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Harvey Dickens

What are average golfers looking for?
« on: February 11, 2011, 07:03:58 PM »
Mike Youngs recent post got me thinking, what are average golfers looking for in a course. I certainly don't think this board represents "average golfers" but I am sure everyone knows some. Do they care about bunker shaping? Cart path visibility? Housing? What exactly are they looking for in a course?

Tim Martin

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Re: What are average golfers looking for?
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2011, 07:14:59 PM »
I think the average golfer is concerned with affordability, ease of access and reasonable proximity to where they live. I don`t think architectural requirements factor in very often except when a course is off the charts difficult with water,excessive bunkering and forced carries.  

Craig Van Egmond

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Re: What are average golfers looking for?
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2011, 07:16:25 PM »
My non architecture junkie friends want courses that are in good shape, have hot cart girls, a GPS in the cart and a less than 4.5 hour round.

Tim Martin

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Re: What are average golfers looking for?
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2011, 07:18:21 PM »
My non architecture junkie friends want courses that are in good shape, have hot cart girls, a GPS in the cart and a less than 4.5 hour round.
Sorry Craig-I forgot about hot cart girls.

Mike_Young

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Re: What are average golfers looking for?
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2011, 07:21:07 PM »
This might sound stupid...but they want "ball marks"...I had forgotten how thrilled I was at a kid when I first could hit a green from far enough away to make a ball mark....   We often forget that so many rarely have the thrill of hitting a green in regulation on many of our newer courses....we need 325 yd - 350 yard holes for so many guys....SO..that's one thing
"just standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona"

Greg Chambers

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Re: What are average golfers looking for?
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2011, 07:27:51 PM »
Too bad they don't want to fix those ball marks...The average golfer wants a course that's in perfect condition, all the time, but they don't want to have to pay for it...most don't even notice the architecture
"It's good sportsmanship to not pick up lost golf balls while they are still rolling.”

Harvey Dickens

Re: What are average golfers looking for?
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2011, 07:35:14 PM »
Mike
     I am not sure shorter holes will result in more GIR. Perhaps we need wider fairways or more "open" courses. I am not sure distance is as much a problem as direction.

Wade Whitehead

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Re: What are average golfers looking for?
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2011, 07:47:03 PM »
Average players want value.

WW

Melvyn Morrow

Re: What are average golfers looking for?
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2011, 08:12:56 PM »

What are average golfers looking for…  so armed with that question we sought out 100 average golfers (would have been easier finding 100 Virgins)and asked them the following questions…

Did they liked cart paths,
Did they liked Green Fairways
Did they shallow bunkers
Did they like 6 hour plus round
Did they like blind holes
Did they like doglegs

The result was very clear confirming that None understood the questions with the exception of the first one but none could decide either way (this is when we discovered that 66% of the group were actual R&A Committee Members in charge of Governing the game of golf with the balance being GCA.com Members).

Melvyn


Brian Marion

Re: What are average golfers looking for?
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2011, 08:36:38 PM »
I think you have to define "average golfer" first.

Is it someone who plays once a month but is only slightly engaged in the game outside of that?

Someone who plays 2-3 times per quarter but hangs it up in hot/cold weather?

Other criteria.

The reason I think you must define the term is that there are many types of golfers who could be coined average but they all are looking for something different.


Harvey Dickens

Re: What are average golfers looking for?
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2011, 08:56:51 PM »
Brian
      Lets say the guy that plays 20-25 rounds per year.

Malcolm Mckinnon

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Re: What are average golfers looking for?
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2011, 09:55:32 PM »
I'm sure we can envision the average Saturday of an average golfer in America!

He (or she) wakes up in his (her) suburban Mcmansion, yawns and stretches while looking out of the bedroom window as an early morning sun bathes thousands of other identical cookie cutter Mcmansion homes on quarter acre lots in the golden glow that signals a bright new day.

Golfing weather!, he/she says out loud, and that golden glow reminds me of the golden maple flavored corn syrup I like to pour all over my hotcakes and sausage breakfast at Mcdonalds, mmm, mmm. A quick shower with Ivory(TM) soap suds, a shave with Edge(TM) and tooth brushing with Crest Toothpaste(TM) and quickly dressed in the latest Kohls "Greg (the great white shark)  Norman" Collection shirt and shorts he/she is into the Honda Accord and accelerating to the drive-thru at Micky D's and thence to Anywhere Valley Pines National Golf Links of America to meet his/her buddies for a round.

I won't go on, but you get the picture.

I don't want to live in a world where everything is produced with a "what would the average golfer want" mindset.

I think Mike Young's thoughts are more to the " should we design golf courses like ski slopes with different gradients for every skill level, novice through expert". Perhaps a good example of this system would be Merion East vs West course. I believe that a member must achieve a certain handicap level before it is considered appropriate to play the East Course, otherwise they request that you please refine your game on the, also quite entertaining West Course.


Brian Marion

Re: What are average golfers looking for?
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2011, 10:28:22 PM »
Brian
      Lets say the guy that plays 20-25 rounds per year.

Harvey, I would say that is above average in my opinion. At 24 rounds per year, that's 2/month but not really given he won't play much in the depths of winter, so more like 3 rounds per month during the season, would you agree?

At three rounds, he falls into a pretty heavy user group.

I'm sure someone has done the survey but I'm thinking average in the US is probably once a month at best with some driving range trips thrown in.

All that said, in my opinion, the "average" golfer is looking for value. Value in terms of cost vs conditions, cost vs time, cost vs ambiance, etc, etc. I know lots of average golfers who will shell out $150 per round on a "Name" course but won't do it often. They will then get up in arms over bad conditions on a $50.00 or less course.

I'm a firm believer that most amateur golfers value conditions of play above anything else. Give them great greens that putt true and they will put up with almost anything, then let them get around in a decent amount of time and you have a winner. Most don't want 10 guys pawing clubs from car to cart (my personal pet peeve), don't care about the beverage cart, don't need yardage books for $5.00 or cart based GPS or expensive cigars in the pro shop. Most, I'm convinced, could care less about good architecture! The horror!!!

What gets most people worked up faster than anything? - greens aeration and paying full boat....no one really complains though when the fairways and tees have been punched.

So that makes most looking for:

1. A good, not great course design wise
2. Pace of play - everyone expects 4 hours and will live with 4 1/2. 5 is way too long for most.
2. Good conditions with greens being most important
3. A place to buy a hotdog/bag of chips and soda/beer
4. A driving range/practice area
 
The rest fall off pretty quickly according to my informal poll






« Last Edit: February 11, 2011, 11:11:40 PM by Brian Marion »

Mac Plumart

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Re: What are average golfers looking for?
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2011, 10:30:26 PM »
The average golfer wants what all of us want...they want to have an enjoyable round. 
Sportsman/Adventure loving golfer.

Doug Siebert

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Re: What are average golfers looking for?
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2011, 02:05:12 AM »
This might sound stupid...but they want "ball marks"...I had forgotten how thrilled I was at a kid when I first could hit a green from far enough away to make a ball mark....   We often forget that so many rarely have the thrill of hitting a green in regulation on many of our newer courses....we need 325 yd - 350 yard holes for so many guys....SO..that's one thing


I think that's only kids.  When I play with adults who are fairly new to the game they don't care about ball marks.  They do care about getting birdie putts, but don't care if its because they stuck the ball close to where it landed or bounced it on.  They'll take a ricochet off a tree!

But I agree about the shortish holes, that lets them still have a shot at getting it on/near the green if they screw up their drive, and if they peg their drive, gives them a nice short approach that either gives them a great chance of putting it on the green, or teaches them why people keep telling them to practice their wedges more and their drivers less.
My hovercraft is full of eels.

Ally Mcintosh

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Re: What are average golfers looking for?
« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2011, 04:33:03 AM »
The overwhelming priority amongst the majority in Ireland appears to be conditioning.

Golfers seem to often rate courses solely on the condition and speed of the greens. If it's early May and the poa is seeding and it's been a cold dry winter and there has been no growth, they don't care. It's a bad course because the "greens were crap", regardless of them being in wonderful condition the next month...

It's a little depressing...

Adrian_Stiff

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Re: What are average golfers looking for?
« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2011, 06:04:20 AM »
Ally - You are spot on about conditioning and its amazing when you look at websites and reviews and some plonker has 1 starred it because when he played the greens were hollowtined or someone had a cap on back to front.

I think the design issues that Mr Average likes would be dislikes on this board. Island greens are the big hit.
A combination of whats good for golf and good for turf.
The Players Club, Cumberwell Park, The Kendleshire, Oake Manor, Dainton Park, Forest Hills, Erlestoke, St Cleres.
www.theplayersgolfclub.com

Anthony Gray

Re: What are average golfers looking for?
« Reply #17 on: February 12, 2011, 10:41:19 AM »
This might sound stupid...but they want "ball marks"...I had forgotten how thrilled I was at a kid when I first could hit a green from far enough away to make a ball mark....   We often forget that so many rarely have the thrill of hitting a green in regulation on many of our newer courses....we need 325 yd - 350 yard holes for so many guys....SO..that's one thing

  Well put.Playability.It has to be fun.

  Anthony


Garland Bayley

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Re: What are average golfers looking for?
« Reply #18 on: February 12, 2011, 09:40:13 PM »
When given a choice, average golfers will choose a course with some interest in it over plain course. This is why several members of my club chose it over the club next door that had limited interest. In particular, the thing creating the interest in this case is the terrain. Sprinkle in a few bunkers, and a stream; and voila, a course to drive a bit to get to over the one next door.
"I enjoy a course where the challenges are contained WITHIN it, and recovery is part of the game  not a course where the challenge is to stay ON it." Jeff Warne

Steve Lang

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Re: What are average golfers looking for?
« Reply #19 on: February 12, 2011, 10:49:01 PM »
;<))

Something fun to do, somewhere reasonably priced to do it, somewhere else to talk about it.. The shared experience..

Inverness (Toledo, OH) cathedral clock inscription: "God measures men by what they are. Not what they in wealth possess.  That vibrant message chimes afar.
The voice of Inverness"

Mike Nuzzo

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Re: What are average golfers looking for?
« Reply #20 on: February 12, 2011, 10:49:07 PM »
There are no average golfers
Only average types of golfers...
http://nuzzogolfcoursedesign.blogspot.com/2009/10/there-is-no-greatest-golf-course.html
Thinking of Bob, Rihc, Bill, George, Neil & Tiger.

Jeff_Brauer

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Re: What are average golfers looking for?
« Reply #21 on: February 12, 2011, 11:09:55 PM »
I have been told that one of the draws of Pinehurst is the minimal chance of losing a golf ball, adding ?x$4.00 to the cost of what you expected to pay for golf.

Avoiding the "piling up a score" as Mac put it should also be on the list.  Bogeys and Doubles are one thing, but real embarrassment gets old quick.

Steve has it right, according to statistic surveys - most average golfers play for camraderie and friendly (i.e. $2 type bets) competition over scoring some personal best, although that is always appreciated when it happens.

As such, holes where you are "always in it" to the end would seem to be high on the list.

What sort of features would inspire "comraderie?"  I would think any shot that has all the guys in that picture either groaning or whooping it up would be a candidate.
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

Doug Siebert

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Re: What are average golfers looking for?
« Reply #22 on: February 13, 2011, 03:23:01 AM »
I think the design issues that Mr Average likes would be dislikes on this board. Island greens are the big hit.


Spot on!  My home course has a par 3 with two island greens, multiple tees.  Anytime anyone visits the first time this is the hole that totally wows them.  This despite the fact that most of them end up putting one in the drink, all they can talk about is how cool it would be if their favorite course had a hole like this.

I wonder how much of this is due to the influence of Dye's TPC course and its famous 17th?  My course was built in 1953, with the two island greens original to the Robert Bruce Harris design (and the following hole had two fairways, but one has been left to go to seed long ago)  I kind of wonder what first timers thought about this back in the 50s and 60s, before island greens became an "in" thing...
My hovercraft is full of eels.

Sean_A

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Re: What are average golfers looking for?
« Reply #23 on: February 13, 2011, 06:20:44 AM »
To me an average golfer has to play at least 10-15 times a year before he is called a golfer.  Playing five times a year doesn't cut it.  Given this, average in the UK compared to the US is a totally different animal.  I think the average UK golfer has some sort of affiliation with a club or society.  In the US this is far from the case.  So the two groups are starting from completely different possitions.  One of the big differences between the two is competitions.  The average UK golfer plays in far more comps sticking to some form of the proper rules.  This is far from the case in the US.  No booze in the UK during golf; it could be flowing freely in the US.  The average UK golfer will come across some excellent world famous courses in his  time; rarely the case for the US golfer.  The average UK golfer plays in all sorts of weather and thus conditions are less important than in the US except in summer time.  Why else would UK golfers go out on nearly all parkland courses during the winter?  Its a waste of time for me, but not so for the average golfer.  One area both groups share is a desire to play affordable golf and to get good value.  Both groups want to have fun, but they go about it in different ways. 

Ciao   
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Adrian_Stiff

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Re: What are average golfers looking for?
« Reply #24 on: February 13, 2011, 07:17:28 AM »
To me an average golfer has to play at least 10-15 times a year before he is called a golfer.  Playing five times a year doesn't cut it.  Given this, average in the UK compared to the US is a totally different animal.  I think the average UK golfer has some sort of affiliation with a club or society.  In the US this is far from the case.  So the two groups are starting from completely different possitions.  One of the big differences between the two is competitions.  The average UK golfer plays in far more comps sticking to some form of the proper rules.  This is far from the case in the US.  No booze in the UK during golf; it could be flowing freely in the US.  The average UK golfer will come across some excellent world famous courses in his  time; rarely the case for the US golfer.  The average UK golfer plays in all sorts of weather and thus conditions are less important than in the US except in summer time.  Why else would UK golfers go out on nearly all parkland courses during the winter?  Its a waste of time for me, but not so for the average golfer.  One area both groups share is a desire to play affordable golf and to get good value.  Both groups want to have fun, but they go about it in different ways. 

Ciao   
Sean - Your case for the average UK golfer is wrong though you might be nearer the mark if you were to say average UK golf member. Statiscally only about 30% of golfers play in the UK winter time, golf is very sun controlled. The biggest group of UK golfers are not members of clubs and most do just play 5-15 times but they are golfers none the less. We have over 1000 members, you would be amazed how many people have played 100 times and you would be amazed how many have played less than 15 times... those figures are 9 and 671. An average club member throughout the UK plays 40 times (though not all at his club) the statistics of patterns of play can get distorted, seniors play the most, juniors can tally crazy summer runs. A lot of people dont even care about competitions or keeping their handicap these days and do not want to pay the EGU levy (about £13 per year). Booze is becoming part of a round too, many courses have added half way houses and the tempt of not selling a bottle of beer at £3 well, its what the customer wants.
Golf is changing and the bastion of what once was will go, the new golfer wants so much different, I think pockets of 'old school golf clubs' will still be there but not so many, there will be change and the change starts as soon you see the signs of clubs taking 2-4-1 vouchers, dropping the joining fee etc in order to compete....it drops its guard, its drop its standard, for many ofcourse it is survival. There wont be enough room for every golf course to maintain its standards of course conditioning, staff will have to go, greens cut every other day, fairways weekly (even sheep)... the simple reason is cost of course and when you look at patterns of play you see many members that are low users jacking their membership in favour of casual play when its sunny.
A combination of whats good for golf and good for turf.
The Players Club, Cumberwell Park, The Kendleshire, Oake Manor, Dainton Park, Forest Hills, Erlestoke, St Cleres.
www.theplayersgolfclub.com

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