What makes a great course?
I have asked many of the regulars I play with, "what's your favorite course in the area." After getting a bunch of responses, I was surprised by the diversity of thee expressed favorite. So then I would ask them why? and other follow up questions. So what makes a great course? To me, it's a little bit of everything. IMO, a great course will be one that's challenging yet fair. It will have a Zen-like quality, but will ambush you when you lack total focus. It will let you relax at the tee and give you the information you need, when you need it. It will throw you curveball after curveball, then fastball, change, sinker, fastball, wild pitch. That's what I love. My ratings may have a structure to them, but my formula is based on what's said above.
Being someone who loves stats, I rate a course on 5 main weighted factors, they are:
FUN FACTOR, CHARACTER, UNIQUENESS, RAW DIFFICULTY, RAW BEAUTY.
The first three categories listed, are further broken down into a total of 46 weighted sub categories. My formula data is kept in an excel spreadsheet.
 (15%) Fun Factor (aceability, forgiveness, disc loss opportunities, overgrowth, club/people, time waiting, etc.) it's somewhat subjective.
 (25%) Character (benches, practice area, bag holders, multi tees, multi pins, basket condition, teeing experience, restrooms, water fountain, etc.)
 (25%) Uniqueness (elevation up/down, open/wooded, gimme/beast hole, water, doglegs, pocket shots, signature hole, blind, par 4, par 5, etc.)
 (20%) Raw Difficulty - per DGCR rating and my subjective personal feeling
 (15%) Raw Beauty - completely subjective
* My top rated courses for (FUN FACTOR)
 (5.390) Flying Armadillo - Gold (San Marcos, TX)
 (4.670) Ferry Park (Ft Walton Beach, FL)
 (4.480) Zilker Park (Austin, TX)
* My top rated courses for (CHARACTER)
 (5.040) Taylor Park (Largo, FL)
 (5.030) Bill Frederick Park - T2 (Orlando, FL)
 (4.870) Cliff Stevens Park (Clearwater, FL)
* My top rated courses for (UNIQUENESS)
 (5.175) Austin Ridge Bible Church (Austin, TX)
 (5.150) Old Settlers' Park (Round Rock, TX)
 (4.725) The Bear (Alford, FL)
* My top rated courses for (RAW DIFFICULTY)
 (4.950) Jack Mclean Park (Tallahassee, FL)
 (4.800) Austin Ridge Bible Church (Austin, TX)
 (4.550) Perkerson Park (Atlanta, GA)
* My top rated courses for (RAW BEAUTY)
 (5.000) Austin Ridge Bible Church (Austin, TX)
 (4.750) Taylor Park (Largo, FL)
 (4.500) Picnic Island DGC (Tampa, FL)
* My top courses (OVERALL) (out of 111 courses)
Constantly re-evaluated - Last Update - May 2017
 (4.298) Austin Ridge Bible Church (Austin, TX)
 (4.269) Tom Brown Park (Tallahassee, FL)
 (4.264) Circle C Metro Park (Austin, TX)
 (4.180) Bill Frederick Park - T2 (Orlando, FL)
 (4.126) Perkerson Park (Atlanta, GA)
 (4.108) Picnic Island DGC (Tampa, FL)
 (3.997) Taylor Park (Largo, FL)
 (3.966) Cliff Stevens Park (Clearwater, FL)
 (3.912) Flying Armadillo - Gold (San Marcos, TX)
 (3.767) Estero DGC - (Estero, FL)
 (3.738) Golden Gate Park (San Francisco, CA)
 (3.701) Cypress Point Park (Tampa, FL)
 (3.700) Flying Armadillo - Big (San Marcos, TX)
 (3.699) Edward Medard Park (Plant City, FL)
 (3.690) The Preserve DGC (Port Charlotte, FL)
 (3.659) The Bear (Alford, FL)
 (3.593) Jack Mclean Park (Tallahassee, FL)
 (3.586) Searight Park (Austin, TX)
 (3.575) Ocala Greenway DGC (Ocala, FL)
 (3.534) Bill Frederick Park - T1 (Orlando, FL)
 (3.486) Palm Bay Regional (Palm Bay, FL)
 (3.412) Cat Hollow (Round Rock, TX)
 (3.377) North Water Tower Park (Sarasota, FL)
 (3.357) Williamson County DGC (Leander, TX)
 (3.336) Jonesville Park (Jonesville, FL)
 (3.318) MetCenter DGC (Austin, TX)
 (3.316) Lake Hiawatha Preserve (Clermont, FL)
 (3.217) ChainDragon (Freeport, FL) hc
 (2.676) Wells Branch Park (Austin, TX) hc
 (2.633) Youth Park (Pinellas Park, FL) hc
hc = past or present home course
The comical meaning of my course Rating #'s
0.0 - I wouldn't walk to it if it were in my backyard.
0.5 - I'd drive across the street for this course.
1.0 - If in my neighborhood I'd play on occasion.
1.5 - I'd go 5 miles out of my way to play this one
2.0 - I'd go probably 20 miles out of my way to play.
2.5 - Nice course, hey Joe, hey Mike.
3.0 - Man I wish this course was in my backyard.
3.5 - Friggin sweet.
4.0 - I'd plan a special trip to go see course again.
4.5 - Why do you have to be 500 miles away?
5.0 - I don't think these courses exist.