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How Do I Review/Rate a Golf Course

When I started this website, I wanted to share my experiences on golf courses with others to save golfers from wasting afternoons on poor courses.  You should know if a course is worth your time and money.  I am not a big fan of the modern Yelp 5 star reviews since most 5 stars are not descriptive of the experience. Other flowery, wordy descriptions seemed to be journeys into a thesaurus and do not give a clear picture of the golfing experience.  I saw a need to break down a course by describing what I saw through the day.

Golf Course Rating and Ranking

I have a simple way of rating golf courses and it is all based on what I feel after the round is over:

  • I will come back.
  • I will come back if someone else pays.
  • I won’t come back.

It is a simple scale that I based off of YouTube movie reviewer Jeremy Jahns.  Jeremy has a no nonsense style of rating movies from awesometacular (his word) to dogsh!t.  In between, he uses whether alcohol is required to enjoy the movie or how soon the movie will be forgotten.  Here is how he defends his scale and its lack of solidity sometimes.

What Makes a Good Golf Course

To be competitive in the modern marketplace, a golf course needs to offer an enjoyable day.  That is al but that is a large order if a lot of little things don’t support it.  A good course can die by a thousand little cuts for dirty bathrooms, no drink cart service, devoted up tee boxes, no driving range, etc.  This is what I look at each time I play/review a golf course.  My personal list consists of the following items:

Golf Couse Condition

  • Condition of tees, fairways, and greens:  A shabby looking tee box is a bad sign for a course.  Aerated greens might be hard to play on one day but it shows the course management cares for the course.
  • Sand traps:  Can you chip out or are they mud even though it has not rained in days?
  • Green Undulation: Besides being a great Scramble word, undulation defines how tricky the putts are to read and what kind of crazy ride the ball will take getting to the hole.  Some days I do like a challenge but in the end a good green makes you look twice once in a while.

Practice Facilities:

  • Driving Range: Nothing starts the day off wrong is going to a golf course with no driving range.
  • Chipping/Bunker Range: Sand trap practice is important and it is surprising the  lack a practice bunkers or their poor condition.  A good practice bunker helps me start my round with confidence.

Golf Course Amenties

  • Restaurant/Drink Cart: Depending on time of day, it is nice to grab a bite at the turn.  Also, on a hot day, an approaching drink cart is a welcome rolling oasis.
  • Bathrooms: Bathrooms are indicators of quality of a course.  I don’t want to be magically transported to a rest stop on the turnpike.  I like golf courses that spend money to keep their bathrooms looking good.

Golf Course Scorecard

I started using a scorecard to help me remember details about the course once I got home.  The scorecard continues to evolve the more courses I review.  Some silly things are on there like rake quality but that can be a subtle indicator of course quality.  I include golf cart GPS because that is a gold standard for me.

Casual Golfers United Golf Course Scorecard
This is a sample of an actual golf course scorecard. Subject to change and update each time I play.

As I review courses, I modify and change my checklist.  Some items in the beginning no longer seem relevant.  I want to make sure I note what makes helps rate the course and describe the experience.  You should know what you are getting by my reviews.  I am not in sales for the course.  If I like it, you will know and why.

Golf Course Photos:

When I review a golf course, I take photos to feed this website.  A lot of photos.  Each hole is photographed from:

  • Tee box
  • Approach shot (2 for Par 5s)
  • Green view
  • Reverse from green toward tee box

Here is a sample of one hole (#3) from my White Clay Creek Review:

I also take shots of the clubhouse, driving range, putting green, bunkers, and any else that captures my eye.  These photos get sorted and used on this website as well as for my instagram account: @casualgolfersunited

What Makes a Good Course for You?

When you are asked about a golf course from a friend, what do you say?  What are the factors that make up your decision to recommend or not a golf course?


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