The 15 Friendliest GolfNow Courses
At Wolfdancer Golf Club at Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort near Austin, golfers enjoy Texas-sized hospitality from the time they drop off their clubs to the moment they head home.
Flashing a wide smile as he cleaned a golfer’s clubs, local high school student and junior golfer Jared Shaw motioned to a Volvo parked way out in the lot. “Can I take these to your car?” he asked the golfer. And that was before the guy even pulled out his wallet.
“We ask our staff to be consistent and genuine,” says Diago Sais, tournament coordinator at Wolfdancer. “Our goal is to provide such good service that when a player is driving home, he or she will say, ‘Wow, they really cared I was here.’”
It’s probably one of the reasons why Wolfdancer made the list of GolfNow’s top 15 friendliest golf courses in the country, as ranked by GolfNow golfers who’ve submitted over 150,000 reviews.
Top 15 Friendliest GolfNow Courses
1. Royal Links Golf Club (Las Vegas, NV)
“It’s another beautiful day at Royal Links Golf Club,” exclaims Casey Quinn who wins the jackpot in phone answering. Quinn, pro shop assistant laughs, “I’ve probably said this a million times.” Good reason why this Troon-managed track tops the list for staff friendliness.
Royal Links, a Dye International design featuring replicas of the best holes from 11 British Open courses, gives the Royal treatment to their golfers putting smiles on faces with upbeat greetings and over-the-top perks, Vegas-style. One such perk is the option to have a easy-on-the-eyes ParMate girl accompany golfers on their round, raking the bunkers and repairing ball marks. Other special treats on course include cold towels and “otter pops” on hot days and homemade cookies on cooler days.
Royal Links GM Charles Bombard notes, “We follow some simple guidelines. [We] greet our guests as if we are welcoming them into your home, say hello, smile, use their names and thank them for coming.”
2. Camp Creek Golf Club (Pensacola, FL)
Head golf professional Jaxon Hardy at Camp Creek Golf Club says, “We extend southern hospitality and a warm welcome to our customers.” Camp Creek rangers ride around handing out ice cold, mango-scented towels and the starters have great stories to tell. The staff treats everyone, “like a member for a day.”
As an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary course this stunning “dunescape” track designed by Tom Fazio with huge undulating greens, wetlands and plenty of bunkers is friendly to wildlife, as well as people.
3. Deercroft Golf & Country Club (Raleigh Durham, NC)
When asked why she thought Deercroft Golf & Country Club had made the list, Jennifer Byrd, pro shop assistant, replied with a slight giggle and a southern drawl, “We’re just real nice.” Jennifer has it right.
Ted Robinson, owner of Deercroft, which lies just south of Pinehurst, says, “We emphasize customer service and try to surround ourselves with people who are friendly. It’s a huge priority.” Robinson said he and his team want to make sure golfers who play at Deercroft feel their hard-earned money was well spent.
“We want to provide a smile and a happy face.”
4. Waldorf Astoria Golf Club (Orlando, FL)
Towering pines and cypress along with serious bunkers define the fairways on this Rees Jones-designed course at the Waldorf Astoria Golf Club while a personalized golf experience defines the service.
Assistant Pro Jeff Biggs said, “We use a guest’s name as much as possible. Guest recognition is important to us and all our staff receive training in this – it’s part of a property-wide initiative.” To identify returning guests, golfers are also given customized bag tags.
5. The Palmer Course at La Cantera Golf Club (San Antonio, TX)
According to La Cantera’s Director of Golf, Steve Shields,“To work here, you don’t have to be a golfer. You do have to have a great attitude and enjoy what you’re doing.”
Sheilds said the staff at La Cantera takes pride in what they have to offer golfers – everything from clean golf carts to good course maintenance. They even have a mentoring program which pairs new staff members with more experienced members.
6. Orchard Hills Golf & Country Club (Washougal, WA)
Located just 15 minutes east of Portland, Ore., Orchard Hills Golf & Country Club, which dates back to 1931, is the oldest course in the region, and its staff is immensely proud of its layout and maintenance.
“Our course conditioning is among the best in the area, especially for public courses,” says Will James, pro shop assistant. James notes there is no water on the tighter front nine, while the back is longer, wider and has water on five holes and lots of trees. “It’s called Orchard Hills for a reason,” says James. “I love it here. I wouldn’t have stayed for 29 years if I didn’t.”
7. The Pointe Golf Club (Powells Point, NC)
Just over the water from the Outer Banks, The Pointe Golf Club opened in 1995 and continues to evoke a wee bit of Scotland with few trees, run-up greens and the ever-present wind factor. Doug Kinser, director of golf said, “Our course is the area’s most player-friendly and best-conditioned layout for golfers of all skill levels.”
Talking about The Pointe’s emphasis on providing superior customer service Kinser added, “It starts at the top. Our owner talks to us everyday about the importance of taking care of our customers. We work hard to hire the right people and although in the interest of keeping our expenses down we may not have fancy perks, it doesn’t cost anything to give good one-on-one personal service with a smile. After all, we are in the entertainment business.”
8. Reidy Creek Golf Club (Escondido, CA)
Near San Diego, Reidy Creek Golf Club, a short, executive-style track combining great design and friendly, efficient service is a popular play in the area, especially for families who find it affordable, as well as interesting with hills, deep bunkers, nice landscaping, tiered greens and some wildlife to boot.
Coming here for the first time, a reviewer commented on GolfNow, “I came across this gem of an executive course and thought what a great way to work on my short game. I was impressed. The person who checked me in greeted me with a great welcome, helped me get on the course and the best thing was since I had a early 7:00 am tee time I was sent out on my own! I will be a regular.”
9. Maderas Golf Club (Poway, CA)
Free roasted coffee from Café Moto in the morning and fresh-squeezed lemonade when you finish, along with cool towels on the course on warm days and warm towels on chilly days – just a few of the special amenities offered by Maderas Golf Club, a Johnny Miller and Robert Muir Graves design near San Diego. Maderas is a beautiful layout revealing stunning mountain views as it winds through cliffs, rock outcroppings and around creeks. Still, it is the service that further sets it apart.
Bill O’Brien, Maderas general manager says, “It comes down to the people. We want to share our passion for golf and the course with those who come here to play. We recruit like-minded, service-oriented personnel with many coming out of the hotel and resort environment.”
10. Cedar Lake Golf Club (Loganville, GA)
Opening in 1965, a welcoming staff that has been in place for decades keeps golfers coming back to Cedar Lake Golf Club near Atlanta. Carla Scarlett, manager who has been at Cedar Lake for more than 27 years says, “We are like family here. We don’t have much turnover. When people come to play, they see a friendly face. Our customers know us, and we work hard to make sure everyone is happy. For example if the first tee backs up, we give those waiting complimentary range tokens.
Scarlett noted that when she was in the hospital for three weeks, the staff organized a big tournament to help cover some of her costs. It’s all in the family.
And, rounding out the Top 15:
11. Brasstown Valley Resort Golf Course (Young Harris, GA)
12. Windcrest Golf Club (San Antonio, TX)
13. Lost Pines Golf Club (Austin, TX)
14. Yocha Dehe at Cache Creek (Brooks, CA)
15. The Hideaway Country Club (Fort Myers, FL)
So, just what is that magical ingredient that makes you want to return to a course? Truth is, coffee on a cold day and scented towels are nice, but by and far it’s the attitude of the staff who can make your golfing experience over the top.