To me, a good golf course is one that forces/rewards a player for being able to hit lots of different LENGTH shots. Put another way, I have a lot more respect for a course when I have played a round using ALL THE CLUBS IN MY BAG, rather than a course where I mostly used just a few.
This is from the Merion thread-
Because that's what a US Open is. It goes back to when breaking par was a milestone, not something every player can do. I agree that the USGA walks a fine line between unfair and fair. I think Merion was very fair. If you hit good shots tee to green, you had opportunities, Phil had a ton. I think hitting driver on a par 3 is nuts, that is the only hole really were i didn't like the USGA set up. I think if you make it 230ish, force them to hit a long iron or hybrid, then that would make it a challenge, and reward a player with a good shot. For me, hitting driver on a par 3 is hoping for something good to happen instead of actually letting players achieve a good shot.
While a 260 yard hole is hard to fairly label a par 3 or a par 4, am not so fixated on the par of a hole and think it can be a good hole as long it is a fair par 3.5. Give the player choices and risk reward alternatives and mixing up the length of holes seems like a good thing to me. With some guys so long off the tee, the only way to get them hitting long irons into greens is with holes in the 200-250 range. A course that never rewards/encourages players to hit drivers off the tee also seems like a bad design.
While natural environment, wind, dog legs, uphill/downhill etc play a factor, I would prefer to see a course that looks something like
Placing hazards, etc different lengths off the tee also seems like a good idea rather than always having the trouble a certain length off the tee. This is why some courses have to be redesigned because a guy like John Daly comes along and blasts it over all the trouble on every hole (like he did when he won the PGA).
Forced layups are another way to create different length approach shots although I don't like it when too many of the par 5s have forced lay ups that make it impractical to hit driver.
What is good golf course design to you?