Here are a few of my favorite things...
- A mix of holes. The early 1900s designers like the Foulis brothers usually planned for six easy, six medium and six really hard holes per 18. Doesn't need to be a pure 6-6-6, but some variety in difficulty and in length among the holes.
- A miminize on "killer" holes where only scratch golfers can score less than a double bogey. Many classic designers allowed you a bailout area on the tough holes so you can lay up short, and try to get an up and down.
- Decent tee boxes. If the course has well build and well maintained tee boxes, the rest of the course is in solid shape too.
- Women's tees that are actually build as tees. Don't spike a couple of red cubes in the short rough on a 20° downslope and claim it's a tee box.
- A practice range that's open. I don't plan to rebuild my game before the round. But, I like to warm up and hit two dozen full shots, just so I know how things are flying that day. I hate it when I haven't played in 10 days, I call ahead to a strange course that says yes, they have a practice range, and I show up the next day and find out the range is closed because (the mower broke, the ball boy quit, the sewer line ruptured and flooded the tee area, yada yada...)