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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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The grass is always greener

Cheryl-Anne Millsap

Most prospective homeowners take a wish-list with them when they shop for a new home.

Some want a swimming pool; others want a porch wide enough for a swing. And, then there are those who want a backyard big enough for a whole lot of swinging. They want to live on the golf course.

When Dana and Adam Hilpert moved their family to Washington from Oregon, they left behind a membership at the local golf club. After deciding to move to the Liberty Lake area, the family rented an apartment while they searched for the perfect house. Their list was short: They wanted a house situated on a cul-de-sac, plenty of room for three kids, and they wanted to live on the golf course. They got it all.

Their roomy, two-story home backs right up to the 8th hole on the Liberty Lake course.

Now, evenings are spent on the deck, or in the brand-new pool, custom designed to fit their triangular lot, as golfers play through.

When Don and Kathy Hanlon retired and moved to Spokane from Walla Walla, Washington, they had their own list.

Empty nesters with two grown daughters, the Hanlons were ready to retire, and downsize to a smaller house; something with less upkeep and maintenance. They, too, wanted to live on a quiet street and like the Hilperts, they wanted a golf course in the back yard.

They found their perfect spot at the north end of Spokane County, in the small town of Deer Park.

The couple planned to move north to be nearer family members. They investigated area golf courses, but after driving through the Mountain View Meadows development surrounding the Deer Park Golf Course, Hanlon decided that it would be the perfect place to move.

“Don came home one day and announced, ‘I know where I want to live,” Kathy Hanlon said. “And when I saw it, I knew he was right.”

Working with a builder, the couple selected plans for a compact, well-designed, home that suited their specific needs. They moved into their 1,700 square foot, one level home at Christmas in 1999.

The interior is decorated in serene neutral colors. Wide, plush sofas, upholstered in taupe ultra-suede, flank the fireplace. The kitchen is open to the rest of the house.

Golf prints and rustic copper pots decorate the rooms. As an accent piece for the coffee table, Don Hanlon filled a large bowl full of golf balls, and tees painted in metallic tones.

Large windows in every room offer expansive views of the golf course and surrounding mountains.

The couple expanded the original deck at the rear of the house to include a Jacuzzi, and added a cedar sunroom just off the master bedroom.

Don Hanlon, a former teacher, is also an artist. The soothing sound of water comes from the large free-standing fountain he built, using copper pipes and a flat stone suspended from the copper tubing.

A low rail, with more copper tubing fitted into posts, runs around the edge of the deck.

Because their lot is situated at a curve in the adjoining golf course, they are not bothered by players as they pass.

“It is amazingly quiet here,” Kathy Hanlon said. “We can wave and say hello, but we aren’t disturbed.”

Both Don and Kathy Hanlon are avid golfers and find it’s a good way to spend time as a couple. “When the kids grow up, you need something to do together,” Kathy Hanlon said. “We have always loved to golf, and now that our family is grown, it’s how we spend time with each other.”

The Hilpert home is much closer to the green, and that suits the family. Seated on the covered deck that runs the length of the rear of their home, they are only a stone’s throw from the players.

“It’s fun,” Dana Hilpert said. “The other day we saw a hole-in-one.”

Golf is a family activity. The Hilpert children, Madison, 13; Scotty, 10; and Drake, 9, have all had golf lessons. Scotty is the future pro. “Yeah, I like golf,” he said. “I like it a lot.”

He spends afternoons on the course, and occasionally retrieves balls from the pond for a little spending money.

Little sister Drake is the entrepreneur. Her Kool-Aid stand, placed strategically at the corner of her house and near the paved path that snakes through the course, has been a moneymaker on hot days. “She’s made enough to buy a hamster and a cage,” Dana Hilpert said.

Both households, the Hilperts and the Hanlons, are happy with the choice to live on a golf course. Their needs were different, but each managed to find a spot that suited those needs.

“When I come home in the afternoon, I like everything about it,” Don Hanlon said. “It’s beautiful here all year long.”

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