Rebecca Burchell had to make a difficult choice.

The ideal house might take many different forms. However, few people would see their ideal home being built on the grounds of a significant athletic event.

Because most people find the idea of balls flying at windows and outsiders strolling through their lawn less appealing, even though having a renowned golf course in your backyard may sound heavenly to a die-hard golfer.

Yet there is a community where one family has holed out on a piece of heaven hidden among the expansive fairways and sparkling lakes of Tournament Players Club (TPC) Sawgrass, home of the PGA Tour and venue for The Players Championship.

Across the pond

Rebecca Burchell had to make a difficult choice.

Comfortable and happy in a lush Her family had spent ten years creating a new life in Beaconsfield, a market town in southeast England, after relocating from Ponte Vedra Beach close to Jacksonville, Florida, in 2007.

Emma and Liam, two of her adolescent children, were contently enrolled at a nearby school, where licensed realtor Burchell volunteered to serve as a governor.

However, the family’s initial decision to go across the Atlantic would ultimately be the reason they returned. Mark Burchell, Rebecca’s husband, would experience life imitating work when a new employment opportunity in Jacksonville prompted the Burchells to return to Florida. Mark had built a long career in the global relocation industry. “It was a really, really difficult decision,”

But as you learn in life, my husband must go where the work and the money are. The fact that Liam (13), despite it being sad to leave, started school right away and made friends right away made it much easier for him to adjust to his new environment than it was for Emma (18), who relocated when she didn’t know anyone.

The Burchell family moved from the US to the UK and back again.The Burchell family moved from the US to the UK and back again.

The search was instantly limited to her old area of Ponte Vedra Beach since she wanted to enroll Liam in one of the best schools in the state. Burchell was at home remodeling and selling houses given her background in real estate.

Twenty house viewings happened in a flash, several of which lasted under a minute.

Burchell remarked, “I can take one look at a house and decide yes or no in less than 30 seconds.

“With any property, I start by inspecting the front before moving on to the backyard and even skipping the inside. I don’t even bother if I don’t like the backyard.

Love at first sight

But when Burchell stepped out onto the Sawgrass Players Club grounds, with its 1,900 properties and 16 neighborhoods spread across its 1,200 acres, there was no quick escape.

Burchell was immediately enamored by the “spectacular” setting of the community, which had waterways teeming with fish, turtles, and the occasional alligator, snaking around immaculately groomed greens, and herons and eagles soaring from the tops of tall pine trees.

The setting was an instant draw for Burchell.The setting was an instant draw for Burchell.

Burchell’s attention was now on Seven Mile Drive, the area at Sawgrass Players Club with the second-highest price range. As opposed to the opulent $2.5 to $3.5 million estate residences on Sawgrass Island, real estate costs on Seven Mile Drive range from $1.4 to $2.5 million, according to Burchell.

According to Burchell, prices are higher because of the area’s proximity to the seaside, which is just a five-minute drive away, and even the cheapest residences there start at $700,000.

Designers Pete Dye, Bobby Weed, and 1982 Players winner Jerry Pate created the Dye’s Valley Course, which is surrounded by more than 80% of the 117 Seven Mile Drive homes. Since its debut in 1987, it has hosted a number of professional competitions next to the TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course.

A host of properties border the fairways and greens of the Dye's Valley Course.A host of properties border the fairways and greens of the Dye’s Valley Course.

The Burchells made the decision to purchase a house situated next to the cart path in the center of the first fairway, a location that put their garden and swimming pool in the landing zones for about 10 balls per week. Burchell, though, saw it as a minor annoyance typical of living next to a golf course.

One arrogant golfer would occasionally wander into the Burchells’ property without asking first, provoking the fury of a rescue dog cautious of outsiders.

‘She’ll attack you,’ I said. She is not a sociable dog. Burchell laughed as he recalled.

“It’s only natural to expect balls in the garden. Some folks had their window broken… however, I’ve never heard anyone criticize it.

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