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What Stops Golfers Wanting to Play a Golf Course Again

By: | Mon 12 Dec 2022

WE ALL know what makes a good golf course and a decent golf club. There are all sorts of reasons that we want to visit courses other than the ones of which we are members.

Sadly, you tell us that there are still many courses and clubs that you visit once and decide never to return.


There are a host of reasons, as we have seen left in reviews throughout the Golfshake Course Section, and many of them will come as no surprise to you. 

If you are being asked to fork out a green fee then it stands to reason that there are certain standards we all expect. But all too often we leave for home feeling disappointed with the experiences we have had.

Let’s look at some of the reasons we decide not to return…

Golf Course


They are happy to take your money but many of you complain about courses that suffer from a general lack of tender love and care, poor fairways, dreadful tees, litter, poor drainage and the way many seem to be neglected during the winter.

In this day and age, it should not be beyond the wit of man to ensure that divots are repaired on both fairways and tee, but you tell us that this is simply not the case at many of the courses you visit. 

We all accept that winter weather presents its own challenges but too many clubs still ask visitors to pay a full green fee, even though they may be faced with winter greens and rough and fairways that resemble bogs after heavy rainfall.

Poor Greens

Oh dear! This is the one we all hate. Golf is difficult enough with rolling up at a course, being asked to hand over your hard-earned cash and being faced with putting surfaces that resemble the face of the moon. What is worse than playing beautifully from tee to green and then getting to the short and prepared, hitting a six-foot putt and watching it bobble about all over the place, with little or no chance of finding the bottom of the cup?

Pace of Play

We all know that more people are playing the game since the pandemic finally came to an end. But the one thing most clubs have still failed to address is the pace of play. Five-hour rounds are still common-place, with little being done on the course to speed things along. There is also a perception among Golfshake subscribers that many clubs are still too focused on cramming as many people as possible on to their courses. Let’s be honest, no matter how good the course is, if it takes you five hours to play and you are hanging around waiting on every single shot, are you really likely to return?

Value For Money

This is one that really gets you going - and why wouldn’t it? You don’t mind handing over, say, £50 if you come off the 18th green and feel that you have played a course that is well-kept. But there are still too many clubs where the perception is that the only thing they are interested in is relieving you of your money. Time and again, many of us come off that final green feeling that we have been short-changed. With memberships increasing and coffers healthier than they have been for years, clubs should be looking to provide value for money. Too many seem intent on pricing visitors out of the market.


Many of you visit courses and tell us that you feel utterly underwhelmed by what you find. One of the most common complaints relates to a lack of signage between greens and tees. Clubs would do well to remember that the route from green to tee is not obvious. Some of you tell us that many of the courses you visit are boring, that they are too hilly. Others complain about members of the public wandering down fairways. And, perhaps worst of all, dog walkers who fail to clean up after their animals. There is NOTHING worse than walking up to your golf ball and find it nestling in a pile of dog poo!

Lack of Investment

This is all about poor course maintenance and clubhouses and changing areas that, all too often, feel tired and outdated. When you arrive at a course for the first time you want to see a team of greenkeepers using modern equipment and a clubhouse that is fresh and clean. Too many fail to achieve this and give the impression that they are operating on a shoestring budget.

Customer Service

When we visit a club for the first time we all want to feel welcome. Why on earth is that so many clubs make visitors feel like they are doing them a favour by allowing them to play? If you are paying a green fee you have every right to expect a warm welcome from the professional and a friendly atmosphere in the clubhouse. All too often you report that this couldn’t be further from the reality. 


In this day and age there really is absolutely no excuse for serving unappetising food and stale sandwiches. And why do so many clubs charge so much for their food? If they can get their menus and pricing right, visitors are likely to spend more time - and money - in the clubhouse. And so are their members.


This is a strange one. Many courses, especially those attached to hotels, depend on income from social events such as weddings to balance the books. But some visitors tell us that when they play at such courses they really don’t want to be mingling with people who aren’t there to play golf. 


No surprise that this features on your list of pet hates. You tell us that, far too often, bunkers are not raked. Worse than that is the huge number of courses that seem to fill their bunkers with builders’ sand, which sets like concrete during dry spells. And why, oh why, do so many bunkers appear to be full of stones and other assorted debris?

So there you go. You pay your green fee and you take your chances. We recommend that before you play a course for the first time that you take a detailed look at its website and check out online reviews. If the website is tired and outdated, the course probably will be too. If the course reviews are generally pretty negative, maybe you should be thinking about spending your money somewhere else.

What do you think? post your thoughts and feedback on the Golfshake Forum: https://forum.golfshake.com/

Tags: industry insider GOLFERS Golf daily picks

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