Clearly Jeff is looking for tips for future trips
Speaking from a UK context I think there are still quite a lot of very basic rural courses dating from pre-WWI that haven't been buggered about with where the only construction would have comprised small, basic platform tees (one per hole), a minimal amount of bunkering (if any) and basic green complexes. Essentially lay of the land type courses built on grazing land where the interest came from natural ground movement and existing structures like hedges and walls.
To find these courses you DON'T follow the money, you do the opposite and look for courses where the clubhouse is basically a timber hut with an honesty box outside for greenfees. Those type of clubs basically have never had the money to "upgrade" their course. Good examples that I've played recently include a little nine-holer near Glasgow called Beith, and another nine-holer in the SW of Scotland called New Galloway (did I mention I'd had a hole in one there ? )
Well yes. New trips would be nice,
(Loved Wawenock last fall Bernie.)
But frankly I'm more concerned with the absurd amounts of money seemingly required for new construction.
This is of course brought on by absurd expectations of not only what a course should be, but also how it is expected to be maintained.
Everybody wants affordable golf,but few seem to want or develop affordable expectations.
Golf to me is best as a walk in the unique environment of a course.
Lately,it seems the environment must be created from scratch to suit the expectations of the driving force, architect and consumer. rather than embracing the natural characteristics of a site-even one with some limitations.
Maybe we need more expert finders/routers and less builders(talent at the former (coukd)reduce the need for copious amounts of the latter)
I guess the real problem is the actual $ minimalist course would struggle to compete with the multi million dollar overspend course slowly on it's way out but subsidized by multiple waves of increasigly less deep pocketed owners.