I’m against the entire premise. The idea that you can play a golf course for the first time, and then have an opinion of whether its a good course. People do it every day. The internet is full of one time plays, and filthy bad reviews. How do people who know nothing about golf design suddenly have a valid opinion of what a course isn’t. Let’s dive deeper.
Its a Good Course, Mistake 1
The number one misguided criteria of whether its a good course is….what you shot? Have the round of your life, yeah that’s a good course. Loose a dozen balls, that’s most definitely a bad course. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but no matter how good your score, no matter how many donations you make to the lakes, your score doesn’t tell me shit about whether I’d like to play there or not.
Its a Good Course, Mistake 2
The second misguided criteria is spending the day on a strategic golf course completely out of position, and then saying the course sucks. The awesome thing about strategy is that there is an optimal angle of attack, and there is angles where: “you’re dead”. Just because you spent the day touring the “you’re dead” locations, doesn’t mean you played a poorly designed course. You just played poorly. Should you return tomorrow, and the next day, and maybe even the next day, surely you can’t put your ball in all the same bad locations. Is it possible that after multiple plays, you might actually be able to offer a fair critique? Maybe you’d even say that there are lots of thrilling decisions to be made. If you’ve played a place once, say nothing.
Now I’m not going to say that every course has fun strategic attributes. There are a lot of really boring places to play. Sadly, on courses like that, there is actually nothing to see. The hole is just as boring approaching from the left, as you found playing from the right. You get to repeat that process, 17 more times. I’m sorry. Should you run home and crank out a review? Please don’t, there is nothing to debate.
Its a Good Course, Not
How did we get such boring golf? In many cases, the developer was scared shitless of you. Terrified you might NOT return, terrified you might tell others not to play, they often neuter the character or the quirk right out of a golf course. Keep it obvious, keep it level, keep it simple, keep it easy is the construction mantra. In the end, the developer got exactly what he wanted. You leave and say nothing to bash the course, but you don’t offer any enlightenment either. You simply forget.
When it comes to courses in the Valley, Golf Course Owner Guy has one that is bolder. Sometimes it gets tough feedback, but it also gets incredible praise. Whether you like it or hate it…it leaves an impression. Impressions are the fuel of debate, and debate means its a compelling course. Think of a great painting, it’s great because no one can agree on what it’s saying. The debate continues….