PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens is one of thousands of golf communities in Florida. Recently my wife and I were down south looking for somewhere to escape the winter’s cold in the Northeast and I just had to stop by PGA National. Its championship course is where they play the Honda Classic and has also hosted the Ryder Cup and a PGA Championship – not too shabby!
I wanted to get to the bottom of what it would cost to live and play there. Here’s what I found out;
First, some basic facts. PGA National is a 2340 acre community, with 5 championship courses, a resort spa and a 240 acre nature preserve. Here’s what’s impressive; they have everything and it’s all first class from the golf locker rooms, many swimming pools, golf courses, practice facilities, tennis courts and exercise facilities to the homes, townhomes, villas and resort hotel. The downside is you’ll pay for all of it.
Here’s the basic breakdown from what I was told. First, there’s a $42,500 golf membership deposit. If you decide to get out at some point, you can get this back as long as someone wants to buy it. Currently memberships are not maxed out.
Add to that an annual family membership of $10,375 ($8095 for an individual) which covers golf, tennis, racquetball, croquet, swimming, fitness and social facilities. After that you pay $25 per person for a cart for every round. There’s no walking unless you take a caddy.
The way I figure it, it’s going to cost at least $15,000 per year for a couple who likes to golf. That’s not bad for 5 championship courses, but, if you’re like me, it’s more than your budget will allow in retirement. I also don’t like the fact that you have to take a cart or a caddy. What’s wrong with walking on your own? The ‘no walking’ is way too common at private clubs in the U.S. Could that be one of the reasons amateurs don’t get better?
The entire community is gated. Within are many ‘subdivisions’ of every type, some with more gates and some without. The housing seemed reasonable. You can actually get a small condo in the mid 100’s. We saw nice 2 bed, 2 bath places for under $300k. Of course, for those of you who are well healed, you can spend millions. From what I could gather, the homeowners association fees ranged from about $2500 to slightly over $4000 depending on the individual community. Check out prices for yourself at PGA National Realty.
My rough estimate of annual costs on a $240,000 home are $5k taxes, $3k homeowners association fees and $15k for golf. That’s $23k for starters and doesn’t include electricity, air conditioning/heat, cable, water or any other basic living costs.
If you’ve got the money and love golf and don’t mind Florida summers, or have a second home in the mountains, then PGA National is probably a heck of a deal. If you’re hoping to find a place in retirement that you can afford on a small pension, then this isn’t going to work.
I’d love to try PGA National for January through March just once to see if I could satiate myself with golf. Unfortunately it’s not cheap either. There are places to rent and owners can transfer their memberships to you, BUT it looks like it would cost about $20k for those 3 months and that’s only for lodging and golf. I guess my place in the sun is still to be discovered!