Every golfer dreams of designing his or her own golf course, but it requires a bit more than knowledge of how to play the game to design a good golf course. It requires asking “what actually makes one golf course better than another?”. Here are some of the main attributes of a good golf course for those thinking “it can’t be that hard”.
Good land & soil. You want some interesting undulation + sand if possible as this makes it easy to shape the landscape into how you like.
Trees and vegetation. The best courses seem to fit in naturally with the surrounding landscape. The great courses of the world are minimalistic and not overly contrived pieces of work.
The design of the holes themselves (mostly dictated by the land). This is the most important part. The location of hazards and obstacles (bunkers, bowls, ditches, water, etc.). Ideally the golfer that plays the bravest shot (and pulls it off), should be rewarded with an easier next shot. However, the safer one plays, the more difficult the next shot should be.
As you can see, the best golf course architects don’t apply a “cookie cutter” approach to designing golf holes. Every hole must be individually given the time and effort that it deserves to get the best out of that piece of land. Being able to offer an experience like never before to people looking for a great outing can not be matched.