Wow, this is an eye opener! A lot of reasons in here that are pretty low down my list. Each to their own but it’s surprised me in The Refuge. I hate to say that I thought we were better than that, but …
I know pace of play is a big thing for a lot of people but it’s never been a factor for me when deciding where to play. I just approach a round of golf as a hobby of indeterminate length and go with it. Sometimes it’s quick. Sometimes it’s slow. Sometimes I have my own time pressures but that’s my choice and my fault, not the game’s or the course’s.
Nor, to be honest, is cost. That’s not to say I’m rich and I’ll pay anything. There are plenty of places or rounds I am yet to play because I haven’t had the spare cash. But I chase life as a series of exceptional adventures and $200 to play somewhere interesting is what I’m here for, not shlepping it up and down another $30 field because there’s no one on it. Fuck, I’d rather shoot myself. Isn’t Barstool for those people?
Variety is by far the biggest motivating factor for me. And I mean doing different things, personally. For example, I’ve played two courses in Vegas, one on the strip and one in the desert. I wanted the two different experiences. Last summer I was on a heathland thing. Year before, Links. I like to fill my mind with different memories. That’s what’s important.
The other factor for me is education. And I mean my own. I like to play a bunch of Harry Colt tracks, or Braid or Old Tom, just so I can understand how they saw the world. This year I’m doing a MacKenzie spree.
I’m also going to play a course called Minchinhampton Old this year because I came across photos of it and it just looks weird. I want to play across that land.
I like interesting routing or spectacular views or deep historical context. I like connections to people I read about or things Ive watched. I like to test myself. I like good company and proud members sharing their otherwise boring home course with love and anecdotes that bring it to life.
The clubhouse isn’t why I want to play a course but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I really really want to try out the half time hot tub routine at that place in Korea Soly went. Nor would my interest in Prestwick stop at the 18th green. Sometimes the best stories about a course you find out off it. Sometimes a clubhouse tells you more about a club and it’s members than the course ever will. Who doesn’t look at Medinah and think “I’ve got your number”?! But then, I’d also love to be proven wrong.
Sometimes I’ll be on a trip and just ache to play the course I can see across the street from my hotel room, just because it’s there. Sometimes I’ll just drive around and find courses and play them because it’s fun to play somewhere you have no fucking clue about. I found two courses like that last year near my Mum’s house in Idaho. One of them I shot my lowest ever score (78). The other turned out to be a hidden GCA gem.
I’ll travel for hours to play somewhere that interests me in some way. But I’ll also enjoy the scrappy muni next door occasionally.
Its never about money or conditioning or pace of play. Sometimes I’ll consider these post round. But never before.
Admittedly I’m a total golf bore!