It’s All about the amenities
Homeowners looking for golf, tennis, swimming—and more than ‘just a place to live’—find their Valhalla in a range of Teton-area developments
photography by david J swift
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People move to Jackson Hole for many reasons. In the past, a draw for many was the privacy; the remoteness of each home, the independence guaranteed by living in a pristine environment so different from a city or suburb. Today, quality of life—including access to the outdoors, and the astounding beauty of our area—still attracts residents. But now, unlike yesteryear, they have the option of choosing an amenities-rich development that provides convenience, recreational opportunities, and a sense of community.
Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis opened in 1965, primarily as a sporting resort seeking members who could pay to participate in its activities whether or not they lived on the grounds. The “country club” approach, modeled after such establishments found throughout the United States, was duplicated with the development of Teton Pines in 1987, Jackson’s first gated community.
Over the past decade, a number of developments have been created around the idea of owning a home that extends beyond membership in the club. Jackson Hole has seen the addition of 3 Creek Ranch and Shooting Star; in Teton Valley, Teton Springs and Huntsman Springs are both developed and operating (construction at River Rim, another amenities-based development in the northern part of Teton County, Idaho, has been put on hold).
Much more than simple subdivisions, these developments present activities that country clubs have historically offered—golf, tennis, swimming, summer camps for children, and exclusive dining opportunities. Members pay dues to belong, and they may or may not live within the development.
Increasingly, though, it is real estate (“location, location, location”), and the emphasis on residential life, that set these developments apart from traditional country clubs. Homeowners are drawn to these amenities-based communities not only for what they can do there, but also for the convenience, geographic benefits, and social atmosphere that play an integral part of the joint member-resident experience.
Some homeowners move to a development primarily because of one main attraction. For Dr. Maurice and Tammy Brown of Teton Valley, that initial draw was golf. The Browns, members at both Teton Springs and Huntsman Springs, own a home in Teton Springs and also one near Tetonia.
“My husband is an avidly obsessed golfer,” Tammy says. “We lived on a golf course in Montana before we moved to Teton Valley. Mo would get off work and golf until dark.”
An orthopedic surgeon at Teton Valley Hospital, Mo was raised in Sugar City, Idaho (about 40 miles northwest of Driggs), and “dreamed of returning to the Tetons,” his wife says. They moved back in 2007 with their son Sam, who is now seventeen and will be a senior at Teton High School in the fall.
“We fell in love with the idea of living in the trees next to the forest,” Tammy says, and they found that place in north Teton Valley. “But it didn’t take us too long to realize that we lived pretty far from work, school, socializing, and golf.”
In 2011, now with a two-year-old daughter as well, they purchased a Palisades condominium in Teton Springs.
Their original motive for purchasing—the golfing opportunities—was enhanced by the convenience of the location of their new home, like-minded neighbors they’ve become acquainted with, and the variety of things there are to do. And the Browns get a double shot of that lifestyle by belonging not only to Teton Springs, but to Huntsman Springs.
“I like people and activity,” Tammy says. “I like being in Teton Springs because there is always someone around and something going on. We love the social and golf aspects of both clubs, and we have amazing friends in both Teton Springs and Huntsman Springs.”
The Browns, who still own their home in Tetonia (and still relish “living in the trees,” if only part-time), also enjoy the flexibility that their condo in Teton Springs gives them, especially in the summer.
“Our son loves being closer to town and closer to go hang out with his friends,” Tammy says. “Our daughter has activities, preschool, and classes in Victor that are more convenient to get to. I love being in Victor … to be close to Music on Main, restaurants, and [easy access to] Jackson.”