vehicles are permitted on Daufuskie Island. The major mode of conveyance on the noise- and air-pollution free island is the golf cart. You might think that real estate on an island only reached by ferry or helicopter would be expensive. After all, shipping in all those materials and labor should drive costs up. And they do. But homes and especially lots are surprisingly affordable in a paradise that is not for everyone. But if it is for you, you can look forward to a relaxing vacation or retirement place and 27 holes of Rees Jones golf that is so good the pros who play an annual event across the Calibogue Sound at Sea Pines Plantation practice at Haig Point. From well over $1.35 million for a home on the golf course to just $14,500 for a 2/3-acre buildable plot of land, paradise offers plenty of options.




The more the merrier is how many retirees searching for a golf community feel about the number of golf courses inside the gates. They have plenty of choices out there that will satisfy their itch. But the more the merrier can also mean more expensive golf fees and homes. I’ve looked around at some of the best multi-course communities in the Carolinas, and I’ve identified three homes for sale with golf memberships that provide a big bang for the buck. They are listed at where you can peruse thousands of golf home listings across the U.S.

AppleValleyhomeoncourseApple Valley golf course at Rumbling Bald on Lake Lure
Rumbling Bald, Lake Lure, NC

Rumbling Bald, named for a mountain that looks over the resort community, is a resort and, as such, residents expect to share their amenities with a transient crowd. On an August vacation there, I noted that the tourists were almost indistinguishable from the permanent residents (it was summer, so plenty of kids). Although they are shared with visitors, Rumbling Bald offers more amenities than you will find in many non-resort golf communities. The lake is at the core of everything, with a popular 300-yard beach and lots of “quiet” boating (town ordinance says no motorboats). Two fine golf courses – one inside the gates and one just a mile down the road – are of two entirely different designs. Bald Mountain is narrow with smallish greens while Apple Valley, the one down the road, is broad and sweeping and better tuned to the grip-it-and-rip-it crowd. An interesting side note: The movie Dirty Dancing was filmed on site; one of the golf courses and the lake had cameo roles. Plenty of homes with mountain and/or lake views, like this one: Click here.
Callawassie House and GreenOne of the 27 holes at Callawassie Golf and Country Club
Callawassie, Okatie, SC
Okay, so it’s only 27 holes, but that extra nine relieves a lot of stress on play and gives the maintenance crews time and space to work their magic on one set of nine holes while the other 18 are in use. Callawassie is dripping with southern charm, as well as Spanish moss from the community’s majestic live oak trees. They form the canopy and “alleyway” you drive through on your way into the community, giving Callawassie the feeling of being remote without the disadvantages of actually being remote (plenty of shopping and other services a mile or two outside Callawassie’s entrance). This is a mature community with residents who love quiet pursuits like bicycling, strolling and, of course, golf on Tom Fazio’s classic design. With the charming southern town of Beaufort less than 20 minutes away (excellent restaurants and shopping), and Hilton Head Island about a half hour, a full roster of entertainments and services are a short drive away. Homes are mostly of the single-family variety but our listing is for a “villa,” a smaller home with golf and lagoon views, suitable for year-round, part-time or rental situations. Click here.

The Reserve, Pawleys Island, SC
I admit, including an 18-hole golf course in a group of multi-course communities is a bit deceptive. But when you become a member of The Reserve Golf course, you are essentially becoming a member with privileges at 14 other other top private courses in the Carolinas, Tennessee and Virginia. That is because The Reserve Club, whose course was designed by Greg Norman layout, is owned by the McConnell Group. Membership in one of their clubs confers member privileges at the others. And those other golf courses are among the best in the region, including layouts by Donald Ross, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Fazio and other titans of golf architecture. The Reserve is within a few hours of virtually all of them. The Reserve’s real estate is on the higher end of the Pawleys Island market, but the community offers more than most in the way of amenities and lifestyle. The Waccamaw River runs through it, and an active on-site marina is a gathering place for boaters and non-boaters alike attracted by the gentle Waccamaw River. For ocean lovers, The Reserve maintains a clubhouse at the Atlantic beach just a mile away. Shopping too is within five to 10 minutes of the front gate. Click here for a current home for sale in The Reserve.