I'd used this site (among others) to locate new courses in Florida for some time until, after playing sixteen new North Carolina courses in two weeks., I decided to contribute, at least to the number score. I rattled off a series of quick reviews. (Which, after playing so many new courses in such a short time and only retaining vague recollections of how much I liked them, was all I could do.) It was a few weeks later that I decided I wanted to put some actual effort into it and to write the reviews that I would want to read. Since then, I've become a course bagging idiot, yet I have managed to revisit and thus rewrite, most of the original sixteen.
Things I Care About Greatly:
Identity. Is a course unique? Is it Memorable? Does it stand out? Does it have a feel?
Fairway Design: I don't think I'm alone in this one. Water, trees, elevation, they all come into play here. How good are these holes?
Aesthetics: Is the course visually stimulating? Again, this ties into vibe/feel.
Flow: Apart from the holes themselves, how do they come together as a complete experience? And how are the transitions/walks?
Things I sorta care about:
Tees: I don't mind natural tees. I mostly have a minimum standard of acceptable teeing of situations. If it's flat, I'm usually happy.
Signs: Always a bonus and necessary in some cases they aren't necessary, or at least it isn't necessary that they be great.
Baskets: Again, it's a minimum standard. As long as they are there and functional.....
Multiple tees/layouts: It's a bonus. But most courses, I know I will only play once.
Things I don't care about:
Benches, Trashcans, Bathrooms: These things are a bonus only. A five-star course could easily feature zero of all three.
Local Scene: If I'm reading a review, I'm deciding if I want to play it, not if I want to join a league there. It's nice information for some, but it's not a "pro" in my book.
How much a course has improved: I review courses as they are. I want to know what they are like now. Unless I'm updating a previously written reviews without rewriting, I'm just never going to tell you what it was formerly like.
Scoring Spread: Or tweener holes, or what pros will score on a course. Essentially I care about how much a course makes me want to play it. How much enjoyment will be gained from each throw. I consider a variety of ability levels, but I care less about the score and more about the experience.
Personal Top 5:
Porcupine Ridge, ME
Stoney Hill, SC
Wickham Park, CT
Rock Ridge Park, NC