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haidenbaker

How Would You Rate A Course...

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A few months back I played a round in Tasmania, Australia at Barnbougle Dunes. The course is so aesthetically captivating but yet very unforgiving. I'm not a top golfer by any means and do swing a few balls wide now and again... so as you can imaging my score was a little higher than I am normally used to. So in one hand the course was so nice but the other hand it was not a course I could shoot my best score on.

After getting back home to the Gold Coast and having a few rounds on my usual courses I felt quite the reverse of the experience in Tasmania. I was shooting much better scores but the courses that I was playing were no where near as 'nice'.

The other feature that always comes to mind is the green fee's. I think Barnbougle Dunes was like 3 times the costs of the courses I play at home...!

Now if I eliminated the green fees from the equation I think I would sacrifice the good scores and in turn lose a few more balls to regularly play at Barnbougle but if I incorporate the x3 green fees, I would definitely be more inclined to stay at home.

I guess what I'm trying to get at by the above is how would you rate a course? As in what aspects would you use to give it an overall ranking or define the appropriate course for 1) the social golfer 2) the seasoned golfer and 3) the pro... or something similar.

Here is a few that I have mentioned above that we should be able to add onto:

1) Green Fees

2) Aesthetics (aww factor)

3) Difficulty, which could probably be broken down further like:

  • Layout, length, water
  • Unforgiving-ness...
  • Undulation / Flatness of greens and fairways

P.S. This is what we were doing for ‘some’ of the day at Barnbougle haha…

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Nice topic..  I and friends have discussed many times what is important to a course rating..  So many of my friends are into aesthetics and view.. For them that is the number 1 voting category, "how does the course look".. I on the other hand to do rate a course based on what it looks like from the camera view.. I'm a semi pro photographer and know all about pictures and beauty, but eye candy courses are lower on my grade scale.. If I was a golf course critic, this is how my ratings would go:

  • Conditions of the course (35%)
  • Conditions of the clubhouse (30%)
  • Layout of the course (20%)
  • Amenities & Aesthetics (15%)

Conditions would naturally be well kept greens, minimal weeds in fairways, manageable rough, trimmed bunkers with ample sand or water..  I look for a clubhouse to have some sort of refreshment area with seating, pro-shop, clean bathrooms and maybe a bulletin board area for announcements.. When looking at layout, I'm looking at playability.. Are the holes penal? target golf? Do they allow multiple types of play and does it offer a variety of holes such as doglegs left and right, slopes and whatnots.. The last section of amenities is where I place beauty of a course along with perks like gps carts, refreshment cart, bag drop-off.. etc etc..

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ThominOH, great points and summary. There is a fair few things that I didn't even touch on and I'm glad you brought them up like condition and maintenance of the course which I also believe is a major item. Quite often the courses with great aesthetics are the ones that are well maintained will the higher green fees etc. Clubhouse and facilities is also something that I would look highly upon. But as I said, great points raised and thanks for your input. I will be interested to see what items other people will highlight!
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For me it's almost 100% maintenance. If the fairways resemble a drought-stricken residential lawn, I could care less if there are rainbows shooting out of volcanoes and pterodactyl sized bald eagles soaring next to my ball while it's in flight.
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Nice topic, thanks.

Keeping just to the course itself, what I like is:

  1. Well kept greens and fairways.
  2. Challenging holes based on risk/reward opportunities and not just length (i.e. a 230 par 3).
  3. Some areas for errant shots where the ball can be found quickly or definitely determined to be lost (eliminate long times for ball searching).
  4. Example of the above would be wooded areas between holes where the ground is cleared of brush and leaves.  You still have to punch out, but don't need 5 minutes to find your ball.
  5. Nice tee markers that show the hole layout in distances (granite ones are my favorite).
  6. Tee boxes with nice turf.
  7. Consistent sand in all the traps.
  8. Greens with optical illusions that trick your eyes on the break.
  9. Hole layouts that don't just favor a draw or fade, but require both.
  10. No holes that give you a penalty for a good shot.  (i.e. you hit the middle of the fairway with your drive but the ball rolls off the course into the woods due to the side slope and no rough).

Club house should be clean and staff friendly and polite.

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Four criteria, equally weighted:

1. Course layout.  Are the holes fun/challenging, require varied shot selection, good use of terrain features, hazards, elevation changes, etc.

2. Course conditions.  Are the greens smooth/fast, consistent rough, maintained bunkers, tight fairways with good grass.

3. Facilities.  Range, practice green, clubhouse, grill room, locker room, etc.

4. Cart girl.  This one is self explanatory.

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Awards, Achievements, and Accolades

Originally Posted by k-troop

Four criteria, equally weighted:

1. Course layout.  Are the holes fun/challenging, require varied shot selection, good use of terrain features, hazards, elevation changes, etc.

2. Course conditions.  Are the greens smooth/fast, consistent rough, maintained bunkers, tight fairways with good grass.

3. Facilities.  Range, practice green, clubhouse, grill room, locker room, etc.

4. Cart girl.  This one is self explanatory.

k-troop, great criteria... especially no. 4 haha

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Rating a course is a bit like sitting in a bar with three buddies on ladies night and trying to agree on which is the prettiest lady. I think from a Pro golfer you will get a better answer, the reason is it won't come down to how well he plays the course as a factor, it will be how well he competes against a field of players on that course because score is a relative thing. In the case of a weekend player he will factor in the type of shots he can hit. If it's windy, he won't like the course unless he can hit a low shot into the wind or a high shot with the wind. If a person is a bit wild with the driver he won't like narrow fairways with a lot of out of bounds. If a guy is good at getting out of trouble he's not going to like three inch tall grass with lots of trees.

So if you come up to me and tell me a certain course is great, I'm going to want to know a little bit about your game which will help me figure out what factors are going to influence you more.

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Depends on the criteria for rating. Been privileged to have been member of GD panel for more than a quarter century and the criteria have changed slightly over that time. They list them in the magazine. I won't try to explain them, but they are intended to mix a number of factors to rate the top courses. Clearly not meant to simply have pro golfers say what they like or play best. However, even with criteria and scoring instructions, there is some subjectivity. It does make for good discussions over a beer.
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