It’s tough, say you, to know where to golf to please everyone. Yet it is so important. There is something for everyone and for all budgets out there. And the criteria to consider to make a good choice are many. In this article, I am giving you the main criteria to take into account to facilitate your choice. Plus, you will find external links to better understand what it is all about.
1 – THE DIFFICULTY OF THE COURSE
The choice of the golf course is the first criterion that you must take into account to know where to golf. Why? The level of play of your golfing partners must match the level of difficulty of the course. Otherwise, you risk disappointing your partners. How do you define the level of difficulty of a golf course? Two numbers will help you answer this question: the rating (± 27 to 72) and the Slope (55 to 155).
The Rating or “Ranking”
The rating is the average number of shots played by professionals. In general, a standard golf course has 18 holes divided into four par 3, ten par 4 and four par 5, for a total of 72 shots. But, if the golf course is a 9-hole of par 3 exclusively, 27 shots will suffice to go around. This is the best choice for a beginner.
Between these two extremes, we find the so-called “executive” courses, with par 3 and 4 and without par 5. Here is a general rating of the courses in order of increasing difficulty:
- Par 3 of 9 holes: 27 shots
- Executive 9 holes: ± 30 shots
- Executive 18 holes: ± 60 shots
- Standard 18 holes: 72 shots
The Slope is the average number of shots played by amateurs with a handicap of 90 to 92, that is 18 to 20 shots over par for a standard course. This is called a “bogey” golfer, because such golfer plays on average a shot above par on every hole.
You may have already figured it out: The Slope system is the more reliable of the two for most of us, amateur golfers, to determine where to golf. This is a number from 55 to 155:
Easiest course: Slope 55
Moderately easy: Slope 113
Most difficult: Slope 155
Courses adapted to all levels of golfers
The Slope varies according to the tee markers. In general, the blue markers are the most remote and the red ones are the closest to the hole. In some golf clubs, there are up to seven tee markers, which allow all golfers to feel at ease, regardless of their level of play. In short, this amounts to having seven courses of various lengths in one single course. Therefore, all partners of a mismatched group of people or family members can play it easily.
But if you have chosen a course too long for your abilities, create a closer tee off by planting your tee on the fairway from 100, 150 or 200 yards from the center of the green. These distances are often marqued by red, white or blue blocks in the center of the fairway.
On the scorecard of the Club de golf St-Georges, we can see different tee markers with their color. Each tee marker has its own rating and Slope. For example, yellow markers have a rating of 65.9 and a Slope of 115, which is a medium difficulty. In contrast, gold tee markers have a rating of 72.6 and a Slope of 135, making it a difficult to play from them. Finally, between these two extremes, we find red, white and blue tee markers in order of increasing difficulty.
Also, in determining where to golf, ask yourself if the course is easy to walk. Finally, find out if there are too many obstacles for you, especially water hazards, out-of-bounds and bunkers.
2- THE TYPE OF GOLF CLUB AND ITS FACILITIES
As I told you in my introduction, golf clubs vary widely: private, semi-private, public. Some golf clubs only operate on tee times, while others apply the “first come, first served” rule.
Facilities and services
Does the course you are considering include the following facilities and services?
- Driving range and Practice Greens
- Equipment rental (golf set, hand carts, electric carts)
- Clubhouse with lockers and showers
- Restaurant and snack-bar in the middle of the round
These are all criteria to consider in determining where to play golf.
3 – OTHER IMPORTANT CRITERIA
Apart from the location and costs of your potential golf course, you may also want to consider other criteria, including:
- Playing time
- The presence of a marshal to enforce the playing time
- The presence of a golf academy to take golf lessons
Your final decision therefore depends on many factors. However, you will appreciate having taken the time to weigh the pros and cons before making your choice. Your golf experience can only be better.