"You see Tiger out there playing Annika, but they don't bother with us," Smith says of his weekday foursome. "It's too much of a business for them to bother with a US$5 Nassau."
Home ownership does not grant membership to the Isleworth Country Club and its difficult (142 slope) Arnold Palmer course, which is by invitation.
THE EDWARDIAN HIGH-RISE
Bear Mountain; Victoria, British Columbia; www.bearmountain.ca
"It looks like a castle," said Cynthia Thompson, 45, of the Highlander, a 15-story condominium modeled after Victoria's century-old Empress Hotel, just after she and her husband, Greg, 50, bought a two-bedroom golf retreat there.
Tired of the heat of Phoenix, Arizona, where they live in a golf community, the couple wanted a summer vacation property. When they called Bear Mountain to book a tee time on its Jack Nicklaus-designed course, they were told they could take part in the resort's Fly and Try program, which would reimburse them for airfare and a hotel room if they bought property.
"We had never considered buying in Victoria, but it's beautiful," Cynthia said. "The course is amazing, and I don't think we'll need a car."
Many of the 525-hectare resort's condos are being snapped up by Americans from hot-weather locales like Texas, California and Arizona. Condos start at 50m2 for US$367,450 and go to 185m2 for US$2.2 million.
"The average age of the buyer here is 48 to 52," said Dale Sproule, director of real estate. He added that the development's owners - led by the ex-National Hockey League player Len Barrie - have helped attract a young crowd. "We're selling as fast as we can build," Sproule said.