Golf course estates have become a popular lifestyle choice for the Baby Boomer generation looking to retire in style, with recreation centres, tennis courts, day spas and restaurants adding to their appeal. But do golf course developments represent the best investment choice - and how would it fit into your wealth creation strategy?

With open spaces of clean-cut green grass and lifestyle benefits to boot, many suburbs throughout Australia are being transformed with the addition of newly developed, deluxe golf resort properties decorating the fringe of the fairway.

The occupiers of these sorts of dwellings are generally motivated by the luxurious lifestyle environment that these estates represent - even if they don't play golf, says Ian Pepper, CEO of property finance and advisory group Property Penguin.

"For people who don't play golf there are other attractions such as swimming pools, tennis courts and restaurants, which along with the picturesque scenery of the golf course, give it a real resort-like feel," Pepper said.

Investors who are contemplating buying into a golf course development must weigh up a range of considerations before taking the plunge.

Location, location, location

Properties within golf course estates aren't solely purchased for their lifestyle attractions, as the capital growth on offer to investors can be exceptional - if you buy in the right location.

Property analyst Michael Matusik researched the performance of golf course estates over a five-year period, between 2001 and 2005, and he found that the best performing golf estate properties, in terms of capital growth, were located on the waterfront.

He also discovered that the better performers were in golf estates where there was plenty of open space, meaning that the developments with a smaller number of dwellings grew in value faster than those estates that were congested with a higher density of dwellings.

However, Matusik also had a word of warning for investors who might be considering a property on the fairway, saying that some 'name' golf courses, which are designed or endorsed by celebrities or athletes, "are becoming saturated".

"There are quite a few Greg Norman-designed courses, and hence the 'novelty factor' has been somewhat diminished," Matusik says.

For the complete story and more, read the latest issue of Your Investment Property magazine, on sale now.

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