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A Sand Trap That Golfers Might Love: Beachfront Courses

This article is part of our latest special report on International Golf Homes, about some of the top spots to live and play. For certain types of …

A Sand Trap That Golfers Might Love: Beachfront Courses

This article is part of our latest special report on International Golf Homes, about some of the top spots to live and play.


For certain types of buyers, golf properties make for attractive vacation homes. For others, beachfront living is crucial. Today, a growing number are seeking homes that offer a slice of both, according to several real estate experts.

“The ultimate amenity for the ideal golf property today is the beach,” said Scott Kauffman, an analyst specializing in global golf developments. “Coastal golf communities have had record-breaking sales in the last year, and it’s because ever since the pandemic, people want more from their second or third homes.”

The beach gives homeowners the feeling of being on a vacation that doesn’t have to end, said Rick Moeser, executive director of Christie’s International Real Estate. In addition, a residence with a golf and beach combination can function as an investment, he said. “Your asset is definitely going to appreciate over time.”

An indicator of this two-in-one interest: Sergio Llach, the president of Dominican Republic Sotheby’s International Realty, said that his company has had $30 million of sales of golf properties in the last six months in La Romana, an area on the country’s Caribbean coast — a 75 percent jump compared with the same period last year.

“Since the pandemic, our buyers are telling us that they are interested in greenery and the outdoors and are investing in properties that give them as much diversity as possible,” he said.

Here are four up-and-coming destinations designed to satisfy the beach-loving golfer.

Southwest Sicily

About a 75-minute drive from Palermo, southwest Sicily is known for being home to the Valley of the Temples, a significant archaeological site with Greek temples in the city of Agrigento.

Tourists are drawn to the history, but in the last several years, the area has come into the limelight as a golf destination. That growth can largely be attributed to the opening of Verdura Resort, part of Rocco Forte Hotels. Covering 568 acres along the coast, the property has three golf courses (two with 18 holes and one with nine).

Anyone is welcome to play on the courses by paying for a tee time, said Giacomo Battafarano, Verdura’s general manager. “Many of the players aren’t guests but do have vacation homes nearby,” he said.

Adding to the area’s appeal, said Rossella Beaugié, who hails from the region and is the co-founder of The Thinking Traveller, a company that specializes in villas in Sicily, are its fine-sand beaches. Ms. Beaugie added that they were expansive and often secluded.

Foreigners settling in the area tend to invest in historic but run-down estates that once produced olive oil or wine, she said: “You can find a piece of land that’s a few acres for $300,000 or so and then spend more money on a renovation.” Sales of apartments are also increasing, she added.

In May, Verdura also debuted a residential component that will include 85 villas when fully complete. (There are 20 available now.) Overlooking the golf course and the Mediterranean Sea, they have either three or four bedrooms, large infinity pools and gardens, and range in size from 2,500 to 3,700 square feet. Prices start at $2.9 million.

Sicilian winters are mild, so golfers can enjoy the sport year-round. Other allures include those historical sights, a particularly warm culture and the local cuisine.

The beaches in Belek, along Turkey’s south coast, are a prime attraction for sunbathers, as well as golfers.Credit…Mustafa Ciftci/Anadolu Agency, via Getty Images

Belek, Turkey

On Turkey’s south coast, Belek is emblematic of a resort town that offers the best of golf and beach life.

Its attractions are obvious: There are more than nine golf courses including Carya Golf Club, which features golfing at night, and Antalya Golf Club, with two courses and a picturesque beachfront that is several miles long.

“The buyers come from Europe, the Middle East and the U.S.,” said Julian Walker, the managing director of Spot Blue International, a London-based real estate agency with an office in Belek. “It’s a very international community.”

Belek’s accessibility helps with sales: Antalya Airport, about a half-hour away, serves numerous cities in Europe including Amsterdam; Düsseldorf, Germany; and London, and has multiple flights daily to and from Istanbul.

Affordability is another major attraction. Options for properties run the gamut from apartments and townhouses in residential complexes to palatial villas near the coastline. Mr. Walker said that prices for one-bedroom apartments started at $100,000 while spacious villas with swimming pools started at $400,000.

The Abaco Islands, the Bahamas

Long popular with boaters, the Abaco Islands have recently become known for their golf and beach scene as well, according to Nick Damianos, a vice president at Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty in the Bahamas.

Located north of Nassau, the islands, including the largest, Great Abaco, saw severe damage from Hurricane Dorian in 2019 but have since largely bounced back, he said.

“The islands are not super touristy and are fairly secluded,” Mr. Damianos said. “They have a Jimmy Buffett lifestyle feel, with bars and restaurants on the water where you can pull up in your boat and have lunch barefoot. It’s laid back and unpretentious.”

The islands have two golf communities, both with beachfront locations: the Abaco Club on Winding Bay, on Great Abaco, and Baker’s Bay Golf & Ocean Club, on Great Guana Cay.

The Abaco Club, spread over 600 acres, features an 18-hole golf course (designed by the golf course architects Donald Steel and Tom Mackenzie) and two miles of beach. Amenities include a water sports center offering kayaking, sailing and scuba diving; tennis courts; a spa; two restaurants; and bars.

Kristi Hull, the director of sales for the Abaco Club, said that the development currently had 95 residences with at least 200 more lots available to build. Prices start at $2 million.

Baker’s Bay sprawls over 585 acres and has a golf course designed by Tom Fazio. Amenities include tennis courts, a water sports center and a marina with a grocery store and restaurant. Home prices start at $4 million.

But the Abacos are not only for those with deep pockets. Mr. Damianos said that the island of Elbow Cay, notable for its New England-style architecture (think saltbox houses), had homes for sale well below $1 million. “You can get a nice three-bedroom house inland for $500,000,” he said.

Pompano Beach, Fla.

South Florida is generally a well-known and oversaturated market when it comes to golf and beach real estate. Pompano Beach, however, may be the exception.

A 45-minute drive north of Miami and 40 minutes south of Palm Beach, the city has been a fishing spot for several decades and has traditionally attracted a large population of retirees, according to Chad Carroll, a real estate agent in South Florida with Compass.

Today, it is up and coming as a golf-cum-beach destination, where a younger demographic is scooping up second homes as well as primary residences.

“Miami and Palm Beach are expensive and congested,” Mr. Carroll said. “Pompano, in comparison, is affordable and has a real sense of community.”

Pompano Beach has several courses, a mix of public and private. Palm Aire Country Club is private, for example, and has three courses; Tom and George Fazio designed the Oaks and Cypress courses, and the prolific William Mitchell is behind the Palms course. Pompano Beach Municipal Golf Course and its Greg Norman Signature Pines Course are public.

The beach in Pompano Beach stretches for around three miles and is wide; though not secluded, it does not draw the crowds that Miami’s beaches do, Mr. Carroll said.

Real estate options are diverse and include apartments that cost $200,000 and luxury homes on the water that run from $2 million to $10 million.

Solemar Beach is a new luxury beachfront condominium development with 105 units and amenities such as a gym, spa, residents beach club, movie theater and wine tasting room. Prices for units start at $1.8 million.

The city has several restaurants downtown and is 20 minutes from Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale. “If you’re looking for a more relaxed, quieter scene, you have it in Pompano, but if you want more of a buzzy vibe, there are choices very close by,” Mr. Carroll said.

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