Res­i­den­tial Golf Cour­ses

Inside Golf - - On Course Living - RossPer­rett

LIV­ING on a golf course is a dream for many golfers. So­cial re­searchers re­fer to this phe­nom­e­non as ‘life­style liv­ing’ where res­i­dents seek to live in a lo­ca­tion that en­hances their de­sired life­style, whether it be ac­cess to the beach, to their boat, to the golf course or a vi­brant city life.

Golf res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ments are not new. They have been with us for decades, par­tic­u­larly in the United States where golf re­sorts and golf res­i­den­tial boomed for over 40 years only to come to a scream­ing halt over the past few years. One of the orig­i­nal golf res­i­den­tial com­mu­ni­ties was Went­worth Golf Club in Sur­rey in The United King­dom. Built in the 1920’s it is now the home of The Euro­pean PGA and fa­mous golfers such as Sir Nick Faldo and Ernie Els.

In Aus­tralia, the first golf res­i­den­tial projects were built by house­build­ing gi­ant AV Jen­nings at Turu Beach on the south­ern coast of NSW and at The Launce­s­ton Casino in Tas­ma­nia. These were fol­lowed in the 1980’s by land­mark projects such as Mike Gore’s bold Sanc­tu­ary Cove on The Gold Coast and Christo­pher Skase’s Mi­rage at Port Dou­glas. Both projects were pi­o­neers in in­te­grated res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment and set a new bench­mark for de­vel­op­ment.

Sanc­tu­ary Cove was to be­come Aus­tralia’s largest brick paving pro­ject as all the roads were brick paved. Leg­endary golfer Arnold Palmer de­signed the course and a con­cert by Frank Si­na­tra launched the pro­ject amid un­prece­dented hype. At Port Dou­glas, Skase used Thom­son Wolveridge to de­sign the course and trans­formed the sleepy sea­side port by im­port­ing thou­sands of es­tab­lished palm trees and put Port Dou­glas and the Bar­rier Reef on the in­ter­na­tional tourist map. The rest is his­tory as other de­vel­op­ers fol­lowed with ma­jor projects like The Na­tional Golf Club in Vic­to­ria, Palm Mead­ows and Hope Is­land in Queens­land and Joon­dalup and The Vines in West­ern Aus­tralia.

The ear­lier projects gen­er­ally had a re­sort com­po­nent and were the fore­run­ners to res­i­den­tial com­mu­ni­ties which are more the norm to­day. Golf com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment has boomed around our cap­i­tal cities with projects like Sanc­tu­ary Lakes, Sand­hurst, The Her­itage, Moonah Links and 13th Beach around Mel­bourne, Brook­wa­ter and North Lakes in Bris­bane and Ma­genta Shores, Kooin­dah Waters and Stone­cut­ters Ridge in Syd­ney. In the fu­ture, golf com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment will more likely be in re­gional cities and the larger coun­try towns where land avail­abil­ity and plan­ning con­trols are more favourable. Many re­gional cour­ses will se­cure a sus­tain­able fu­ture by em­brac­ing associated res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment.

The ma­jor­ity of new golf course de­vel­op­ments rely on associated res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment to fund the golf course, a fact that some golf purists find ab­hor­rent. Golf Com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment has also had its bat­tles in the plan­ning en­vi­ron­ment as some politi­cians have re­ferred to golf de­vel­op­ments as real es­tate by stealth. Old hang ups that golf is an elit­ist game and bad for the en­vi­ron­ment still ex­ist in gov­ern­ment cir­cles but are grad­u­ally be­ing bro­ken down by the ex­cel­lence that the golf in­dus­try is pro­mot­ing.

Other key con­sid­er­a­tions with in­te­grated de­vel­op­ments are safety, golf lay­out and hous­ing de­sign.

Tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances in golf equip­ment have re­sulted in the golf ball trav­el­ling greater dis­tances, which in turn de­mands more land for the course and greater set­backs for the hous­ing.

Safety is es­sen­tial for com­mu­nity liv­ing and whist the in­ci­dence of per­sonal in­jury is very low, prop­erty dam­age is quite com­mon, par­tic­u­larly ad­ja­cent to ex­ist­ing cour­ses that pre­dated the sur­round­ing real es­tate. Whilst golf authorities and golf ar­chi­tects are re­luc­tant to set ar­bi­trary lim­its for set­backs they have gen­er­ally in­creased in re­sponse to changes in tech­nol­ogy and the trend to­wards a more liti­gious so­ci­ety. Whereas 20 years ago the Ur­ban Land In­sti­tute of USA rec­om­mended 45 me­ters as a de­sir­able set­back for real es­tate bound­aries from the cen­tre­line of the golf hole, most ar­chi­tects would now rec­om­mend 70 me­ters. In­ter­nal safety set­backs are gen­er­ally 60 me­ters be­tween cen­tre­lines.

The golf lay­out must re­spond to the land form and it is de­sir­able for the res­i­den­tial land to sit above the golf course. Golf holes are gen­er­ally laid out in pairs to op­ti­mise the us­age. This im­proves the views, in­creases safety and al­lows the golf course to ac­com­mo­date stormwa­ter drainage. As the ma­jor­ity of golfers are right handed and slice the ball, it is best to place the real es­tate on the left side of the hole.

Fun­da­men­tal to liv­ing on a golf course is the abil­ity to look over the golf course and en­joy a land­scape man­aged by oth­ers. How­ever, the golfers have no de­sire to look at the houses, so man­ag­ing the in­ter­face be­tween the golf course and the associated de­vel­op­ment is im­por­tant. By con­trol­ling the ori­en­ta­tion of the houses and the de­sign of the in­ter­face land­scape it is pos­si­ble to sat­isfy this po­ten­tial con­flict. It is in­ter­est­ing that only about 30% of those who live on golf cour­ses ac­tu­ally play golf, the ma­jor­ity be­ing at­tracted by the land­scape set­ting. The in­ter­face is fur­ther im­proved by the use of de­sign guide­lines that con­trol both build­ing de­sign and the land­scape char­ac­ter. De­sign guide­lines work best when they are not overly pre­scrip­tive but set prin­ci­ples that in­spire creativ­ity and de­sign ex­cel­lence.

Res­i­den­tial golf com­mu­ni­ties will re­main pop­u­lar in the short-to medium-term pro­vid­ing the cur­rent fall off in golf par­tic­i­pa­tion does not con­tinue. Hope­fully the stan­dard of hous­ing will im­prove to match the cour­ses which are al­ready of an in­ter­na­tional stan­dard. Ross Per­rett is Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Thom­son Per­rett Golf Course Ar­chi­tects, one of the world’s premier golf course de­sign com­pa­nies. To­gether with Aus­tralian le­gend Peter Thom­son, Thom­son Per­rett has worked on over 250 projects around the globe. They can be con­tacted by phone on +61 3 8698 8000, or via thom­son­per­

On Course liv­ing is a dream for many — even for those who don’t play golf.

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