The golf course, in many areas of the country an anchoring staple of master planned communities, is showing up less and less in the Houston metro area, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Golf courses are mostly absent from new developments, with the land used for features like lazy rivers, recreation centers with different kinds of swimming pools and rooms for fitness classes, tennis complexes and sports fields of all sorts. Lifestyle directors are on staff to make sure residents take advantage of activities and facilities.

Jim Jenkins, a veteran developer who co-founded Newland Communities, says fitness facilities have gotten larger and more elaborate since the first one he did in Summerwood nearly 20 years ago.

"We have a much larger focus on fitness," Jenkins said. "Within the amenities centers we tend to have more lazy rivers, separate lap pools from the main pools. It is much more of a resort feel than previously. No more can you get by with a swimming pool and a bath house."

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