Links Living: Santa Lucia Preserve

A National Membership at this private golf community, with fewer than 300 homes on 20,000 acres just minutes from Carmel, Calif., puts you in rarified territory.

Scour the planet and you may not find another place as beautiful, wild, or well preserved as California’s Central Coast. So when given the opportunity to occupy a slice of this wilderness, living lightly on the land is a prerequisite.

The private community of Santa Lucia Preserve has gone beyond simply being a steward of its idyllic setting by dedicating itself to ensuring the land’s long-term protection. Of its 20,000 acres, 18,000 are protected in perpetuity (in collaboration with the Santa Lucia Conservancy) and will stay wild forever, an example of how private communities can live in harmony with their surroundings.

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17th Hole (photo by Joann Dost)

The Preserve has harnessed the same determination in dealing with California’s unique environmental challenges. A Firewise-certified community, it has created a well-developed water system and new firebreaks to mitigate harm from wildfires, and is near completion of a solar project that will set a new industry standard for self-sustainability: Nearly 1,200 solar panels will help preserve reservoirs by slowing evaporation while producing eco-friendly energy.

One of the beneficiaries of the solar project will be The Preserve Golf Club, a Tom Fazio design that hosted U.S. Open qualifying in 2021 and is perennially ranked among the country’s best: LINKS Magazine named it one of the state’s “Top 10,” alongside nearby greats Pebble Beach and Cypress Point. Like everything else here, the design and maintenance of the golf course pay homage to the land. Along with renovating the practice facility—adding a new short game area and wedge zones—five acres of drought-tolerant Santa Ana bermudagrass are being planted, reducing water demand by more than one million gallons annually.

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8th Hole (photo by Joann Dost)

With membership nearing capacity, your best opportunity to get access to the course and other amenities is through a National Membership, which includes unlimited golf rounds, access to the practice facilities and tournaments, dining, and limited access to on-site lodging. National Membership also makes the most sense for those hoping to own at Santa Lucia Preserve one day, offering the chance to enjoy the club and preview a life here.

A life that’s lived on land virtually untouched over the last century, and with protections in place to ensure it stays that way forever.