The day started with an early-morning beach bike ride on Kiawah Island. After that, a bucket-list tee time on the Ocean Course, the most celebrated of the seven golf courses on the South Carolina island. My kids and I hit the pool just steps from the ocean later that afternoon, then ventured out to the beach to see some dolphins feeding before enjoying a Lowcountry boil for dinner on our deck, where we watched the waves crash and pelicans glide past along the coastline.
Yes, oceanfront living on Kiawah Island is something any golfer could get used to.
And it just might be more accessible than many realize—even if you don’t want to live there full-time.
Timbers Kiawah is among the newest housing options on the island, featuring 21 oceanfront residences with private access to 10 miles of pristine beach and proximity to some of the best golf on the Eastern Seaboard. The family-friendly property features a Beach Club with a terraced bar and grill, outdoor dining, a pool that’s about a sand wedge from the ocean, and beach cruiser bikes at the ready.
But what makes Timbers Kiawah particularly unique is its fractional ownership model that provides beachfront living starting at $569,000, giving members 1/9 deeded interest to the luxurious, three- and four-bedroom residences for a minimum of four weeks a year with advance booking. Owners also can utilize the residences more frequently through the club’s short notice stay feature.
Throughout the golf world, several high-end destinations have embraced a fractional ownership approach for those who are seeking to own property, but perhaps not fully. At a fraction of the price, it offers ownership as well as options. And it’s a trend that might accelerate as folks look for escapism opportunities given that the reality, or memories, of the coronavirus pandemic won’t disappear anytime soon.
— The Residence Club (@residenceclublq) October 27, 2020
The Residence Club at PGA West in Palm Springs, Calif., and Boot Ranch in the Texas Hill Country also have fractional offerings in their golf communities, as do the Timbers properties in Kauai, Hawaii, and Jupiter, Fla.
While Timbers Kiawah is entirely fractional, the Timbers property on Kauai is a mix of fully owned properties, vacation rentals, and fractional ownership opportunities that start at $399,000 for a 1/12 deeded ownership interest or $875,000 for a 1/6 share. In south Florida, fractional ownership at Timbers Jupiter starts at $65,000 for a four-bedroom, 1/8 deeded ownership interest in a residence nestled within the Trump National Jupiter Golf Club.
It isn’t limited to just the U.S. either—Quivira Los Cabos and Villa del Palmar in the Islands of Loreto (home to TPC Danzante Bay) in Mexico both have fractional ownership opportunities. At Christophe Harbour in St. Kitts, where an 18-hole Tom Fazio course is being built, the Windswept Residence Club offers 1/10 interest of a fully furnished, classic Caribbean four-bedroom villa from $495,000.
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Getting a taste of the lifestyle during a trip to the Charleston area, it was easy to get sold on the concept of fractional ownership as a vacation home option.
The refrigerator and pantry were stocked upon our arrival, one of the many courtesies extended to homeowners to get a head-start on their stay. There was food and drink, including local craft beers, and a variety of snacks that included a box of essentials to make s’mores by the outdoor firepit at night. While I brought my golf clubs with me to tackle the celebrated Ocean Course as well as the renovated Cougar Point, complimentary clubs are available for those who need them, as are the bikes, beach chairs and kayaks.
The clubhouse is casual and comfortable, with complimentary coffee always at the ready, and not only does Timbers Kiawah boast one of the best stretches of beach on the entire island, but it has a premier chef in Teddy Folkman, who appeared on Food Network’s Throwdown with Bobby Flay and takes care of members’ culinary desires as the property’s food and beverage manager.
One of the coolest elements of the fractional program at Timbers Kiawah is that owners aren’t necessarily tied into a particular residence, providing even more flexibility in terms of when they can visit. Plus, ownership at a property in the Timbers collection means reciprocal opportunities in which residents can trade vacation time with other destinations within the portfolio.
Fractional ownership isn’t for everyone. But having gotten a taste of the food, the beach, the golf and other amenities at a special spot like Timbers Kiawah, it’s a seriously appealing option that’s bound to become more commonplace.