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.