What are “bundled” golf communities?
“Bundled” golf communities are key players in the Naples golf club and real estate scene, but what exactly are they? In short, they are communities where the golf club membership is included or “bundled” with the home purchase. Essentially, all homeowners in the community are members of the club. Typically there is no large upfront initiation fee but all homeowners are usually required to pay annual club membership dues, often called a Master HOA Fee. The annual club membership dues usually cover golf privileges and access to the club’s amenities such as tennis, the pool, fitness center, and clubhouse.
Compared to more traditional private clubs in Naples, “bundled” golf communities tend to offer a more affordable golf membership option. No large upfront initiation fee (in most cases) coupled with lower annual club membership dues make them popular with second home Buyers as well as permanent residents looking for a more cost-effective golf lifestyle. They are also attractive to investors due to the more reasonable costs and ease of transferring the membership to renters. Another plus is that since the club membership is included with the sale price of the home, homeowners in a sense recover their membership “equity” upon resale.
There are a number of positives about “bundled” golf communities but there are some disadvantages. Yes, the annual club membership dues are often lower than non-bundled private clubs, but in exchange for this, they typically have a lot more members, sometimes 2 to 3 times more. With that being said, the course(s) may be busier, especially during the winter season. If you’re an avid golfer, a “bundled” golf community may not meet your desire to play as much golf as you would like and your tee time choices may be limited. Also, it is important to understand that if you own a home in a “bundled” golf community, you will most likely be required to pay annual club membership dues until the home is sold. If golf isn’t your game or you don’t plan on utilizing the club’s facilities very much, this type of community might not make the most financial sense for you.
A little more food for thought…
“Bundled” golf communities can be a great option for some people, but may not be the best choice for others. If they have piqued your interest, here are a few more things to think about if you are considering purchasing in one.
6 Things to Consider When Looking Into a “Bundled” Golf Community
#1 How many front doors are there?
Due to every residence in a “bundled” golf community having a golf club membership, it’s important to know how many potential members there are. Think about it this way, if there are 1,000 doors, potentially there could be 2,000 members including spouses. More members equates to more people vying for tee times, especially during the busy winter months. X amount of doors = X amount of potential golfers chasing X amount of tees times! Of course not all members are golfers, but it’s still something to consider!
#2 How many rounds of golf are played on the golf course(s) each year?
This is obviously another good way to gauge the amount of traffic the course(s) see annually. The course traffic is usually a direct correlation to ease and availability of tee times and can even relate to course conditions.
#3 What are the policies on transfer of memberships to renters?
If you are looking into a “bundled” golf community as an investment and want to rent your home out, it’s key that you understand the club’s rental and membership transfer rules. In addition, if you would like a club and community that has a more “permanent resident feel,” you might want to find a development that has stricter rental policies.
#4 How established is the bundled community?
There are a number of newer “bundled” golf communities here in Southwest Florida. Some are still in the earlier phases of construction so there are fewer homes, which means fewer memberships. This is great for those who want to play more golf because there aren’t as many members trying to get a tee time. However, this might not be the best scenario if you are looking for a livelier social atmosphere. Fewer homeowners/members might equate to less activities on the social calendar and the culture might not be as established as those clubs that have been around longer!
#5 What are my annual costs going to be?
When looking into buying in a “bundled” golf community, it’s important that you do your homework and understand what kind of costs you are going to incur each year for financial longevity reasons. In addition to annual club membership dues, there are often other recurring costs associated with living in a “bundled” golf community including but not limited to neighborhood HOA or condo fees, Community Development District fees, annual food and beverage minimums, annual trail fees (if you own your own cart), and unfortunately special assessments. Plus, don’t forget to take into account typical homeowner expenses like mortgage payments (if you will have one), property taxes, utilities, and homeowner’s insurance.
#6 Do you want to live where you play?
Basically every homeowner in the community is also a club member, so “bundled” golf communities provide for a very unique social atmosphere! Your neighbors are also your fellow club members and vice versa, whether that’s a good thing or not, we’ll let you decide!
So there you have it, those are the very basics on “bundled” golf communities. Please note that this post was intended as a general overview and that fees and amenities vary from community to community. If you are interested in discussing something that wasn’t covered or have questions about specific communities, please don’t hesitate to contact us!
At Golf Life Navigators, we are here to assist you in the process of finding your ideal golf club and/or home. We know how important the decision of course, club and community can be in achieving your desired lifestyle here in Florida. Making the wrong choice can be disappointing and expensive so it is our ultimate goal to make sure you have the information necessary to make an educated decision. If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to contact us anytime! We can be reached at 800-447-8707 or firstname.lastname@example.org.