Not to get this topic off course, but shouldn't the same question be asked about ballwashers? I know many courses have eliminated them as clutter.
I am not pro ballwasher but do not oppose them. One needs to pick his battles.
While a good wash in a well-maintained ballwasher is a pleasure, many people will have done any necessary cleaning on the prior green rendering them redundant. I have no problem with eliminating ballwashers in the name of eliminating clutter.
I'm certainly not anti-bench or anti-ball washer, but I can see the other side of the argument. I think design really has a lot to do with it. There aren't any companies that are making custom ball-washers that suit the aesthetic of the course. I think a course willing to make their own custom tee markers ought to consider adding the same thought to ball washers and benches.
I also think that a lot of the design problems have to do with the ex ante approach to golf course development, that is to say, the developers just put benches where they might think they are needed before players actually display a need for them (developing a golf course in an a posteriori fashion would be worthy of it's own thread). Thus, benches are often placed in inappropriate areas, even if they ought to be usable (much like how desire paths pop up next to slightly inefficient sidewalks), they won't be, and they will seem like clutter.
If designers put cameras out and watch where players stand at wait at the tees after a year of play, then place benches where folks tend to mill about, they'll likely find benches well-used, even if they may seem slightly out-of-place when viewed in a photograph.