Knoxville's Avalon inexpensive, not cheap, with good Joe Lee golf course


The Landmark course features 89 traps and houses well out of range of stray shots. 


    Avalon might seem an odd name for a golf course community.  In medieval romance, it was an island paradise of healers to which King Arthur was taken to cheat death.  He didn't.  Nevertheless, developers of Avalon, just 20 miles outside Knoxville, TN, aren't cheating anyone.  The community's prices seemed so reasonable when we visited last year that we were tempted to plunk down a payment on a lot.
    Avalon provides a little bit of everything in terms of housing.  Its 115 so-called "villas" are patio homes with landscaping and grounds keeping included.  At full build out, the community's 430 acres will include 150 condominium units and 245 single-family homes.  The lot that tempted us was ½ acre on a rise overlooking the middle part of a fairway on the golf course with a nice view of the Cumberland Mountains beyond.  It was priced at just $85,000, but certainly would be a little north of $100,000 today.  Lots with views of both the Cumberland and Smoky Mountains are offered starting around $125,000.  Construction costs run about $150 per square foot. 100_2838avalond

    The single-family homes in the neighborhood called The Links, ranging in size up to 4,500 square feet on three levels, are priced starting at $540,000.  Lawn maintenance is available at $75 per month.  Elsewhere in the community, custom single-family homes range in price up to $1.2 million, about the lowest ceiling we have seen in any nice golfing community in the southeast and indicative that Knoxville has still not yet been fully discovered.
    Avalon is attractively located less than a half hour from the city and its airport, and about five miles from significant shopping and hospitals.  Real estate agents selling property in Avalon tout its location and claim they have been selling property to residents of the Rarity Communities and Tellico Village, large projects about 40 minutes to the east that require drives of more than 45 minutes to reach Knoxville.   [More below]  

    Avalon's golf course, called The Landmark Golf Club at Avalon, is a sporty Joe Lee design that uses to good advantage the property's natural rolling terrain.  The venerable Mr. Lee did a lot of his best work in Florida, where the flat terrain begs for the addition of sand traps and other non-indigenous features, and although Landmark's terrain is far from flat, its 89 traps are strategic, more than visual, elements (some holes echoed Tom Fazio designs).  The Bermuda fairways were very good, and the Crenshaw bent grass greens are typically medium fast and smooth. The course is fair but enough of a challenge to keep it interesting for a member who plays it a few times a week.  100_2804avalona
    Local knowledge is critical because the GPS (Global Positioning System) was virtually useless.  For example, on the second hole, it advised us to lay-up short of a bunker, but didn't indicate how far it was to the bunker.  On another hole, the system indicated 238 yards to the water; my rescue club, which I never hit farther than 200 yards, reached the water.
    Nonetheless, the layout combined a pleasant routing with enough challenges to keep members who pay the modest $218 per month dues coming back time and again (initiation fees are just $2,500).  For now, the course is open to daily fee traffic as well, but within the next year or two, the membership rolls might justify going private.
    Avalon doesn't hide its charms, chief among them a delightful golf course and attractive and bargain-priced housing.  Knoxville, with its big university, developing city center and year-round golf climate, could be the next hot retirement area for baby boomers.  Avalon is a viable choice for putting down roots.  
    The community does not have an on-site sales office, so contact us and we will gladly provide the name of a local Knoxville real estate agent knowledgeable about all the area's golfing communities.  For golf, contact (865) 986-GOLF.



From the tee, the green on the par 4 17th looked reachable.  It wasn't. 



The finisher, a par 5, presents a challenging approach with trouble all around. 

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