Welcome to the forum, I'm so glad you're giving yourself plenty of time to research, a puppy search is a fun project
! It's also smart to be an informed consumer.
I looked at the website you linked to, great that they do all 4 clearances. Heart should be done by a cardiologist and eyes need to be updated yearly. Be sure to ask to see the copies of clearances (or the OFA link) and never assume that they are telling you the truth (no matter who you buy the puppy from).
In the southeast you should be able to get a well bred golden puppy from a reputable breeder out of two parents with titles and all health clearances for $1200-$1500. Anything significantly more and I would seriously question what I am paying extra for.
Reputable hobby breeders put titles on dogs to show they are worthy of representing the breed and reproducing. Conformation titles for correct build and Competition titles like obedience, hunt, agility etc. to prove that the dog has correct golden temperament and is trainable. These are qualities you want in your puppy even if you never intend to show a day in his life. I want my dog to look and act like a golden. If I'm paying over a thousand dollars for a dog, these requirements are not negotiable. Tell me what the parents of the litter have done to warrant producing puppies. Titles in previous generations are great, but I want to know what the parents have done. Health clearances in previous generations are also critical.
I noticed they are listing all their dogs as International champions and going to International Dog Shows International Dog Show Calendar
is the site I found. I would ask a lot of questions about this. One of their dogs is from Skylon which is an extremely reputable kennel in Canada. I'm curious why none of the dogs have a Canadian Championship. I also notice none of the dogs has any AKC certificates or titles even thought the family says they enjoy showing in obedience. Just my 2 cents.
I looked at the contract and you need to read it carefully. " In the event of a confirmed genetic defect as listed above, a replacement puppy out of a comparable litter and of the same sex, will be offered to the buyer." You need to know this means that if your puppy needs hip replacements, they will not refund you part of the puppy price to help defray vet bills. We have people come to this forum all the time who sign puppy contracts and don't realize the implications of what they're signing. I don't want a replacement puppy if my beloved dog needs surgery, maybe a partial refund would help though.
This may be the perfect place to buy your lighter colored dog, but you will have to work extra hard on your due diligence. It's very easy to get taken advantage of when you're shopping for the extreme lightest color. If you haven't had a chance, you will want to read through all the 'stickies' on the Choosing a Breeder board. They are full of really good info. Best of luck!!