Ask five golfers why a particular golf course is on their “bucket list” and you will likely get five different answers. Some focus on the architecture of the course. Does each hole offer a unique challenge? Does it make best use of the surrounding environment? Is it memorable? For others, location is a big factor. It’s no coincidence that the majority of world-famous layouts are situated close to large bodies of water: the Firth of Forth, the Atlantic, the Pacific, the North Sea, and so on.
Whose name is associated to the course can also be a key driver. Many a good track is ignored if it doesn’t have a “Premier League”-designer’s moniker attached. Forgetting for a moment the fact that no one truly knows who designed the Old Course at St Andrews - arguably the most celebrated in the game - fanboys make a beeline for places that bear the illustrious names of notable past players or in-vogue architects, despite the fact that in a lot of cases, those names may have had little to do with the actual course save cutting the ribbon on grand opening day. (HK Golfer has it on good authority that one former top-10 player, on a visit to his newest design in China during the boom of the early 2000s, was heard to ask: "Where's the first tee?")
Exclusivity is a factor. Let’s face it, we love it when we are doing something very, very few others will ever do. Be it a round at Cypress Point, a Pro-Am with a renowned player, even dinner at the impossible-to-book restaurant, the exclusivity dynamic heightens the senses and the whole experience takes on a surreal element.
Overall though, reputation is perhaps the best reason of all. Obviously all of the above features come into play, but reputation is what’s left when the hype evaporates. You’ve read the book, you’ve seen the play, the movie is over, but what is it like in the real world with feedback from real people?
Click here to see the published article.