1. It's all about the location
First and foremost, even before looking at prospective properties, consider the destinations. “You should like the idea of living where you’re looking,” said Patrick Melton, a co-founder and managing partner of South Street Partners, a private equity real estate investment firm based in Charlotte, N.C., and Charleston, S.C. The firm owns Kiawah Island Club, a golf community near Charleston with residences and two golf courses.
If you’ve spent time in and enjoy Miami or Spain’s Costa del Sol region, both of which have an abundance of golf communities, for example, seek out homes in these areas. On the flip side, if you’re enamored of countryside golf communities but don’t particularly like being in remote settings, look for a site that’s in a suburb and close to a city.
Many consumers fall in love with a golf community and buy a home there, Mr. Melton said, only to realize afterward that they’re not thrilled with the area.
Also, consider whether being near quality medical care, an international airport, noteworthy restaurants and an arts and culture scene is a priority.
“Your home could tick all the boxes in terms of what you’re looking for, but it may be an hour’s drive to a major grocery store or hospital, which could be a hassle,” Mr. Melton said.
And don’t forget about the weather. Some destinations are too cold to play golf or spend time outdoors in winter or may have a rainy or hurricane season, while others are almost too hot in summer, said Liz Rowlinson, editor of A Place in the Sun magazine, a division of the British-based real-estate consulting brand of the same name.
“If you want to play golf year-round and want a home that’s appealing to be in year-round, you should look for a property located in a region with a stable climate, save for maybe a few months,” she said.
But location also means the exact position of your home, Ms. Rowlinson said.
“Living right next to a green or fairway sounds idyllic but early morning mowers can be noisy, sprinklers come on during the night, and fast-moving golf balls landing in your pool is tiresome,” she said.
The bottom line is that if you’re sensitive to noise, the crack of tee shot drives is far louder than the murmur of greenside putts.
Similarly, you may like views across fairways, but will you be happy with golfers staring into your home as they pass by? A strategically placed line of bushes can provide privacy.
If you’re an avid golfer, the number of other good courses nearby should figure in, too; playing at your own club week after week may get dull.
“Ideally, you’d want at least a few public courses less than an hour’s drive from you, so you have the option for some variety when you play,” Ms. Rowlinson said.