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As Golf Communities Lose Popularity, Real- Estate Developers Change Course

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Golf greens are begining to lead buyers away and towards new casual, community-geared developments. Such as a place called Naples Reserve in Naples, Florida. This community attracts home buyers with waterfront living, boating, kayaking, fishing, a tiki bar, overlooking and exploring lakes and a nature preserve.

What are communities offering instead of Golf?

Real-estate developers have long lured home buyers with houses along the rolling greens of golf courses, our community of cities especially. According to WSJ golf sis potentially slipping in popularity. Many communities are replacing golf with attractions such as lakes and farms, biking and hiking trails, trendy amenities like microbreweries, food-truck courts, and lifestyle directors who plan mixology classes and pickleball leagues.

WSJ’s research showed many home buyers preferred water and a casual, community- geared lifestyle over the formal, exclusive feel of a golf- or country-club setting.

Many people are seeking communities that advocate ‘sustainable living’ and some communities are saving more than one million gallons of water a day with a sophisticated water-management system that includes using water from lakes rather than from the city, to irrigate green spaces.

In 2019, 90% of the 50 bestselling master-planned communities in the U.S. included significant water-based amenities, according to Irvine, Calif.-based John Burns Real Estate Consulting. Along with resort-style pools, they offer lazy rivers, fishing ponds, canoe courses, party pools and swimming lagoons with sandy beaches.

However, is that going to be the case here in the Coachella Valley? Will we begin to this shift as well?

In Palm Springs, Calif., Bruce Juenger and Jim Whitmoyer from Aliso Viejo are the first buyers in a new gated community, Miralon, which is turning an abandoned golf course into an olive grove with 1,150 homes. Former golf-cart paths will be walking trails and water hazards have been converted to decorative lakes at the development, which also has citrus trees and community gardens.

gated community, Miralon

After research on sustainable agriculture and potential buyers, the developer, Boston-based Freehold Communities, settled on the target group’s interest in sustainability, food and a healthy outdoor lifestyle.

“The Coachella Valley is chock-full of golf courses,” says Brad Shuckhart, president of the company’s California division. “We saw this as an opportunity to do something different.”

Freehold Communities studied annual water consumption and suitability for the desert habitat before deciding on 7,000 olive and citrus trees. The company commissioned a technical study from a water-engineering firm that showed the trees would use about 23% less water than the existing golf course.

7,000 olive and citrus trees

Mr. Whitmoyer, 56, and Mr. Juenger, 68, bought a three-bedroom, 2,800-square-foot house with a modernist design and a view of olive trees for $730,000.

 modernist design and a view of olive trees for $730,000.

Research Co.<