Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and that’s certainly true when it comes to individual golf course evaluations. Layouts with challenging greens complexes, risk-reward decisions and natural scenery, among other things, are often highly regarded, but there are emotional variables that sometimes come into play.
Here are three factors that might have impacted your experience on a given day that shouldn’t prevent you from returning to a course.
— For some players, it’s difficult to separate your score from the layout. You might be surprised at how many people say, “I can’t stand that course, I shot a 98 there,” or “I love that layout, I fired a 79 there last week.” We all have bad days and it’s rarely the course’s fault; the opposite is true of playing a great round. When you are playing poorly, it’s easy to exaggerate certain design characteristics you think might be unfairly impacting your play. Don’t be the person who defines a layout based on his or her score.
— I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard someone say or read a Facebook comment that says something to the effect of, “I wouldn’t play that course again, it took me 5 hours to finish yesterday.” Pace of play is absolutely frustrating but it doesn’t carry over to the next day. Every golf course in America periodically experiences slow play issues and it’s almost always about the people, not the course. None of us want to endure a long round, but it shouldn’t disqualify you from returning to a course.
— This one is a little trickier, but I’d warn against scratching a layout because you weren’t happy with the conditions on a single occasion. If there is one thing course superintendents wished players better understood, it’s this: it’s impossible for a property to be in great shape 12 months a year. Grass transitions, weather impacts turf health, and there are environmental factors people have no control over. Put another way, what you see at Augusta National isn’t real life (for that matter, did you know Augusta closes annually from May to October?). If you play a course that is struggling, be willing to give it another chance. Course conditions aren’t a permanent affliction. Some days and weeks are better than others, but on balance most Myrtle Beach golf courses can be counted on to be in good shape.
It’s disappointing if you play poorly, the round is slow or a course’s conditioning falls below your standards, but these aren’t things that should cause you to permanently cross a golf course off your list.