I have played at many courses over my career and I am never shy to express what I like and do not like. It is not that I am picky, but I understand the value of playing a great course that has all the facilities needed to round out my experience. If I cannot have it all (practice facility), then at least there is a bare minimum I want / need to ensure I am prepared to play my rounds.
I always like a facility that has a great course, putting green, chipping green, and driving range. If you throw in a usable sand trap, then I am good to go. Unfortunately, there are no courses in my area that has all of these facets to their course. So, I had to pick the one that best fit my bare minimum and that is Osprey Links Golf Course.
Before I describe what works for me, I think it would be interesting to hear what others have to say:
Some of the other responses I received suggested a heated driving area, decent practice bunker, trackman tools, and an indoor simulator. These are all reasonable requests, but it is unlikely a course will invest in these without the other bare necessities. A majority of responses indicated an area to work their short game (putting and chipping). This of course fits into my thinking as well.
For me, a course should have a putting green first and a hitting net. With these two resources, I can prepare for my round. Without these, I never feel prepared to play; I also need these resources to mentally prepare for my round. Without loosening up my swing or establishing a solid putting stroke, you rounds never seem to unfold as I planned or hoped.
As far as chipping and sand play, I go to another facility to practice and hone my skills. It offers a distinct separation between playing and practicing. This seems to help my get better and better each year; albeit slowly.
Of course I want everything at my course, but that is not possible. So, as with my current course, a putting green and hitting net are a must.
What do you need, as a minimum, at your home course to improve your golf game?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!