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Why do resort courses get a bad rap?


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I've been reading this forum now for a while - reading much more than I've been posting I'm afraid, but I've noticed that 'resort courses' seem to be looked down upon by some of the golfing community. Can someone explain to me why this might be? And, moreso, is it justified?

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I can only imagine it's due to the rates. Most of the resort courses I've played have been very nice with outstanding conditioning.

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I think there is a perception that resort courses, in order to attract guests, often have more style than substance. Or sometimes not even much style, just an architect's name.

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I don't like resorts because they are usually carts only, overpriced and the environment is very corporate, uptight. And believe it or not, I've run into slow play issues.

Usually. Not saying all of them are this way.

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How do you think the corporate aspect affects it? I'm not sure what you mean by that.

Overpriced, maybe.

@Beisenhaur - Are you saying that many of the resort courses are more 'spectacular' than well-designed?

What about places like Pebble Beach?

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There's always an exception to the rule... But- on the whole "Resort Courses" are designed to be just that. Easy enough for a vacationing novice to enjoy ideal conditions if not terribly difficult ones. Many fairways are wider than they are long, it seems. Nobody wants to go on vacation and need to bring 4 dozen balls. They might advertise "Championship" caliber, but that's just because they have room for tees over 7200 yards, and they keep the place looking like a country club. They go for the scenery and the treatment they might get. I certainly don't mind being able to pound a driver with little risk if I go 10-15 yds either side of a fairway. There is 'usually' not a lot of risk/reward type of holes and they are fairly straight forward. What would you rather say to your buddies when you come back home? "Hey I shot a 79 at such and such resort and was treated like a king!", or "Man, that place beat me up- I shot a 102 and lost 9 balls" (Granted, at someplace like Pebble, the latter might be a badge of honor).
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Originally Posted by RayG

There's always an exception to the rule... But- on the whole "Resort Courses" are designed to be just that. Easy enough for a vacationing novice to enjoy ideal conditions if not terribly difficult ones. Many fairways are wider than they are long, it seems. Nobody wants to go on vacation and need to bring 4 dozen balls. They might advertise "Championship" caliber, but that's just because they have room for tees over 7200 yards, and they keep the place looking like a country club. They go for the scenery and the treatment they might get. I certainly don't mind being able to pound a driver with little risk if I go 10-15 yds either side of a fairway. There is 'usually' not a lot of risk/reward type of holes and they are fairly straight forward. What would you rather say to your buddies when you come back home? "Hey I shot a 79 at such and such resort and was treated like a king!", or "Man, that place beat me up- I shot a 102 and lost 9 balls" (Granted, at someplace like Pebble, the latter might be a badge of honor).


I don't know where you live but in Michigan this is definitely not the case. The resorts we have here like Boyne, Shanty Creek, Lakewood Shores, Bay Harbor, Garland and Treetops have challenging courses on nice land. They are destination courses for sure.

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Originally Posted by MSchott

I don't know where you live but in Michigan this is definitely not the case. The resorts we have here like Boyne, Shanty Creek, Lakewood Shores, Bay Harbor, Garland and Treetops have challenging courses on nice land. They are destination courses for sure.

I've played all of these courses, love Northern Michigan golf... Nothing like it!

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Originally Posted by RayG

...on the whole "Resort Courses" are designed to be just that. Easy enough for a vacationing novice to enjoy ideal conditions if not terribly difficult ones. Many fairways are wider than they are long, it seems. Nobody wants to go on vacation and need to bring 4 dozen balls. They might advertise "Championship" caliber, but that's just because they have room for tees over 7200 yards, and they keep the place looking like a country club. They go for the scenery and the treatment they might get. I certainly don't mind being able to pound a driver with little risk if I go 10-15 yds either side of a fairway. There is 'usually' not a lot of risk/reward type of holes and they are fairly straight forward. What would you rather say to your buddies when you come back home? "Hey I shot a 79 at such and such resort and was treated like a king!", or "Man, that place beat me up- I shot a 102 and lost 9 balls" (Granted, at someplace like Pebble, the latter might be a badge of honor).

What resorts you are talking about?  What you say doesn't describe any golf resort I've been to and I've been to many. Bandon, the Broadmoor, Pebble, Pinehurst, Kiawah, Kohler, Bay Hill, Disney, Reunion, Mission Inn, Greenbrier, PGA , Innisbrook, Shingle Creek, Reynolds Plantation, Barefoot, the Sagamore, The Wynn, and all the places in Northern Michigan that a previous poster mentioned.  I can't think of one that jibes with your decription.  How can you say resort courses do  "not (have) a lot of risk reward holes... are straight forward"?  The courses at these resorts are a lot more than "scenery and treatment." They are solid golf courses that are a challenge to anyone from the correct set of tees.

Every course should be designed in a way that a novice can play and a scratch golfer can play. That is not the mark of a resort course. That is a mark of a well designed course. A course that beats you up when you are playing well is not a good course. It is just a difficult course. Those can be found in every category from privates to munis to resorts in equal measure. (e.g. TPC Sawgrass, Stadium Course. That's a resort course that  will beat you up.)

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Undoubtedly the first reason is usually price....they tend to be expensive and the second is that many of these resorts like to brag about having "Championship" level course design -which translates into frustratingly long and difficult for the average amateur golfer...expensive and frustrating makes for a long day indeed...and not how one usually wants to spend their recreational time...

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There needs to be a distinction between resorts where the golf is the key feature like Pinehurst and family resorts like Villa Roma.

The bum rap is more towards the golf courses at the family resorts. Expensive for what you get, a lot of players who don’t play very often, always must take a cart, etc.

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I think it's more to do with a lot of them not reflecting the original landscape, like the world's best courses.

They bulldoze the fairways so they are relatively smooth and pile up the earth on either side, so that they look totally artificial.

They consequently have an air of "sameness" about them.

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This thread is idiotic. Other than expense, none of the criticism's mentioned are any more applicable to resort courses as a category than they are to any other category of courses, be it munis, daily fees. residential  or privates

Quote:

Originally potsed by stogies &bogies;:

"many of these resorts like to brag about having "Championship" level course design -which translates into frustratingly long and difficult for the average amateur golfer..."

Many non-resort daily fee courses make the same claims. "Long and  difficult" is not any more prevelant with respect to resort courses than it is at any other type of course. "Difficult"  is the opposite of what Ray G was saying was the problem with resorts. His complaint was that resort courses are "easy enough for a vacationing novice"  and therefore not challenging for regualr golfers because  they have fairways that are too wide and designs that are not challenging. In fact neither claim is true. resort courses are neither too difficult nor too easy. Most resprt courses have multiple sets of tees. If anyone chooses to play from 7,000 + yards and feels like it was "frustartiungly long and difficult" that is the problem with the golfer, not the course.  The anser is to play from the correct set of tees. If you do that almost every resort course will offer a fun day of golf that is neither too difficult nor too easy.

Quote:

originally posted by Jersey Thursday

...family resorts like Villa Roma....The bum rap is more towards the golf courses at the family resorts. Expensive for what you get, a lot of players who don’t play very often, always must take a cart, etc.

I've played Villa Roma several times, although not recently. It is a mediocre course for a mid-level green fee. Not sure what the complaint is regarding "family rsorts".  Disney, Reunion, Hershey, Woodloch Pines etc are all family resorts with very good golf courses where everyone takes a cart and you find all ranges of golfers, including those that do not play very often. I find all of  those kinds of golfers at my local muni just as often. Again, I can see the "expensive" issue, but other than that I don't see family resorts or any other type of resort courses as a group  to be significantly different from golf courses generally

Quote:

originally posted by Shorty

I think it's more to do with a lot of them not reflecting the original landscape, like the world's best courses.

They bulldoze the fairways so they are relatively smooth and pile up the earth on either side, so that they look totally artificial.

They consequently have an air of "sameness" about them.

What??  Which resorts are you talking about?  As with the other criticisms, this is no more applicable to resort courses than it is to any other type of course. What you describe can be said for every TPC course, most of which are not part of any resort.  Private courses and daily fee courses bulldoze as much  or more earth as any rsort course I've played. Trump National,  Shadow Creek, just about any Fazio course and thousands of other non-resort courses look artifical. That has nothing to do with being or not being a resort course. It has to do with being built between 1960 and 2000 when moving dirt and adding lakes, waterfallls and mounds was the mode. The best courses in the world include resort courses; Bandon, Pinehurst and others. In adition there are resorts like the Sagamore, Balsams, Greenrier etc which are all great classic resorts with some of the best courses in the US that are as natural as can be,  Your criticism has to do with Classic and minimalist design on the one hand, versus the post WWII era design philosophy that resulted in non-natural looking layouts because of the use of modern earth moving technology. That has no greater correlation with resort courses than any other category.

originally posted by Dialit

I've noticed that 'resort courses' seem to be looked down upon by some of the golfing community. Can someone explain to me why this might be? And, moreso, is it justified?ote:

The answer is that those who look down on resoirt courses don't know what they are talking about. The criticsms (other than expense) are not justified. You will find resort courses that are easy and that are difficult. Almost all will be fair if you play rom the right set of tees. You will find resorts that are snobby and that are welcoming. You will find resorts that have natural layouts and that have artificial layouts,  Most resorts acomodate novice golfers and scratch golfers (a few focus mostly on golf addicts (e.g. Bandon). The charecteristics of resort courses as a category are pretty much the same as you will at any other type of course (as a category) that is open to the public. As far as the "expensive" criticsm, don't people expect to pay more for entertaimnment when they are on vacation? I pay more at Disney to ride the rides than I do at my local fair or amusement park.

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Did anyone see the proviso I started with? That there always exceptions to the rule? The phrase "Resort Course" has always meant a course that was not exactly designed to be a torture test. BUT- in recent years, places like Bandon Dunes, etc..have opened up with exceptional courses that might make a few novices think twice about getting out there. Sure, some of the courses have tees backing up to 7000+ yds, but they're no harder from there than the whites IF you happen to be able to pound a 300 yd drive every time, the fairways are STILL 100 yds wide with little trouble, and approaches are rarely terribly difficult. The upscale Golf Resorts have kind of changed the connotation of "Resort Course" and have developed into world class venues. But I still believe that the term DOES have it's roots back when they were built for the casual golfer who didn't want a difficult track while on vacation. I used to cringe when I was going someplace and I would see the "Resort Course" label in the description of a course in the area, because it meant it was: A - a short 'sporty' target style that meant irons and 3 woods off the tee, or B - a wide open bomber friendly course with little character. The OP asked why that particular phrase has it's negative connotations for many people- and I gave my opinion on why that might be.
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Two problems with resort courses:

  • If the resort is struggling financially, the course and the hotel room may be less than the advertisements promise.
  • RCs have a reputation for, as beisenhauer says, pushing style over substance. Fairway bunkers only threatened by 300 yard drives, greenside bunkers with floors only a foot below the green's surface, creeks 80 yards out from the teebox. I've seen examples of "style over substance," but I've also seen resort courses that were well designed and challenging without being impossible. "Style over substance" kept getting repeated by certain tour pros turned course designer, but the mantra is not a cosmic truth.
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