This is the time of year where all Americans must do their civic duty and let their voice be heard. I'm talking about election day of course. But I'm also calling on all golfers to begin rating golf courses on GolfNow.
GolfNow, Golf Channel's tee time booking engine, officially launched its golf course ratings system last month. Now, you can rate every single golf course bookable on the platform, which is over 4,000 courses worldwide and counting.
I'm excited about these new ratings because it's going to allow the real, recreational golfer the chance to let their voice heard. Top 100 rankings are great (their issues were always my favorite issues of Golf Digest and Golf Magazine when I was growing up and still are). But they're flawed. Pollsters are usually golf 'experts' who tend to slant more towards course design, tournament history and the uniqueness of the property itself than everyday operational issues like course maintenance and service. Also, the highest-rated courses in Top 100 lists are usually private or the most expensive course in their market.
And, not like it's any big secret, course raters rarely plunk down their own coin to play one of these courses. GolfNow is different. You don't need an application to become a rater and you don't need to shoot in the 70s.
GolfNow's ratings asks users to rate the course's pace, difficulty, conditions, staff and value, followed by an overall star rating of one-thru-five. Of course, the GolfNow rating system has its own unique set of strengths and flaws. Golfers will rate courses based on the price they paid and specific experience they had at the facility, which is a very pure form of feedback. But that said, Joe Golfer can be a finicky animal. Some golfers will give their star rating based on the course design, while others might weight their rating on the price of beer. Some are well-traveled with deep pockets and very high standards, while others might find a $40 golf course to be the best they've ever played.
But, the great equalizer is that these are real reviews from golfers in your market who paid their own coin for the round. I'm excited to see the discussion unfold.
Here's an example of what to expect for Jimmy Clay Golf Course in Austin (the course I played over the weekend).