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Golf Courses and Resorts that “Get It”

by Craig Better

Sep32013

diamante-range

Basketball coaching legend John Wooden said it best:

“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”

I’m sure you’ve experienced this in your golf travels: the “little things” that some golf courses and resorts do to elevate the experience.

Some of these should be a “given,” but sadly, they’re not.

For example, at a minimum, I look for courses and resorts that truly understand customer service and…

  • Maintain a well-conditioned practice facility stocked with high-quality balls…
  • Communicate the day’s pin positions via colored flags, pin sheet, or GPS system…
  • Provide fresh, cold water on the golf course (on cart and off)…
  • Clean your clubs (and sometimes your shoes) after the round…
  • Provide a comfortable place to shower and change after the round.

And I give extra credit to courses and resorts that…

  • Include a quality yardage book with the greens fee…
  • Give you a locker for the day (bonus points for putting your name on it)…
  • Distribute niceties such as cold, scented towels or fresh apples at the turn…
  • Remember your name and preferences from one day to the next…
  • Employ a concierge who is a true expert and provides spot-on recommendations.

These are some of the things that I look for and appreciate when visiting golf courses and resorts.

What are some of “the little things” that matter to you (or things you would rather do without)?

Please share your thoughts or read what others are saying below.

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anonymous September 3, 2013 at 2:11 pm

When you pay over a hundred bucks for a round of golf, I just think range balls should be included in that price.

2 esteve andre September 3, 2013 at 2:18 pm

I have learned in life, you get what you pay for. The amenities are not free !!! I love all the extras too, but you need to pay extra for what you want. If not, then welcome to the public links….

3 Cliff R September 3, 2013 at 2:24 pm

I played at Atlanta Athletic Club as a guest. Met each of the minimum requirements but also set me up with my own locker (with name marked on Masking Tape) but they left a nice pro-shop present in the locker. Nice extra touch!!!

4 pete lewis September 3, 2013 at 2:26 pm

walkign up to the range at Kiawah Island Ocean Course to a pyramid of balls, my caddy standing with my bag, my name on a sign with a clock showing my tee time. Caddy welcomes me with a handshake, “good afternoon Mr. Lewis, what club would you like to start your warm up with?”. From that moment you just knew it would be a great experience.

5 MARK SZAKARA September 3, 2013 at 2:37 pm

GPS NOT UPDATED FOR GARMIN WATCHES OR OTHER GPS DEVICES – COURSES NOT WELL MARKED FROM HOLE TO HOLE OR YARDAGE ON PAR 3,S – WE HAVE 24 GUYS THAT PLAY 100 ROUNDS A YEAR , HARD TO DO IN MICHIGAN , LOT OF TRAVEL , INFLATED PRICES FOR DRINKS AND FOOD ON COURSE, POOR SAND TRAPS , NO WIND SHIELDS ON CARTS , POOR CART PATHS , AFTER ROUND DINNER SPECIALS , RANGERS THAT SPEED UP PLAY , DONT NEED 8 MIN TEE TIMES – ALWAYS 9 OR 10 BETWEEN GROUPS – NO PAR 3 CHARITY HOLES TO HOLD UP GOLF , CUT NEW HOLES EVERY DAY , TEE BOXES IN BETTER SHAPE , MORE COMBO SCORE CARDS FOR PLAY IN FORWARD . GOLF

6 James Smith September 3, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Your title should read Golf Courses than can “afford it”
I agree if you’re paying $100.00 plus than yes you should be treated as if you are at a private club but if you’re paying less you need to understand real world costs.

7 Neil Gamrod September 3, 2013 at 2:50 pm

While on a trip out west we went to St. George, UT and had a stay and play at Entrada at Snow Canyon. Our stay was in a 1 bedroom suite that had all of the top notch items you would expect but while you were out during the day and came home in the evening they had brought fresh cookies and left them in the room as a nice touch. The top thing about it was the room had a built in garage and the morning we went to play we had the clubs packed in the car to drive to the clubhouse and as we opend the garage our cart was parked in our drive way for us to use. Blew us away. Well worth the money!

8 Ken B September 3, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Mauna Kea has it all. The staff treats you like you golf there every day.
Free Arnold Palmer in a cooler at the turn plus an ice chest with a variety of drinks to replenish the on cart cooler.

9 Bill P September 3, 2013 at 3:31 pm

The biggest issue I have with resorts is that usually you are spending thousands of dollars between hotel and golfing. Can they throw you a bag tag? Even a plastic one is fine. Bandon Dunes – No. Whistling Straits – No. Kiawah Island – No. TPC – Sawgrass – Yes!
I have found that most resorts just try and get every penny they can charge you.

10 Scott D September 3, 2013 at 3:46 pm

This picture shows the driving range at Diamante in Cabo. They give you a choice of Teitleist, Callaoway, or Srixon balls to practice with. You have your own “bay” from which to hit, and you can choose which music to listen to while warming up. The grill provides complimetary breakfast burritos and drinks. This place is TOPS in customer service! Your own locker, free tortilla soup along the way, and at the farthest-away hole (#16) there is a booth with “Diamante water”, (lemonade and vodka). The best!

11 Anonymous September 3, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Your points are all good and well made, but real golfers know that we pay green fees, not greens fees. The game originated on a public space often known as the village green. Thus, we pay a green fee. Even the Rules of Golf use the term “through the green,” not through the greens. Additionally, the only two parts of the golf course not included in the area that is defined by “through the green” are hazards and the putting surface of the hole being played. So you might say that a course has 18 putting surfaces, but only one “green.” And for the privilege of playing on that green, we pay a green fee.

12 Anonymous September 3, 2013 at 4:00 pm

A nice plus is cordinating your check out with your last round. They can then have your travel cover, or packing box at the cart return after your last round. No need to stand around while they go find it.

13 Doug September 3, 2013 at 5:09 pm

A great service would be pairing golfers with similar handicaps. Going out as a single or twosome would be a much more complete golf experience as a foursome.

14 Andy H September 3, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Caledonia in Pawleys Island, SC has complimentary chowder at the turn. Delicious and served up fresh out of a large pot.

15 Jim September 3, 2013 at 6:36 pm

Turnberry Isle in Aventura, Fl . Got the bag tag! Range balls were free! Separate chipping and putting greens! Friendly rangers, and free water! This is now part of the Marriott chain. This hotel was very nice! You do get what you pay for!

16 dmt September 3, 2013 at 9:50 pm

Great article. Customer focus is what keeps us coming back, and the amenities you describe are not expensive, they just require attention to detail.
My experience:
2010 course at Celtic Manor – course is good, not great, but the clubhouse and service is top rate.
Merion – wonderful hospitality, wonderful course, if you get a chance to play, seize it!
Arcadia Dunes – the course is pure eye candy, and the service is good, but you know you are playing a public course, not much attempt to make you feel that you are a ‘special guest’. That’s OK, though, because the surroundings are truly special.

17 Ed September 3, 2013 at 11:00 pm

Nice picture of Diamante’s range! Diamante definitely gets it. Played Kiawah Island Ocean Course yesterday. We felt like we were bothering the pro shop staff by being there and buying merchandise. The Ocean Course and it’s employees don’t get it.

18 Jack September 4, 2013 at 11:43 am

Many of those things are important, but equal to range and range ball amenities are course marshals to keep the pace of play appropriate. If no caddies to do it, need some mechanism to make slow golfers pick up the pace.

19 Anne September 4, 2013 at 3:46 pm

This day and age, another good amenity is safe monitoring of equipment at bag drops. Not just dumping your clubs on some remote rack where anyone could walk off with them.

Also, having a good selection of women’s visors, gloves, shoes and balls, instead of just minimal supplies.

Offering glasses or bottles of cold water before teeing off, and not having to chase inside to the bar to find one, only to have some bartender roll their eyes as if to say, “Not one more water.”

20 jan sumner September 5, 2013 at 5:37 pm

Very simple…..club washers at the range AND towels and washers on the carts. We played at Querencia in Cabo and by the second day everyone knew your name. Nice sented and minted towels at the end. mmmmmmm.

21 Caleb September 30, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Golf courses that pay attention to the detail are worth playing. You can tell when a gold club or course takes pride in their everything they do and make it a wonderful experience.

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