Temple Terrace, Florida is often described as the first planned golf-course community in the United States, dating from the 1920s. The community was intended only for the very wealthy who would reside there for an only a few months of the year during the winter. For example, the original homes were built without kitchens as it was planned that they would dine at the community clubhouse.
As golf became a sport also played by the middle class of the United States by the 1950s and 1960s, golf course communities also were developed for those players. During a period of "boom growth" in United States golf courses in the 1960s, approximately 25% of courses built each year were developed as a part of a real estate development.
That percentage rose to 60% during the 1990s as "master planned golf communities" grew in popularity. Under this model, the operating costs of the golf course were to be subsidized by lot sales, and lots would be sold a premium due to their location on the course. This led, however, to many unprofitable courses, and the closing of many courses.
In 2009, it was estimated that of 16,000 golf courses in the United States, more than 3,200 were part of a real estate development. More than fifty such courses closed between 2006 and early 2009.
When a development's golf course closes, a developer typically seeks to build houses or otherwise develop the former course property, leading to disputes with homeowners who purchased homes based on their views of the course. Often, however, though buyers assumed the course would always remain in the community, there is no legal basis to force the course to continue operations. In 2015, a survey of the National Association of Home Builders found that two-thirds of homebuyers are not seeking to live on a golf course. Declining interest in golf communities has led to reports of decreasing home values.
- Morgan, Philip (29 January 2014). Troubled golf club seeks more help from Temple Terrace City Council, Tampa Bay Times
- Moorehad, Richard & Nick Wynne. Golf in Florida: 1886-1950, p. 38 (2008)
- Hueber, David. "Code Blue" for U.S. Golf Course Real Estate Development: "Code Green" for Sustainable Golf Course Development (2009)
- Richadson, Mary (13 October 1985). Golf course living is appeal of these communities, Gainesville Sun (long article on area golf course communities from 1960s on)
- Abbott, Elizabeth (10 July 1988). NATIONAL NOTEBOOK: Bellingham, Mass.; Country Club Community, The New York Times (new large golf course community)
- McGeehan, Patrick (22 June 1987). Developers Swing for the Green with Golf, Sarasota Herald-Tribune
- Shevory, Kristina (8 January 2009). The Course That Got Away, The New York Times
- Soffian, Seth (15 May 1999). Tee Time; Home buyers drawn to luxuries of golf-course community liviing, Ocala Star-Banner
- Comas, Martin E. (28 October 2013). When golf courses close, development wipes out homeowners' fairway views, Orlando Sentinel
- Bubil, Harold (12 August 2012). Golf courses low on home buyers' lists Archived 2015-12-22 at the Wayback Machine, Sarasota Herald-Tribune
- (24 February 1983). Boca Woods welcome in the golfer's mecca, Boca Raton News (expectation is that golf course will remain for long time)
- Taylor, Candace (10 January 2019). Golf-Home Owners Find Themselves in a Hole, The Wall Street Journal