First and foremost, there are a few things which will influence your decision on which golf course you would like to play…
Location e.g. how far is it from those wanting to play and is it easy to reach
Do they offer good value and reasonable green fees
Is the course suitable for your game e.g. Do I need to be a single figures handicap to enjoy it
Does the club offer good food and catering facilities
Is the Course and Greens in good condition?
How were you welcomed and treated well
At last count, there were over 50 websites in the UK that provide some kind of golf course directory within their website. There are some that also offer handicap tracking, some that game arranging facilities and one which can help you find a golfs partner in your area. However, not all websites offer a review option, so try to find one that does…
In addition, in recent years, there has been a huge growth in a new phenomenon – The Online Golf Club – this is arguably a real sea change for the industry, as it begs the question… « Do we need golf clubs anymore? » The answer to that is of course we do, as golfers will always like to ‘compete’ but will traditional ‘Bricks & Mortar’ clubs, be replaced by ‘Virtual’ golfs clubs?
In the meantime, some of the best golf course guides available on the internet right now include:
The Social Golfer
UK Golf Guide
Golf Societies UK
The Golf Guide
Golf Course Guides
Of course, each and every website will provide its own unique way of presenting this data but ideally, you will look for a site that allows you to see up to date information and one that is maintained well by its staff and followers. That said, it key that you don’t expect too much, as it is a mammoth task to keep a directory with over 40K+ golfs course worldwide up to date.
With this in mind, here are a few key criteria by which we would judge the quality of a good golf course guide…
Does the golf guide cover all the courses in the UK and Abroad
Does it provides golf club contact information and telephone numbers
Does it provide location details including maps
Can you gather course and scorecard information
Does the guide provide golf course reviews, left by fellow golfers
Obviously, these are just some of the information that should be provided to you but a very good golf course guide would also provide you with an option to see images of the course – loaded up by users and webmasters.
I guess the real advantage to the nomadic golfer is that over time, this is taking the power away from the clubs and putting it back into the hands of the consumer. I predict that within the next ten years, the golfs industry as we know it will look vastly different to the one we see today. With most golf clubs being judged on how they treat visitors and guests and on how they are reviewed online – much the way the restaurant and travel business has become reliant on the likes of Trip Advisor.
Of course, there will always be the need for a golfs club to promote themselves commercially via attractive offers on membership, green fees etc but ultimately golf clubs will live and die by the golf course reviews they receive from visiting golfers and on the experience they receive while in the presence of the club staff and golf professionals.
Finally, as with most industries, whilst the numbers of golf course guides available is still growing, we believe in the long run, there will be three or four keys websites will win out.
Ian was Marketing Director of The London and Manchester Golf Show in 2012-2015; he has also worked with Crown Golf, The William Hunt Trilby Tour, The Altonwood Group and many other golf brands. Ian can be your best golf course guide.