For some, it’s the smell of freshly cut grass and the brush of leaves in the breeze, creating an escape from daily stressors. For others, it’s a competitive arena where precision skills are honed. It’s where business is sealed with a handshake, lifelong friendships are forged, wagers are won—and drinking is not only permitted, but encouraged.
It’s been called “a good walk spoiled” (Mark Twain), “the most fun you can have without taking your clothes off” (Chi Chi Rodriguez), and “an endless series of tragedies obscured by the occasional miracle” (many, many folks).
If the allure of golf has you in its grip, as it does for so many, perhaps you’ve entertained the fantasy of living near a golf course. Affordable real estate with great proximity to a course might sound too good to be true, like hitting a hole-in-one with your first swing of the day (or ever). But we’re here to correct that notion.
The data team at Realtor.com® found the places in the U.S. that have the best balance of great access to golf courses, relatively affordable real estate, and weather best suited for days on the greens. Some of these towns you’ve surely heard of and might assume come with a high price. Others are hidden gems you might not have thought of as great golf markets.
Whether you’re a near pro, a weekend duffer, or someone who just likes the idea of living near a course, you might just find your dream home on the green. Even if you’re not a golfer, these cities offer a lot to appreciate, from excellent weather to a high quality of life.
“In most residential golf communities, it’s only about a quarter of residents who are active golfers,” says Brad Klein, a golf course design consultant and golf journalist. “So what that tells you is that a lot of people are drawn to the golf community, even if they don’t play golf.”
Most golf communities draw a highly diverse group of homebuyers who nonetheless share certain bonds: They’re physically active and crave regular social interaction, says Klein.
“If you have golf, you probably also have pickle ball, swimming, platform tennis, a gym, and a social center at the local clubhouse,” he says. “Even if you don’t play, you have all kinds of options living near this sort of community.”
The cities on our list aren’t just golf havens. Many are also places with a high quality of life, where a cost of living below the national average makes them affordable not just in terms of real estate, but also in terms of everyday expenses.
We found these places by first rounding up all the real estate listings on Realtor.com from the past year within a 10-minute drive (in normal conditions) from one or more of the 6,445 public and private golf courses in the nation that we were able to map out. Then we aggregated home price data for those listings by city.
Then we factored in the number of golf courses clustered in those areas and weighed the climate and weather patterns—favoring places with more warm days to hit the links. Finally, we selected just one place per state, to ensure geographic diversity. (Otherwise, the list would be mostly Florida towns, along with some Mississippi locations and a couple of spots in Arizona.)
Let’s tee off into our top 10 locations for finding affordable homes near a golf course.
Nearby golf courses: 28
Median list price* for homes near golf courses: $299,900
Sun City, known for decades as a golf lover’s dream community, has year-round golf weather, a staggering number of nearby courses, and real estate that’s priced about 9% below the national average, vaulting it to the top of our list.
Now, this does come with a caveat: Generally, residents must be aged 55 and up, because this planned community on the northwest corner of the Phoenix metro area is aimed at retirees. The rules for who can live there are a bit complicated, so be sure to read up on the details.
This desert oasis has been drawing golf-minded retirees since it was established in 1960. Sun City was the first active retirement community in the United States, and it earned its pioneering developer, Del Webb, a place on the cover of Time magazine in 1962.
“What’s most impressive about it is how difficult it was to get golf courses out there with so little water,” says golf expert Klein. “The course superintendents getting grass to grow out there, on decomposing granite in the middle of the desert, is just amazing. People must have thought they were crazy.”
The Sun City South Golf Course is one of the most well known of the 28 golf courses in the area.
This 1,700-square-foot, two-bedroom home that backs up to the course is listed for $325,000.
Nearby golf courses: 12
Median list price for homes near golf courses: $245,000
Situated on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, a little north of Fort Lauderdale, and just south of Boca Raton, Deerfield Beach has great access to golf courses and the shore. (See our annual affordable beach towns list, in case that also strikes your interest.)
The median home price for Deerfield Beach listings within 10 minutes of a golf course is $245,000, far below the national median of around $430,000. That’s because the vast majority of listings are cheaper condos and townhomes under 1,000 square feet.
The climate in Deerfield Beach is classified as a tropical rainforest, with warm, wet summers and mild, dry winters, making it an ideal location for all kinds of outdoor activities year-round.
“I was just in Deerfield Beach,” says Beth Daly, a real estate agent at Re/Max Experience in Fort Lauderdale. “We had the bluest sky, and the ocean was like a glass of water you could see all the way to the bottom.”
Daly says she frequently hears about the golf culture that buyers—especially out-of-towners—are looking for.
“I just had some golfers from Buffalo Grove, outside of Chicago,” Daly says, “They wanted a full-service club to live near, and they had plenty of options to choose from.”
Nearby golf courses: 11
Median list price for homes near golf courses: $215,000
Biloxi is a city that we see often when we look for affordable housing markets with standout quality-of-life features. Homes here are very inexpensive, at just about half of the national median list price.
And the Gulf coast climate means you golfers can hit the links just about anytime of the year. And when taking a day off from playing golf, residents here can enjoy the Biloxi beaches, with the neighboring Gulfport leading our most affordable beach towns list.
This three-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom house on a third of an acre, for $324,900, is near the Sunkist Country Club’s championship 18-hole course.
Nearby golf courses: 11
Median list price for homes near golf courses: $319,000
One of the most iconic Southern cities takes a top spot on our list, with year-round golf weather, homes priced about 25% below the national median, and plenty of opportunities to hit the fairways. The coastal, Gothic city is also known for its antebellum architecture and arts and culture scene.
The whole southeastern Atlantic seaboard is thick with golf culture and an abundance of world-class courses.
“Savannah, and the areas north into the Charleston area—where we hear it called ‘Lowcountry’ golf—is really popular right now,” says Tom Coyne, a New York Times bestselling golf author. “There’s so much more to this area than just the buddy trip for one or two rounds.”
But it’s not just exclusive or high-priced courses that people should think of in the area.
“There’s a sneaky-good public golf course in Savannah, called Bacon Park, which is just really charming and very affordable, and I believe it was designed by Donald Ross [we checked, and it was], a famous golf course tech,” Coyne says. “To be able to play a Donald Ross course for whatever the greens fee is there, it’s just awesome.”
Home shoppers can find a three-bedroom home about a half-mile from the Bacon Park Golf Course for $328,000.
Nearby golf courses: 7
Median list price for homes near golf courses: $194,900
Mobile, located on the Mobile Bay spilling out into the Gulf of Mexico, has the most affordable golf-proximate real estate on our list. Home prices here are less than half the national median of $430,000 in April. And while the home prices aren’t high, the area is rich with golf history.
“Alabama is known for the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, where they have a literal trail of courses designed by the great Robert Trent Jones,” Coyne says. The famous golf course architect designed more than 500 courses between the 1930s and the 1990s.
Mobile and the surrounding areas have a subtropical climate, which means lots of rainfall, so it’s no wonder the area has been a center of golf culture since early in the 20th century.
Nearby golf courses: 22
Median list price for homes near golf courses: $290,000
The first thing golf expert Klein asked when he heard about our list: “Do you have Myrtle Beach on the list?”
Myrtle Beach has been referred to as “The Golf Capital of the World” due to the sheer number of courses and the rich golf history in the area. The economy in this oceanfront South Carolina city is driven in large part by the vibrant tourism industry, which is mostly centered on the attraction of the area’s world-class golf courses as well as its amusement parks and famed beach.
Boasting courses from the Pine Lake Country Club to TPC Myrtle Beach, this popular vacation spot is practically synonymous with the sport.
Plus, with home prices per square foot not too far from the national median figure, this golfer’s dream is not just for the well-heeled. And with a population just topping 35,000, Myrtle Beach is the smallest of places on our list, which adds to the homey feel.
For less than $100,000, golfers on a budget can find a two-bedroom condo that’s walking distance from the famous Pine Lakes Country Club.
Nearby golf courses: 13
Median list price for homes near golf courses: $569,900
About an hour east of Los Angeles, in the center of the San Bernardino Valley, you’ll find Riverside. It’s the namesake of Riverside County and the most populous city in what’s called the Inland Empire—a broad swath of Southern California’s noncoastal desert region.
With year-round golfing weather and access to more than a dozen courses within 10 minutes, Riverside has the best combo of prices, nearby golfing, and climate in the Golden State.
To be sure, Riverside is the most expensive place on our list, with homes priced more than 30% above the national average, and even more per square foot. But, in the context of California’s real estate prices, Riverside is cheap. It’s around 20% less expensive than the California average and 40% less expensive than neighboring Los Angeles.
Those looking for a place near downtown Riverside but also close to a golf course might want to look at the Jurupa Hills Country Club, where buyers can find a three-bedroom home near the greens for $455,000.
Nearby golf courses: 35
Median list price for homes near golf courses: $229,000
The last three cities on our list are all in the Midwest, where homes have historically been more affordable than in other parts of the country. In Indianapolis, the capital of Indiana, homes within 10 minutes of a golf course are still 40% less expensive than the national average. And there are a surprising number of golf courses in this region.
Midwestern winters can be brutal, but the average monthly temperature is still above 50 degrees Fahrenheit for more than half of the year. While that might mean residents consider golf more of a seasonal pastime in these final three cities, the prices are less than half of what you would find in a city like Riverside, CA.
One of the most notable Indianapolis courses is built into the site of the Indianapolis 500, mixing golf with another of the town’s iconic draws.
Saddlebrook Golf Club is one of the closest to downtown Indianapolis, and for just shy of $230,000, home shoppers can get a three-bedroom home on a quarter-acre about 1,000 feet from the course.
Nearby golf courses: 26
Median list price for homes near golf courses: $239,900
Cincinnati, located on the Ohio River, boasts low home prices—and low-cost opportunities to play golf on a good public course.
“It’s so much more affordable than golfing in a place like New York or Chicago or L.A.,” says Klein of playing in smaller Midwestern cities.
Moreover, the Rust Belt city has an indelible golf tradition, in part due to the golf royalty from the area.
“In Ohio, you have a great golf history,” says Coyne. “Anyone who’s done anything big in the sport of golf has left a stamp in Ohio. And Jack Nicklaus hails from Columbus, so there’s got to be something good going on in Ohio.”
The Camargo Club, on the northeastern end of the Cincinnati area, has been ranked one of the best in the state. While the homes nearest to the course include custom-built, multimillion-dollar mansions, a three-bedroom home can be found about five minutes away for just under $280,000.
Nearby golf courses: 23
Median list price for homes near golf courses: $249,950
Golf might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Omaha, Nebraska’s largest city located on the Missouri River. The city is home to several Fortune 500 companies, including Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. It also boasts one of the best zoos and aquariums in the world.
But there are many options in Omaha for those looking for a home near a golf course, says Chris Bauer, a local Realtor at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. He’s found buyers are looking for either a more affordable option, usually near a public golf course, or access to pricier private clubs.
“Those are two different sets of buyers,” he says. “For the avid golfers who would only buy on a private course, you have Shadow Ridge, Deer Creek, Happy Hollow, or the Omaha Country Club.”
And for those looking for somewhere to live near a public course: “Pacific Springs, The Knolls, or Johnny Goodman. Those are all popular. There’s a wide spectrum here,” he says.
Watch: The Best Cities in the U.S. for Home Sellers Right Now
* Median list prices are from the last year on Realtor.com.