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Golf on the Olympic Peninsula is a golfer’s dream. Golf courses on the Peninsula have two major advantages over golf courses in the Seattle area. The first is the rain. Sequim gets one-third the rainfall of Seattle. Serious golfers love the weather on the Olympic Peninsula. The second blessing on the Peninsula is no crowds. I took this photo of a golf course near Port Townsend recently, and just look at the crowd!
This may be one of the best kept secrets of the Olympic Peninsula. I’ve written about Sequim Golf Courses, and what beautiful courses Sequim has. The Cedars at Dungeness is definitely one of the best of the Sequim golf courses. It is a year-round 6,610-yard, par 72, 18-hole Championship course. It is actually the driest course in Western Washington, and that includes all the Seattle area courses. This allows The Cedars at Dungeness to host a number of Pro and Pro-Am tournaments throughout the year.
If you are an avid golfer, and you are considering the Sequim area or Port Townsend area as your retirement destination, email me at ChuckMarunde@gmail.com or call me at 360-775-5424, and I’ll be delighted to show you around and view some potential homes.
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The Sunland Golf Course has been a topic of conversation for a couple of years among retirees moving to Sequim. Sequim has some great golf courses, and Sunland is one of them. I received these insightful questions from a client recently and decided to share the questions and answers with others who may be curious about the Sunland Golf Course.
Question. I have a question about Sunland. I think it would be a pleasant place to live but many of the properties are a bit older and could use a refresh. However, I’ve also read that golf course communities are not in as much demand as they had been so I wonder if one could expect folks to buy these older properties and fix them up. Or is the “bloom off the rose,” so to speak, for communities like Sunland? I know this question is impossible to answer and one can only speculate. Still, I wondered what you think is in the cards for Sunland? Thank you for your help and responsiveness. I hope everyone in Sequim is as friendly and welcoming as you seem to be!
Answer: Great questions. I’ll do my best to answer them to your satisfaction. Sunland is a very nice subdivision. The real estate market really hit Sunland hard, certainly because of the recession, but also because of the internal dispute between homeowners and the Golf Club. Things seemed to have smoothed out for now, or at least both the Club and the Homeowners’ Association both deny that there is anything of concern at this time. For more about the history of the Sunland Golf Course issues, you can read two articles I wrote over the past couple of years on this issue:
Here’s my take on homes in Sunland now. Because of the recession, and because buyers have apparently been concerned about the golf course issues in Sunland, buyers have been few and far between for homes in Sunland. As of today, there are 42 homes for sale in our MLS in Sunland (north and south), and 14 have been on the market for over 300 days.
But when I look at how many homes in Sunland have sold above $200,000 in the past 12 months, I see there are 23. That’s not bad. But I do think prices have come way way down from where they were, and buyers are now finding some of the best bargains in all of Sequim in Sunland. In my opinion, there is no issue of concern with the Golf Club for homeowners, and the homes are bargains right now. It’s true that many of the homes are old enough now so that they can use some upgrades, especially in the kitchen, and some maintenance work, but most retirees in Sunland have kept up on major maintenance and most of the homes are in excellent condition.
The Sunland Golf Course is always kept immaculate, and is beautiful, so this is still a huge attraction, and for retirees who like the area and don’t mind a small lot with houses close together, I would definitely include Sunland as a great place to live. There will be a market for homes in Sunland for many years to come. Golfers tend to be passionate about golf, and there’s no doubt that there will be many golfers moving to Sequim in the coming years. Stopping golfers from playing golf would be like stopping gravity. Not going to happen. So Sunland remains popular, especially to golfers. On the other hand, over 85% of the Sunland residents do not play golf but live there because of the ambiance and the community.
Sequim will continue to grow. It is a haven for retirees all over the country, and the volume of emails and inquiries I get from people planning to retire one, two, and five years from now is amazing. I would encourage any buyers looking carefully at Sequim to include homes in your search in the Sunland community. The Sunland Golf Course is a beautiful setting even if you don’t play golf.
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Sequim golf courses are one of the reasons so many retired professionals move to Sequim. The Cedars at Dungeness is located in Sequim on the beautiful Olympic Peninsula in Western Washington, and is a gorgeous course as you can see in this photo.
This is definitely one of the best of the Sequim golf courses. It is a year-round 6,610-yard, par 72, 18-hole Championship course. It is actually the driest course in Western Washington, and that includes all the Seattle area courses. This allows The Cedars at Dungeness to host a number of Pro and Pro-Am tournaments throughout the year. Find out more at The Cedars at Dungeness and you can see the course by clicking on this course map below.
Sequim golf courses are in the famous Sequim rain shadow, so you’ll enjoy sunshine while you play . . . most of the time. If you’re considering retiring to Sequim so you can play regularly at one of our beautiful Sequim Golf Courses, please take a look at this Sequim Waterview Home for sale. Be sure to watch the video tour, because the owners give you their own tour of one of the most beautiful homes in the entire Sequim area.
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The Sunland Golf Course in the beautiful community of Sunland in Sequim, Washington has been one of the great attractions to Sequim and especially to the avid golfers who have purchased homes in Sunland. Over 80% of homeowners in Sunland are not members of the Sunland Golf Club, but part of the appeal of the community is the beauty that the greens add for all homeowners. But potential buyers have been asking questions for at least a year, like “What’s going on with the Golf Course? What about the homeowners? Are they going to assess homeowners $300 a year to help the golf course, and is that going to increase or what? If the golf course closes, what’s going to happen to the greens? Who is going to mow the grass, or is it going to grow unattended, or are they going to sell the land and have lots of houses built?”
A year and a half ago I wrote about the Sunland Golf Course issues, “Facts, assumptions, and perceptions are getting entangled. Rumors are flying about what would or could or might happen. The elderly on limited pensions are feeling pressured to participate even though some widows have expressed their financial inability.”
This is not just a local topic of conversation. Nationally golf courses have been hit hard by the recession, and most golfers around the country know this. A recent article in the online Statesman shared, “The National Golf Foundation this week released its report for 2010 that tracked course openings and closings by state, region and nation. The report found 46 18-hole equivalent course openings against 107 closures for a net loss of 61 such equivalents.”
Buyers have been asking me, and I’m sure many other Sequim real estate agents, “What’s the update on the Sequim Golf Course?” After some phone calls and emails, here’s what I’m being told by the Homeowners’ Association and homeowners: Nothing has changed. The Sequim Golf Course Manager, Tyler Sweet, was kind enough to share an update with me. He said, “The proposal from Sunland Golf & CC to SLOA was dropped over a year ago. Never once did SG&CC mention bankruptcy as an option, however your website did mention it. SG&CC has a balanced budget for the 2011 & 2012 season and looks forward to providing both social and golfing memberships along with weekend public tee times for years to come.”
This is good news, and it would seem to me from this information that the issues of the Sunland Golf Course financial concerns (if there were any) and any concerns that homeowner assessments for non-golfers would go up to assist the Golf Course are history. There is no evidence of a persuasive nature that prospective buyers need to be concerned about the financial health of the Sunland Golf Course. While I have no inside knowledge of the financial health of the golf course, I take the Golf Course Manager at his word that the Club is doing well and, “looks forward to providing both social and golfing memberships along with weekend public tee times for years to come.”
There are two things I would add to this discussion. The first is that this whole thing has been a public relations disaster for the Sunland Golf Course and for the community of Sunland. This is obvious I know. Something like this can cause so many hurt feelings in the community, so much ill-will, and we all know that issues like this that affect so many people (844 Sunland residents and all the homeowners in Sunland who have had their homes for sale and the prospective buyers) develop a life of their own that can take years to slowly fade away. The art of public relations addresses potentially difficult issues proactively, rather than let them get out of control and cause far more problems than the original concern. Public relations involves knowing when there may be a hot issue, understanding human behavior (and when an issue may adversely affect people), understanding effective sales and marketing (presenting facts and issues with a positive perspective), and knowing how to be persuasive with humility. Honesty is always the best policy. We’ve all seen politicians violate these values and principles and end up resigning even though the original transgression would have been forgiven.
Unfortunately, when many keep saying, “nothing has changed,” that does nothing to allay the fears of potential buyers, and the real people who get hurt are the Sunland residents who have been trying to sell their homes. In a real estate recession, it doesn’t take much to scare buyers away. Any uncertainty about the future of the Sunland Golf Course can scare buyers away. It seems to me that there still is no one on top of public relations here. PR is an important part of promoting any community or golf club. Neither the Club nor the homeowners’ association have taken up the obvious need for a PR campaign on this whole subject. That’s too bad. Perhaps I’m the only one doing that by suggesting that this whole issue is behind us.
Home sales in Sunland have dropped substantially, and only three homes in Sunland have sold in the first six months of this calendar year (2011) according to data from the Olympic Listing Service. I would not blame this on the Golf Course issues, but buyers have raised these issues every time I’ve shown a home in Sunland, and I was not the one to bring the issue up first. Buyers learned by talking to other people.
In my opinion this is a good time to buy a home in Sunland. As of this writing, there are 43 homes listed for sale in Sunland and all its divisions. You can go to this link and see all the Sunland Homes for Sale.
Here is a graphic showing how many homes have sold in Sunland each calendar year since 1998, and even though only 3 homes have sold during the first 6 months of 2011, I am projecting that 9 homes will sell this year. One might think we should just double the 3 since we are halfway through the year, but the best selling months are ahead of us, so 9 is a realistic number. It may go higher to 12, and that would be good, but these numbers are not a great encouragement to Sunland homeowners trying to sell in this recession. [Click on this image to enlarge it.]
I have been telling buyers for the last year that they do not need to be concerned. I continue to tell buyers that, and I am saying it again here. The Sunland community continues to be one of the most beautiful little communities in the entire Sequim area on the Olympic Peninsula, and if you’re an avid golf enthusiast, you could not find a better opportunity than now to buy a home in Sunland in this incredible buyer’s market. The golf course is gorgeous and well maintained–there’s never been a doubt about that.
Read another updated article about the Sequim Golf Course Financial Issues with comments.
You can learn more about the course at Sunland Golf Course, and you can read more about the community at Sunland Homeowners Association. I hope this article about the Sunland Golf Course has been helpful.
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There are several Sequim golf courses, but one I think stands out is The Cedars at Dungeness, which is located in sunny Sequim, Washington. This great course is is a year-round 6,456-yard, par 72, 18-hole Championship course. Here we are in February, and the Sequim golf courses are busy.
The Cedars at Dungeness is playable all year long as are all the Sequim golf courses. Compare our 13 inches of annual rainfall with Seattle’s 38 inches. No wonder this is a great destination golf course.
From the first hole (“a short dogleg left is a great starting hole”) to the 18th hold (“This is one of the best finishing holes in the Northwest. Aim your tee shot at the Totem Pole just left of the clubhouse. This will give you the best angle to the green. Hit it right and you’ll have no chance to make par. Add at least one club to your selection for your approach to this elevated green. The green slopes back to front.”) this is a great way to spend your day. No doubt.
Of all Sequim golf courses, this is the one you’ve got to play. You can jump up on the golf course web site at The Cedars at Dungeness. Sequim golf courses are some of the best in the state.
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The quality of life in Sequim is one of the biggest reasons so many people retire here from all over the United States. Much has been written about our Rain Shadow, about our recreation (hiking in the Olympic Mountains, kayaking and sailing, bicycling, surfing and water boarding, fishing, golfing, walking and jogging on the Olympic Discovery Trail, camping, sightseeing around the Olympic Peninsula), and the gifted retirees who have formed just about every club and hobby group you can imagine from the common to the esoteric.
A big part of the quality of life is affordable housing in a location that you love and find peaceful. Sequim has that, whether it is a water view or a mountain view you want, or even if you prefer to be tucked in a valley up in the mountains.
This morning I ran five miles through Robin Hill Park and down the Discovery Trail, and when I got back to the house I blended a very healthy fruit smoothie with a little protein powder. It looked so darn pretty, I could not resist taking this photo.
Then I go to work for the balance of the day. I love living in Sequim. The quality of life would be hard to beat anywhere.
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Is the Sequim Sunland Golf Course going bankrupt? This is the question on the minds of 844 Sunland residents, 119 resident golfers, other Sequim residents who are watching this story unfold, and potential buyers from outside the area. After reading this article, be sure to read the updated article linked at the end of this article.
Sunland is one of Sequim’s early real estate developments and the first to have a golf course within the subdivision. In the 1970s the developer sold land to 100 resident golfers who started the Sunland Golf Course Club (“SLGCC” or “Club”). The Club is a private entity, owned by its members, and it owns the real estate and the clubhouse in Sunland. The homeowners in Sunland have a Homeowners’ Association (“SLOA”), which is also its own entity with no affiliation or financial connection with the Club. The two are now at odds, and the issue has created open animosity among some Sunland residents.
The cause of this dispute? The Club is sliding toward bankruptcy, and it is asking the non-golfers in Sunland to save it. Club membership has been declining, as is the case with golf courses around the country, but the cost of operation and maintenance has not declined. There are three logical resolutions to this dilemma: 1. all homeowners chip in, 2. Club members ante up and save their Club, or 3. The Club files bankruptcy and liquidates.
The months long campaign by the Club would require all homeowners to contribute. What is the most persuasive argument that all homeowners should chip in to help save the Club? The primary argument is that property values will be negatively impacted, and some have suggested that property values could decline by as much as 30% in Sunland if the Club goes bankrupt. The Club has suggested that the fairways could become fields of weeds, or that the land could be sold and a developer could come in and put up tract homes.
Many homeowners are not convinced and are politely saying, “No.” Unfortunately, no is not working. The campaign to force all Sunland homeowners to help pay for the golf course has intensified. The battle for the mind of homeowners has turned into an all out war. Facts, assumptions, and perceptions are getting entangled. Rumors are flying about what would or could or might happen. The elderly on limited pensions are feeling pressured to participate even though some widows have expressed their financial inability.
Homeowners are being told their homes will lose value if the Club goes under. Will Sunland homes be worth less if the Club goes bankrupt and closes? Will homeowners suffer a loss if they choose to sell their homes without a golf course in Sunland?
Stated like this, these questions can lead a person to any number of tangential arguments, depending upon biases, assumptions, and one’s personal stake in the outcome. Let me state up front that this author has no stake in the outcome. I am a Realtor and retired real estate attorney, but I have no office in Sunland, no current listings in Sunland, do not own a home in Sunland, am not a member of the Club, and I am not a noteholder to whom the Club owes an unsecured debt.
It has been said that the answers you get are only as good as the questions you ask. I believe a better starting place for a question about the impact a bankruptcy (or no golf course) would have on Sunland homes would be questions like this:
Do homes in Sunland now command a premium that can be attributed to the existence of a golf course in Sunland? This is a question that can be answered with a careful analysis of similar homes that have sold inside and outside of Sunland. The homes must truly be comps with similar qualities and features and with similar lots and generally similar neighborhoods. This kind of analysis will take some experience and careful thought, because it would be easy to distort the data with a few homes that are not true comps. It would also require some differentiating, because there may be some homes in Sunland that would be effected or effected more than the majority of Sunland homes because of their unique location. Lastly, the data in this analysis must include homes sold from the Olympic Listing Service (not the Northwest MLS which does not include all local listings), and it should include data over a reasonably long period of time, such as five to seven years. This would cover our peak years of sales in the area as well as the current recession.
This kind of analysis is important. This is not a time to shoot from the hip on home values or the impact the Club closure may have on home values. Even professional Realtors can have substantially different opinions if asked to shoot from the hip. Impressions and assumptions have no place in this analysis. Too much is at stake for the Club and for the homeowners. Accurate facts are vital to intelligent discussion and freedom of choice in what may be the most important decision Sunland homeowners will ever make.
If the answer to that question is, “No, the current market has not historically brought a statistically significant premium to the value of homes in Sunland simply because of the golf course,” then Sunland homeowners have nothing to fear from the closure of the golf course or the Club, and they should not be pressured to contribute financially.
If, however, the answer to the question is, “Yes, the current market has historically brought a premium to Sunland homes because the community has a golf course,” then homeowners might be motivated to participate, but not without more. Homeowners are not going to blindly write checks. The Club has other options, such as Club members increasing their dues. Homeowners have posted a review of the facts and arguments on the Internet at Sunland-facts.info. This Sunland blog includes links to important letters and links to the Club’s position.
As a Realtor I listed one home and sold two homes in Sunland last fall in October of 2009. My buyers purchased a beautiful three bedroom, two bath home on a lot that is well landscaped. Like all of the other clients I showed homes to in Sunland in 2009, these clients are not golfers. As we shopped for homes that suited their parameters, we looked at homes inside and outside of Sunland. The home my clients did purchase was purchased on its own merits without regard to the golf course, and the comps indicated no premium value in the listing price at all. My clients would not have paid a premium to be in Sunland because there is a golf course. They found the perfect home on the perfect lot at a great competitive price, and they bought it. Their feelings were that Sunland is a great little community, but the golf course was not a factor.
One might argue it was an indirect factor, since there are green fields of grass that contribute to the beauty of the community, and while that may be true, it is the green grass or the fields that are attractive, not golfers with clubs or golfers riding on carts. This means that it is not the Club itself that ads value, but the open spaces. Even this is debatable. But my experience is a microcosm, and surely another Realtor could be found to say that they sold to some clients precisely because there was a golf course in Sunland. But this still begs the question, “Do homes in Sunland command a premium because of the golf course?” This is why a more authoritative answer to the question involves a thorough analysis of homes sold inside and outside of Sunland over the past five to seven years.
There is one more step in looking at values. Even if one could show that there is not a premium attached to home values in Sunland because there is a golf course, or that such a premium is negligible, we then must take the next step and ask how this issue of closing the Club will affect perceptions of values on the part of buyers. The cliche is, “Perception is reality,” and there may be some truth to that statement even if there is not to the underlying claims. If buyers are hearing that there is animosity within the community, that there are arguments about the effect the bankruptcy of the Club will have on home values, and that there is uncertainty about whether homeowners are going to be required to pay an additional $300 per year, or more, this could turn buyers away from Sunland, or it could motivate a buyer to try to negotiate a lower price. Perceptions can become reality, but they don’t have to.
The answer to false perceptions is education, promotion and good marketing, honest dialogue, and diligent efforts by homeowners or the SLOA itself. Alexander Solzhenitsyn once said, “One word of truth will outweigh the whole world.” From my perspective, Sunland homeowners are some of the greatest people you could ever hope to know, and I would suggest that if Sunland homeowners are fully informed, they will make the right decisions.
One thing that is clear is that there is a massive breakdown of communications. Several homeowners have worked diligently to gather facts and openly discuss the issues and potential resolutions for everyone. The homeowners have asked the Club for a plan that would show them how much they want for how long, what will happen in the years ahead, and what the projections are for more financial contributions from homeowners in the years ahead. The Club has apparently not provided satisfactory answers to the homeowners, and the Club has apparently been unwilling to provide detailed and accurate financial statements of income and expenses and proformas for the next few years. This comes from my interview of Sunland homeowners. I also emailed the Club to seek an interview but never received a response.
Persuading the 725 non-golfers in Sunland to contribute $300 per year and possibly more in the future would be no small task. But this is where the responsibility to communicate openly lies entirely with the Club. Because the Club is the one asking the homeowners for money, and especially because it is an open-ended request, the Club owes the homeowners a duty of full disclosure, transparency, and that includes opening the books of the Club to homeowners for review (at least complete financial statements). It would be entirely unreasonable to ask any homeowner to contribute money to a cause that is unclear and managed by others who will not share specifically what they will do with that money and precisely how the homeowner will be effected. If homeowners feel this way, guess who is responsible for not articulating their position? Some homeowners feel that they are being asked to subsidize the social and recreational habits of golfers. I cannot imagine how the Club could overcome that objection.
It was and is the Club’s responsibility to sell their plan to the homeowners, and thus far they have failed. The animosity among homeowners and the uncertainty hanging in the air is proof of that. But this is about much more than just number crunching. It is about respect and fairness. Selling the Club’s position to homeowners requires diplomacy and gentle persuading. It requires both the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Financial statements, proof of the Club’s financial need, and justification for homeowners’ contributions from a financial perspective is all left brain logic. The other half of persuasion is a matter of speaking to the homeowners ‘right brain, their concerns about the future, connecting with their emotional distress, and treating them with humility and respect. If the Club cannot do both, any vote to help the Club will fail.
It is unfortunate that an otherwise peaceful community now has hostility brewing. It is important to note that the hostility is not between homeowners and golfers. The hostility is between the Club and the homeowners. It also seems apparent that the mismanagement of this important issue is not the fault of homeowners. The Club had the lead on this one. The Club had the responsibility to explain, educate, and persuade homeowners of the need and justify their request. They have clearly not done that well, and now the tension in the community is high.
Editor: For an update article on the Sunland Golf Course issues, see Sunland Golf Course No Longer In Trouble and Issues Now History?
For more information about the Sequim Sunland Golf Course, see Sunland-facts.info.
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The Sequim Sunland Golf Course is very popular, and Sunland as a subdivision of nice homes in a beautiful residential community is a strong pull for southern California or Arizona residents considering retirement here. Here’s a great example of a custom home for sale right on the golf course, and I’ve included photos so you can get a vignette of this Sequim community.
This is a stunning custom built home on the golf course. It’s a corner lot on the 17th green. The kitchen has granite, Corian and butcher block counters, a propane cook stove for the chef of the house, a custom bar you’ve got to see, 3 fireplaces, very high ceilings, a huge master suite with a walk-in double custom shower. There’s a guest room with an outside entrance off the back deck near the hot tub. There are two bedrooms plus the guest room. This is one of the highest quality custom homes in Sunland, but it’s priced to sell in the current market at a price that would be hard to replace if you had to build it, $439,000. The seller will consider helping to buy down the interest rate for you by paying some loan points, but don’t wait too long if you are buying, because interest rates are going to continue a steady upward trend.
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Here’s a quote from a local golf course promotion, “The Cedars at Dungeness is the driest round of golf in Western Washington. Compare our 13″ of annual rainfall to Seattle’s 38″, Palm Springs’ 17″ or Pebble Beach at 27″. We offer superb course conditions, a grass driving range and great views of the Olympic Mountains. With four sets of tees to choose from, you’re sure to enjoy yourself whatever your skill level.” Sounds great, because it is. I took this photo yesterday (March 31st), and it was a beautiful day for golfing.
For your pleasure and convenience, here are your options:
Sequim golf courses are in the famous Sequim rain shadow, so you’ll enjoy sunshine while you play . . . most of the time.
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