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How Do Golfers Choose The Courses They Play?

By: | Wed 03 Jul 2024

AS GOLFERS, we are spoilt for choice. No matter where in the country we live, there are going to be plenty of golf courses within striking distance - and many others vying for our custom for overnight stays.

We know you care about the places you visits as our most recent survey highlighted that over 81% of golfers will research new golf courses before playing and over 73% will read golf course reviews online. 

But with 1,000s of golf courses available, how on earth do we choose the ones that we want to play? 

Funny you should ask that because, surprise, surprise, I have a few ideas that you may want to consider.

Sheringham Golf

Word of mouth

If people keep telling you that a golf course is worth playing then there is a good reason - it is a course worth playing. Clubhouse chatter is an invaluable way of finding out which courses and clubs are worth a visit - and which ones should be avoided at all costs. Speak to fellow golfers and ask them which courses they recommend - and why. Get an idea in advance of what the course is like and how much a tree fee is going to cost you.

Social media

Any club worth its salt will now, at the very least, have an X account. I follow lots of clubs on X and it has turned out to be an important tool. The most savvy ones will regularly update followers on things such as course conditions and special offers - and the feedback from those who have played those courses is also worth a read.

Internet search

If you are planning a round of golf within a specific county, try an internet search. It will list all the courses. You can visit individual websites, read course reviews, check out green fees and hole by hole guides. If the website is clunky and outdated it may be a sign that this is a course you really don’t want to visit. And if there are lots of negative reviews remember that they are there for a reason. There is nothing more disappointing than looking forward to visiting a course for the first time, handing over your hard-earned cash and discovering that the course is poorly-maintained. In my experience, golfers are a pretty trustworthy group of people who will only criticise the worst courses.


Do your research. If you are considering a course, get on their own website and go through the hole by hole guide and read the club’s own description of their course. This will give you a clear idea of the degree of difficulty. Do you really want to be playing a course with lots of water, out of bounds on every other hole and knee-high rough?


You are already reading this article on our website so why not take advantage of our vast database of UK golf courses? And if you are considering going further afield (to countries such as France, Spain and Portugal), we can help you out there too.  You will find honest and forthright reviews and price guides - and it is all free of charge.

If we recommend it then it is definitely going to be worth a visit. This year alone I have reviewed Killin Golf Club, Bowood Park, Eaton Park, Diss and Sheringham - all great courses with something to offer golfers of all standards. And our ambassadors have also been busy checking out other fine courses on your behalf. It’s a hard job, but somebody has to do it!

Value for money

None of us want to feel that we are being ripped off. Given the choice between paying £40 or £140, I know which I would prefer. Websites will tell you how much you are going to be charged for a standard green fee but don’t forget to see if they offer twilight rates - you can save a small fortune if you are prepared to play later in the day. Just one word of caution - if you are playing at, say, 3pm, check whether the clubhouse bar will still be open when you come off the 18th green. Conversely, if you are an early bird and fancy a coffee and a bacon sandwich before you tee off be sure to get in touch with the club beforehand to find out what time the clubhouse opens. If you are lucky, you may well find that the course offers a deal that includes your green fee and a food offering of some description. And if you don’t see anything on the website, pick up the phone and ask what they can offer you. Remember that most golf clubs want your business.


You will probably be aware that poor golf club food drives me stark raving bonkers. If you are going to want a meal after your round, spend some time in advance looking at the club’s menu - the choice and cost will almost certainly tell you everything you need to know. I have been incredibly fortunate with the clubs I have visited in 2024. Killin GC offered an incredible variety of superb Indian food and the menu at Sheringham blew me away - crab and lobster, for goodness sake.

County card

This is a no-brainer. Why would you not want to get hold of a county card? It will give you access to the courses in your area at a much-reduced rate. Yes, you might have to play a bit later in the day but you have the pick of your county’s courses.


When you have finished your round, if you have enjoyed your experience take the time to let them know. On the other side of the coin, if you feel that you have been short-changed you should also let them know. And when you get home, post a review.

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

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