The management at the golf course can't handle the weather or how big their facility may be. Even the course conditions and design can be beyond the control of the staff to varying degrees.
But the one element of the golf experience that any course can get close to 100% right, if they really aspire to, is how they treat their golfers. Staff Friendliness is a hugely important factor for golf facilities, especially those with many nearby courses to choose from. How those working at the bag drop or the pro shop treat a novice golfer can be the difference between that person taking to the game for life or ditching the sport for more casual pursuits.
As we've combed through 700,000 reviews since Golf Advisor launch, we learn exactly what drives golfers mad, as well as where a course's efforts are noticed. The smart facilities listen to their customers and adjust accordingly. We're also seeing comments in reviews by golfers that talk about the initial phone call, or even how the ease of booking online can play a factor in how welcoming they perceive the staff to be. The webmasters managing the social accounts or booking engine play a part in the P.R. of a course these days.
Not every course has a fair shake to be considered for our Course Layout or Off-course Amenities best-of lists, but Staff Friendliness is the category that is most achievable for any facility. We compiled this list based on over 150,000 reviews from 92,000 golfers, and there are as many high-dollar resort courses as there are affordable local plays. We've included a quote from each course that demonstrates golfers are in fact noticing the staff's efforts. The next time you encounter the staff at a golf course going above and beyond, be sure to tell us at Golf Advisor. You can write a review here.
Editor's Note: For this list, we combined multi-course facilities and resorts into one entry.
Top 25 courses as rated by Staff Friendliness in 2017
What they're saying: " I think the employees there are the real reason that make the golf course what it is, in my opinion."
Pine Mountain, Ga.
What they're saying: "The guy in the clubhouse needs to get praised for is excellent work and helpfulness."
What they're saying: "Staff was friendly and helpful. All around a great place to play."
What they're saying: "The service was great - friendly people, course was in good shape, will definitely come back."
What they're saying: "Conditions were wonderful, and the layout was great. Staff was helpful and courteous."
Twin Lake, Mich.
What they're saying: "Great pro and staff to make sure you have a great round."
What they're saying: " from the moment you pull into the bag drop the staff was exceptional!! it was a great experience start to finish."
What they're saying: "The staff is the best I've experienced, from Kapalua in Maui to Couer d'allene Resort in Idaho, to any course in the Myrtle Beach area."
What they're saying: "Friendly staff. New driving range is really nice great chipping and putting area for warming up. Pro-V practice balls."
St. Augustine, Fla.
What they're saying: "From the moment we got there, we were treated with the utmost appreciation!"
What they're saying: "Staff are always friendly and welcoming."
What they're saying: "The golf was superb, as were the caddies and staff."
What they're saying: "Staff does a great job here and the course is in beautiful shape."
Young Harris, Ga.
What they're saying: "The staff is very friendly. They make sure you have a good time."
Merry Hill, N.C.
What they're saying: "The staff at the club are friendly and customer focused."
Pebble Beach, Calif.
What they're saying: "From the start, everybody there is very cordial and friendly. Even other players are friendly and giddy about playing this iconic course."
What they're saying: "The staff is very friendly and accommodating. I can't say enough good things about the staff and course."
What they're saying: "This is the best golf course in Massachusetts, best all around customer service and always a very pleasant environment."
What they're saying: "Staff was excellent. Not a hard course but well worth the money!"
What they're saying: "The course could not have been in better shape, staff was extremely courteous."
Fort Myers, Fla.
What they're saying: "I met the Director of Golf, he took time to share the status of the course and the green speeds etc."
What they're saying: "Great course, great conditions and very friendly staff."
2. TPC Sawgrass
Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
What they're saying: "Staff is awesome and just plain nice. Worth every penny I paid for the stadium experience."
Indian Wells, Calif.
What they're saying: "The staff at Indian Wells is very professional and extremely accommodating."