What Makes a Good Golf Course?


We are avid golfers and have been traveling this winter playing different courses. Some courses we enjoy and others are not much fun to play.

We read your column regularly and wondered what your thoughts were on what makes a good golf course?

Bob and Diane, MA


Bob and Diane,

We appreciate your loyal following and hope that we have been able to help you enjoy your game through some of our Putting Tips and Q&A’s.

First off, we have to understand why we play the game of golf.

I believe that the attraction of the game of golf over the last 500 plus years is not in the trappings but in the fact that it allows us to satisfy a subconscious urge to evaluate ourselves.

There are some wonderful by-products such as playing with our friends, getting exercise and being outdoors in a wonderful environment etc. These by-products are available elsewhere but we choose to attach them to the very personal challenge that golf presents.

In light of the above, I believe a good golf course is one which is memorable, is an appropriate challenge and while coming up the 18th fairway you wish that you could play another 9 holes rather than breathing a sigh of relief that it is all over after 5 hours.

Please share your comments with us below: what do you believe makes a good golf course?


26 thoughts on “What Makes a Good Golf Course?

  1. agreed. Every shot one plays is completely dependent on the player whether played on an icon course or an unknown track!

  2. The verbage describing golf is “PLAY GOLF” which implies having fun. On some of these “championship golf courses” it becomes work golf and all the fun is taken out of the game. Being a senior and when I go to play with some of the young bucks around, they will say lets play the tips and see all the golf course. My reply is “take a look at it as we drive by and go to the tees where we can “PLAY GOLF” and have some fun.

    • Exactly, I also play with different levels and egos of golfers. I simply let them know on the 1st tee which tees I will be playing and if they are playing from tees further back, I inform them that I will wait for them to play first as I do not wish to be in front of their efforts.

      • This is my feeling also. I have long past the ego thing and realize that I am there for fun. I have no desire to prove anything.

  3. Forced carries over unplayable areas (especially over water) should never be on a course not intended for tour pros, exception being made for bunkers. If you are just a glutton for punishment find a course with water on every hole, play the “championship” tees and hope they have let the rough get knee deep and figure out a way to own the ball concession. A player should be able to recover and make one over his normal score form virtually any place on the course if he plays his normal game. Bogies should be relatively easy for a five to fifteen handicapper and pars should require keeping shots in play from tee to green or make a good recovery. Birdies should be available but require all skill levels to make at least two good shots on the hole.

  4. Most public courses have a few “stupid holes” on them. A stupid hole is one that looks like the designer was running out of real estate and stuck a golf hole in an unlikely spot just to finish the course.There is usually single family home real estate development all around the course. Most could be fixed by moving tee boxes or greens but were not. A good course has one or less stupid holes.

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