Deercreek At Wyboo: Small-town appeal with world-class golf course

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The developers and sales team of a golf course development in Clarendon County are offering reasonably priced homes in a gated community surrounded by a world-class golf course. And there's another golf course right across the street.

Deercreek At Wyboo developers John and Nena Bruffey bought the land surrounding the Tom Jackson-designed Wyboo Golf Club in the mid-2000s just before the economy went south beginning in 2008. They banked on the area becoming a golf retreat destination with the adjoining Players Course at Wyboo literally across the street.

But the downed economy and the tragic death that took the life of the Players Course at Wyboo owner's son caused Tommy Wallace to shutter the golf course. New owners plan to reopen the course by the fall of 2017.

After waiting a decade for the economy to turn around and a new owner to take over the Players Course at Wyboo, the Bruffeys are launching a more aggressive building and sales campaign. That team includes former Summerton Mayor and Century 21 franchise owner Beth Hinson Phillips and former Clarendon County Chamber of Commerce executive Christina Darby.

Add to that the Litchfield Co. Real Estate Sales team, known more for selling golf course properties along the South Carolina coastal area, and the Bruffeys appear to have found the sweet spot of a rebounding housing development.

Deercreek At Wyboo represents a planned community with affordable craftsman-style homes built by local builder Johnny James' JMJ Homes Inc. starting in the $180,000 range. Current spec models under construction sport three bedrooms, at least two bathrooms, double-car garages and, of course, a golf-cart bay connected to the garage.

And while the current inventory hovers around the $200,000 price tag, Nena Bruffey said the company plans to let the market dictate future development. The homes under construction border the ninth fairway of Wyboo Golf Course. Two existing homes across the street line the 18th fairway.

Those four homes are in the Gregory Pointe subdivision of the development. Developers have platted the first 15 lots, and with two homes already occupied and two under construction, that leaves 11 available. Gregory Pointe subdivision will support as many as 50 homes.

Eventually, the entire Deercreek At Wyboo development will have as many as 400 homes, but John Bruffey said he'll let the market drive the density, square footage and price ranges of the homes.

Because the development has at least four potential entrances, John Bruffey said he can open different sections that might have different acreage sizes and price ranges.

"If there's a big market for more expensive homes, we may start in back with larger homes," he said.

And that could happen quickly if the marketing strategy works. Nena Bruffey said the group wants to market to young retirees in their early 50s and older who might be looking for second homes or downsizing to live in a community where they can enjoy golfing regularly at a respected golf course.

That's where the Litchfield Co. comes in. Royce King, a partner in The Litchfield Co. Real Estate sales company, has marketed golf course properties along the South Carolina coast for more than 23 years. He grew up in nearby Summerton, where his father owned a Stuckey's candy store on Interstate 95 at a Summerton exit in Clarendon County.

The Summerton High School and The Citadel graduate said after having successfully marketed golf course properties from the company's base in Pawleys Island, he purchased a second home on Lake Marion in Clarendon County. About two years ago, he stopped by Deercreek At Wyboo to introduce himself to the Bruffeys.

"I just fell in love with what they're doing there, and I thought I might be able to help them promote Clarendon County," he said.

He said his company studies demographics extensively. He said the baby boom generation is just beginning to take hold, and many in the age group Nena Bruffey mentioned will be looking to downsize because of an empty nest or purchase a second home where they can spend part of the year.

King said Deercreek At Wyboo is positioned well for people wanting to relocate to a less-crowded area and enjoy small-town life.

"It's a 'natch,'" he said, using an acronym for "natural."

He said new golf communities often start slowly but begin to catch on as the number of properties sold each year begins to double.

"It's an evolution, not a revolution," King said.

He pointed out that smart investors often buy at the beginning of that evolution when prices and demand are lower.

King signed The Litchfield Co. on as a sales and marketing firm. He plans to mine information from prospects and customers at other properties to offer Deercreek At Wyboo as an alternative.

King said 77 million people visit the Carolinas each year. Of those, he said more than 300,000 will relocate to the Carolinas each year. "Our job is to introduce our share of those people to Deercreek at Wyboo and the Wyboo community."

And with Clarendon County Airport and Lake Marion within walking distance of the development, the area should sell itself, especially to those tired of long commutes and getting stuck in traffic.

A decade after the Bruffeys purchased the property, John said experts point to Deercreek At Wyboo and tell him, "Deercreek At Wyboo is a place whose time has come."