While many do not want to hear the woes of the 1 percent, the reality is that it can be difficult for the designers of an upscale community to achieve just the right balance of luxury living with a sense of community that makes residents feel as if they have truly found a home. But it is possible and developers of Old Palm Golf Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., managed to achieve this delicate equilibrium with a nod to privacy and understated elegance.
Community has always been important to me and I have always grappled with the concept of gated communities and other such "security." Who are we keeping in or out? Recently while visiting friends in Palm Beach, I took the opportunity to visit this golf community to see for myself what makes this place different from others. I am not a golfer but this is a 22-hole private golf facility designed by World Golf Hall of Fame member Raymond Floyd. Add to this a state-of-the-art Golf Studio practice facility which has three full-length practice holes and I must admit I actually hit the ball more than once during a golf lesson where I was at the mercy of computer generated program that assessed my golf chops with no forgiveness. The property does have its share of golfer super stars, but what I found most remarkable was the genuine ease in which these players enjoy the gracious living equally as they do chatting with neighbors and guests like me.
"Although most members have 2nd and 3rd homes elsewhere you soon get the sense that Old Palm is their preferred home. Over the years I have seen many close friendships develop between members and families of diverse background, celebrating each other's birthdays, weddings and many other occasion. To illustrate the camaraderie, you will find members who ordinarily travel in their Bentley and Ferraris cheerfully climbing into a charter bus to enjoy a trip to the opera together. When meeting new members I aim to find out what their likes and common interest are and introduce them to other members to make them instantly feel comfortable and at home." -- Rolf Schuster Old Palm Concierge
After a long day, residents, neighbors, family and friends often relax together in the mediterranean-style clubhouse that struck me as a perfect blend of old world with an infusion of traditional Palm Beach charm. Fine dining, maître d' service and world-class cuisine are available in a choice of intimate indoor or artfully-developed outdoor dining areas but most residents end up casually lounging in the "Living Room" discussing just about everything.
Make no mistake, this is high-end living at its best with a great deal of privacy as homes are situated on at least one-acre lots, but the well thought out neighborhoods allow for an environment few elite communities have captured weaving all the amenities expected by residents investing at this price point with the added benefit of a true sense of community.
Luxury living does not have to happen in a vacuum as it is not simply about the house, but more so about making it a true home.
In the spirit of full disclosure - I have no commercial connection to the community nor was I paid for this article.
Photo Credit: Joshua Estrin