Whether you’re new to golf or you’re an avid golfer who has recently moved to a new area, you might be looking for a place to play and wondering how to make the best decision. Depending on where you live, there’s a good chance that you have plenty of options. In fact, in some warm-weather locations, you might find five or six golf courses within a ten-minute drive from your house.
The most important thing to remember is that, no matter how seriously you take your golf game, it should be fun. Every day you spend on a golf course should be the most enjoyable experience you can make it. So, for example, if you’re a beginner or have only been playing for a short time, look for courses with wider fairways, fewer hazards and more even greens. On a difficult course, you’ll spend a lot of time searching for your ball in the woods. Or, even more frustrating, watching a putt that barely misses the cup just keep rolling and rolling… right off the green!
On the other hand, if you’re a skilled golfer who’s been playing for a long time, you’ll probably find an easy course too boring to really enjoy. Every time you play, you yearn for a challenge! To the skilled golfer, standing at the tee box looking down a narrow corridor of a fairway with dense woods on both sides presents a test of your skills and you want to win! (You beginners will get there someday with enough practice.)
So how do you figure all this out?
- It’s simple… Play! Ask a few golfers in your area which courses they like and do some online research. Then, get out there and try a few courses. Eventually, most players settle into one that they consider their “home course,” and the best way to figure out which one you enjoy the most is to play as many of them as you can.
- Look closely at the amenities. Most clubs treat their course like a rock star, as they should. They want the grounds to be as beautiful and enjoyable as possible and so do you. However, pay attention to details like the condition of the cart paths. In the excitement of playing a new course, it’s easy to overlook a bumpy ride in the golf cart, but will it make playing there less enjoyable when you’re bouncing along that path every week? Are the golf cars well maintained and operating smoothly? Does the pro shop have everything you need and can you get a decent bite to eat at the restaurant? Sometimes, the little things make a big difference.
- Talk to other players. While you’re playing, don’t be shy about talking to other players in the clubhouse. And while you can ask them what they like or don’t like about the course, it’s also important to ask yourself if you genuinely like the people there and enjoy their company. If you do, that’s probably a good indication that you’ll enjoy playing there.
- Location. Is the course easy to get to? As you drive from your home to a new course, pay attention to traffic. If you have to drive past a huge shopping area and you like to play on Saturdays, will it be a pain to get to, especially around the holidays? Is there a lot of construction along your route, or are any new construction projects planned? Again, it’s easy to overlook this on your first visit to a course, but if you deal with it repeatedly, it might wear on you.
So get out there and explore the golf courses. And, most of all, enjoy yourself! Eventually, you’ll figure out where you like to play the most!