Golf equals big business when it comes to buying second homes - an estimated 160,000 Britons own overseas holiday homes next to courses, a figure that has risen by 20 per cent since the downturn, suggesting that golf can add a little immunity to the vagaries of the international property market.
The reasons are obvious. A home next to a golf course guarantees lush, open views. Not just for players out on the course, but for the rest of the household looking for a more relaxed pace of life and the added amenities which come with golf resorts.
Communities are often gated, so offer security and peace of mind and in terms of rental returns, such properties appeal of holidaymakers looking to play a round.
But while the most popular second homes for Brits are in the golfing destinations of Portugal, Spain and Florida, Scotland as the home of golf has its fair share of properties that can compete as the most prestigious in the world.
Jamie Macnab of Savills says that St Andrews is in a market of its own. “It is the place to own a golf property, the Mecca of golf and there is a genuinely international market interested when anything overlooking the course comes up for sale.”
The key here is the quality of golf on offer to the spectator as well as the player. “We have the Open Championship coming in July which is every five years, while the Dunhill Championship is every year.
Homes surrounding the course have a grandstand view which you just don’t get at most courses.”
He points to The Links and Gibson Place in St Andrews as the most desirable addresses which change hands in their own micro market, unaffected by outside forces. “We recently sold a property, The Wynd, which was on at two and a quarter million and it was sold within a week.”
Lynne Tait of Thorntons, who is currently marketing The End House in Gibson Place agrees: “Residential property on those streets are rare, a few of the houses are taken up with local golf clubs, so when they come on the market they are much sought after. It is also to do with the style of property though - these are mainly elegant Georgian homes although the views are really the selling point.”
Macnab says that elsewhere in Scotland there are different types of golf buyers. “St Andrews sells on the international market, whereas properties in Gleneagles are mostly owned by Brits - particularly businessmen from Glasgow and Aberdeen.”
Elsewhere he says the American model of gated communities, exclusive properties and very high joining fees - in the tens of thousands of pounds - are starting to appear.
He cites Archerfield and The Renaissance resort in East Lothian.
Outside of these locations which are dedicated to the golfer, it is difficult to put a price on the added value of living in a home where you can walk out on to a golf course. Macnab says “You think of the large Victorian homes overlooking the West Links in North Berwick, but they are expensive homes already. In St Andrews you can pinpoint an added value that a view gives - I’d say you pay double the price of a house just one street away from The Old Course.”
Savills currently have a unique property in Perthshire which does away with the need for green fees or jostling with neighbours for a tee off time - for a hefty price. Tower of Letheny is a small estate with its own 18 hole golf course.
Macnab says: “You couldn’t really describe it as a golf property because it has so much else going for it, but its own golf course puts it in a league of its own.”
The End House, St Andrews
This end terraced duplex apartment has probably the best views in the world of golf - overlooking the famous Old Course.
It is a bright and spacious apartment but it really is all about what you see from the windows; the main living areas and the master bedroom have views onto the 17th green and 18th tee, the first green and across the 18th and first fairways and include the the iconic Swilken Bridge - where just about every famous golfer who ever played has been photographed.
The two storey flat has its own garage with a roof terrace looking again towards The Old Course and further out to West Sands Beach and beyond - perfect for outdoor entertaining.
Inside the accommodation includes a grand curved staircase from the ground floor with it breakfast room and kitchen plus two double bedrooms and a shower room, to the upper floor which has a sitting room with bay window giving access to 180 degrees of the best views, the master bedroom suite and bedroom four.
Price: Offers over £1.45m.
Contact: Thorntons on 01334 474200.
East Cliff, Lossiemouth
On a much more realistic scale, East Cliff House on Stotfield Road in Lossiemouth is an exceptional period home in a spectacular elevated position above Moray Golf Club and enjoying unhindered views of the Moray Firth coastline and the iconic Covesea lighthouse.
Six miles from Elgin it has a sitting room, dining room and drawing room but most notably two beautiful sun rooms, on the ground and first floors, which run the length of the back of the house, overlooking the golf course.
There are seven bedrooms, plus an apartment with separate entrance so there is real scope here to use the house or the annex as a holiday let or to run a bed and breakfast.
As well as attracting golfers, this is a beautiful spot to watch wildlife - with regular sitings of bottle nosed dolphins in the Moray Firth.
Moray Golf Club is considered to be one of the finest links courses in Scotland.
Price: offers over £585,000.
Contact: Strutt and Parker on 01463 719171.
TOP OF THE RANGE
Tower of Lethendy
This B listed tower house, 14 miles North of Perth, has parts dating back to 1570 but in the main was remodelled in the late Victorian era in a grand Scots Baronial style.
It sits at the heart of a 40 acres estate with two private driveways, sweeping formal gardens, a tennis court, heated outdoor swimming pool, a woodland garden, beautiful orchard and its own 18 hole golf course - all set within magnificent private grounds behind tall beech hedges.
The house is a splendid architectureal gem too, with wood panelled reception rooms, eight bedrooms and seven bathrooms - all finished to a very high spec.
There are four cottages in the grounds - each mirroring the castellations and turrets of the main house.
While having the golf course - particularly with 18 holes - does make this a unique proposition, such a property is already at the pinnacle of the Scottish residential market - but has a price to match.
Contact: Savills on 0131 247 3700.