At the risk of being critical…

Much has been written about what makes a golf course great. Acknowledging the subjectivity of that question, allow me to invert the argument and ask what makes a golf course bad? Perhaps not ‘bad’, I don’t think that is necessarily fair, more specifically what are the factors that detract from a course being great? I’m sure many of us who have played this game for some time have fond memories of the old and tired muni or a ‘goat track’ where we played many rounds, often as a junior. If we’re being critical, that’s easy. But what about the factors that differentiate a good course from being great?

Course reviews on this blog identify the following headings: aura, value, course condition, and overall experience. I seek to discuss important factors like layout, practice facilities and the staff and member/player vibe (are they friendly and welcoming?). They are intended to provide a reader with a good sense of the course and help inform decisions on playing there, but more importantly, to manage expectations if and when they do play.

As I look back, one challenge to date has been my ability to provide honest, constructive criticism of a course or any of the areas of which I review. I am going to make a better effort to provide clear and honest critical feedback on the courses I’ve played. And while I acknowledge this is a challenge for someone who is a chronic glass-half-full guy I want to embrace the responsibility I have set for myself with this blog to provide honest, experiential and constructive feedback. It is easy to write about how great a course is. I could write a book about Cape Breton golf courses (the ones I’ve played anyway). Over the year I feel I will take a pass at an Eagles Nest 2.0 review; a course I liked but did not love and will unpack with a critical pen. Finding a respectfully critical voice is an exercise I look to embrace in 2015. And while I am at it, I should consider a Grand Niagara 2.0 article. The more I play that course the more I like it. I look forward to sharing why on both accounts.

Don’t expect a wholesale change to my writing style. I am not going to become an angry golf curmudgeon but I would like to explore a more critical voice and by doing so I feel I will be able to make a more meaningful (albeit modest) contribution to public golf in Canada.

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2 thoughts on “At the risk of being critical…

  1. Mike

    Certainly nothing wrong with being critical if it’s warranted. My approach is that when I do criticize, I try and keep it constructive. Like you mentioned, when you a play a course several times you may start to see it differently as well. All we can do as writers is try and be as honest as possible to convey our thoughts and experiences, whether it’s a course we played once, or an old favorite. Good luck!

    Cheers
    Josh

    • Agreed, Josh
      But I contend (from experience) it is easier to write about what is positive and more challenging to share a constructively critical point. I appreciate the encouragement and hope the emergence of an honest, critical voice creates balance and more enjoyment for readers.
      PS – love the pics from your trip, the courses look outstanding!
      Thanks, Mike

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