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Sunday, April 8, 2007

Cedar Creek's "affordable" doesn't mean cheap

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    Cedar Creek, arguably the most "modest" of the three Aiken-area communities we have visited, pitches itself as unpretentious, less full of itself and a better value than its local rivals ("Affordably Priced" is how they once advertised real estate in the community). You can still find a building lot for well under $100,000, and even lots on the golf course are available at less than $150,000 (one fairly large one at ¾ acre).  But although Cedar Creek is within the reach of those who may never have cashed stock options, there is nothing other-side-of-the-tracks about the place.    

    For the casual or occasional golfer, a well-designed accessible golf course that pays for itself with daily fee golf is a viable option.  Cedar Creek's Arthur Hills layout is a bargain for property owners and daily fee players alike; Hills is a player-friendly designer who, nevertheless, does not cave in to the notion of "fast play" the way some designers of resort courses do.  His design for Cedar Creek features high-banked bunkers at greenside (see accompanying photo) and enough challenges to appeal to all types of golfers. The better golfers can play the tips at over 7,200 yards at a rating of 74.1 and slope of 142.    

    Initiation fees for golf run $4,000, but we understand owners of property purchased from Cedar Creek's developers can get 50% off the fees.  About 250 residents maintain membership, and they seem to mix well with the daily fee golfers; greens fees don't exceed $50, except during Masters week, when greens fees at all the Aiken courses multiply significantly.  More than 30,000 rounds of golf are played annually at Cedar Creek.    

    Residents are an eclectic mix of 40- and 50-somethings still working full time, as well as retirees attracted by the reasonably mild winters, not intolerable summers and relatively low prices (compared with South Carolina's mountain and coastal communities, as well as the other two communities in Aiken we surveyed). The nearby Savannah River Site, opened in the 1950s to produce materials to support the nation's nuclear defense system, brought hundreds of PhDs to the area, and some have settled in Cedar Creek.  
    Housing options abound, with a small row of brick homes at just 1,400 sq ft minimums near the clubhouse and 3,000 sq ft minimum houses on plots between ½ and one acre along the 1st and 17th holes.  There are plenty of choices in between. You can spend around $300,000 for a comfortable 3 BR home on a nice lot, or you can own a top-end house for not much more than $500,000.  Property owner fees are a low $480 annually.
    PhDs, former CEOS, and factory workers make Cedar Creek the most diverse of the three communities in the Aiken area. It provides the best value in housing locally, but you'll do without the security gate and country club panache.  Still for the value conscious who don't mind sharing their nicely designed golf course with others, Cedar Creek will strike the right note.  For more info, contact Dick Salsitz at 800-937-5362 or Dick@CedarCreek.net .

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Larry Gavrich

This blog was conceived and is published by me, Larry Gavrich, a former corporate communications executive who founded HomeOnTheCourse, LLC, in 2005.  Our firm advises baby boomers and others seeking a lifestyle in which golf is a major component.  My wife Connie and I own a home in Connecticut (not on a golf course) and a condo at Pawleys Plantation in Pawleys Island, SC, on a Jack Nicklaus layout.  We began our search for our home on the course more than 15 years ago, and the challenges of the search inspired me to research golf communities and write objective reviews of them.

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