There are 4 layers of golf course:
1. Full of feature and in your face
2. Full of feature but “of” the land
3. Subtle and full of interest
4. Subtle and bland
Courses that fall in to 2 or 3 are usually excellent, sometimes great.
Courses in 4 are rarely excellent.
Courses in 1 can frequently be excellent but are rarely great. There is also a subset of 1 which is “land full of feature but golf course detail bland”.
Here endeth my generalisation.
Expanding on above to give some examples, when I say "feature" I tend to mean built feature or at the very least designed feature. Bear in mind, I haven't actually seen 2 or 3 of the courses I am referring to below so don't take offence! Perception...:
Type 1: Mike Strantz, Whistling Straits, Sweetens Cove, Castle Course, Castle Stuart, Kingsley. Pete Dye.
Type 2: A lot of American Golden Age or modern minimalist courses. Pretenders in the modern age are slotting in to "Type 1" more and more often. Links like St. Patrick's, St. Enodoc, RCD to a degree. MacRaynor probably straddles 1 & 2 quite often.
Type 3: The Loop, Deal, Portmarnock, Dunbar, Muirfield (although the bunkers almost rule this out), TOC (although the greens and quirk almost rule this out), Royal Aberdeen, Hoylake, Carnoustie, Walton Heath. Woodhall Spa and Ganton straddle 2 & 3 because of bunkers alone. Otherwise they'd sit in here.
Type 4: Bundoran, King's Links, couple of third tier Heathland courses, couple of Eddie Hackett courses on less inspired land. Don't know the bland ones in the States.