9 Things That Make A Dream Golf Club... And Why The Course Isn't That Important

Katie Dawkins shares her vision of the perfect golf club

Enjoying a glass after my round with my pal
(Image credit: Future)

If someone gave me a blank canvas and unlimited budget, my idea of the perfect golf club wouldn’t be an unrealistic one. There are a few similarities to what men visualise as the perfect golf club, but while men hold the quality of the golf course in utmost importance, women are far more inclined to also seek the finer details and smaller touches.

Some clubs have really begun to think about what women actually want, while others have a very, very long way to go. Come with me as I visit my dream club and enjoy a crisp glass of fizz at the end.


The accessibility of a club is a tricky one, I want to be able to get there fairly easily and without travelling for hours, but equally want it to be tucked away enough so it feels like a hidden gem.

My perfect club is accessible from the road through a wide entrance that has a touch of excitement about it. On entering from the road, the driveway then leads me on a suggestive and exciting preview of the course, hidden behind the impressive entrance. I love a long driveway at a club (unless I’m late) as the excitement can build as the course teases you with sneak previews of signature holes and the greenkeepers preening and prepping.

The Grove - Stay and Play - the green on the par-3 seventh at The Grove with the mansion beyond

The driveway leading to The Grove in Hertfordshire is spectacular

(Image credit: The Grove)


Parking is easy, wide spaces and lots of them. Again if I’m cutting it fine I don’t want to be driving around the car park hunting for a space whilst my playing partners tap their toes on the tee.

The main entrance to a clubhouse should feel welcoming and have some human presence. Somebody sitting at a low desk ready to greet you and send you in the right direction. I love some greenery in an entrance area, I’ve been to some clubs in the States that feel like you’re entering the Eden Project in Cornwall. This sense of entering somewhere that will nourish and refresh, thanks to falling water and a ton of indoor plants, will help to calm anyone entering a golf club environment for the first time. 

Some golf clubs can feel very exclusive upon entering the front door and you're almost made to feel that you shouldn’t be there. My perfect golf club is the opposite to that. I want to feel like I’ve arrived at a spa day. Excited, but far from nervous.

Views across the course at The Caversham - Home of Reading Golf Club

Views across the course at The Caversham - Home of Reading Golf Club

(Image credit: The Caversham)


Let’s face it, a changing room is so often where clubs let themselves down. I’d ensure a good chunk of floor space is dedicated to the women's facilities. Tons of lockers and an area that provides privacy to change, no different to a leisure club or spa.

Women’s hair is different to men’s, it needs plenty of care and attention. Inside the showers there are sumptuous spa-type products (like Temple Spa) including separate shampoo and decent conditioner. 

The showers have wands so you can rinse off dusty legs and freshen feet without getting hair or clothes wet. We know how challenging menstruation is when combined with golf. Sanitary products are provided in various locations throughout. Not just in the changing room, but at the halfway toilets, so no woman will be caught out during their visit.

There is somewhere to really make ourselves look fabulous. Large, well-lit mirrors and seating areas adorned with good lighting. Hairdryers that actually do a good job are a must. I love what The Caversham in Berkshire have done - enormous, well-lit and with four Dyson hairdryers ready to tame the manes after a round. A floor to ceiling mirror is essential to check outfits are in place pre and post-round. I want to walk out of that changing room knowing I look ok, not guessing.

The changing room is equipped with hairdryers amongst other essentials

Not one but four Dyson hairdryers on offer at The Caversham

(Image credit: The Caversham)


I want to walk into a bar area which is flooded with light, thanks to bifold doors stretching everywhere you look. Daylight is a massive factor when it comes to feeling good. The last thing I want when walking into a clubhouse is to feel like I’ve entered a musty old living room.

On entering this airy space, I’d smell fresh coffee and spot a bar stacked with treats and high protein snacks to fuel my round. Let’s talk coffee. I’d join a club for the good coffee, I’m not even joking. A serious barista is on hand to make a flat white that would put the ones in Sydney to shame. 

A range of healthy options with fresh ingredients and tons of fruit and veg on offer on the menu. A decent breakfast menu is essential, as so often golf clubs miss out the granola or porridge bowl, eggs and smashed avocado etc in favour of a greasy fry-up type lineup. These have their place, but throw me a smoothie menu resting on the counter and I’m signing up.

There is outdoor seating that enjoys long stretching views across the course, perfect for anyone who can visit whether they’re playing golf or not. Comfortable seating is essential and a shaded area to enable us to enjoy the outdoors without melting.

Women need to feel at home in a clubhouse and the one at Hamptworth feels less golf and more wine bar

Light and airy, the clubhouse at Hamptworth, Wiltshire

(Image credit: Andy Dow)


I’m a big fan of working remotely and even if I wasn’t a golf pro, I’d seek out a club that had decent views, coffee and breakfast options and super fast Wi-Fi.

My perfect club will attract a wide range of businesswomen because they can bring clients and work from the clubhouse or outside area. There is a brilliantly equipped gym with knowledgeable PTs on hand (like Hattie Lawrence) and a small pool with steam room to soak the muscles afterwards. Treatment rooms offer sports massage and physio, as well as manicures and facials.

Hattie working out

A well equipped but not oversized gym with knowledgeable trainers

(Image credit: Katie Dawkins)


I’ve got the pre-round side sorted. Now to the practice facilities. The practice area is tucked away behind the clubhouse and houses the most impressive short game area you’ve ever seen. Not too excessive, but a large green or two offering multiple tiers, bunkers and hitting areas for chipping from greenside. The surfaces are smooth and mimic that of the course. A perfect zone to perfect my short game.

The range is equipped with Trackman and offers both grass and Huxley mat surfaces. Each bay is spacious and equipped with a stand for a mobile phone so I can keep check of my swing. There is a bucket filled with bamboo tees next to a large bag stand complete with seat. This is somewhere I can come and really hone my game, take my time for a long afternoon of practice, or simply just to warm up.

The range balls are decent and the same brand throughout. This facility would have a few professionals available for lessons, covering multiple coaching styles and there would always be a female pro available. This is home to an amazing women’s academy, filled with beginner sessions, networking events and fun team-style golf where women support women. 

The junior programme is outstanding and offers coaching at weekends and during holidays. It then offers a progressive pathway for kids to get out on the stunning 6-hole academy course that my dream club also has. This academy course tees off next to the range and is shorter, almost a mini version of the 6 best holes on the main course. The academy course is used for coaching, beginners and for anyone wanting a quick taste of golf during their otherwise busy day. The condition is the same as the main course.

The perfect short game area at Woburn

The perfect short game area at Woburn

(Image credit: Getty Images)


The pro shop is stocked with an extensive range of leisure wear and golf wear. Women are thought about here and this reflects in the brands on offer. There is a wide selection of demo clubs available to take on the course. Custom fitting is available and the choice is vast. The shop sells beautiful thermos mugs and water bottles as this is a 'No Single Use Plastic' facility. There are water fill stations in the clubhouse, at the practice facility and on the course. 

Woman browsing an amazing range of womens clothing in the pro shop

A decent range of women's golfwear is essential 

(Image credit: Katie Dawkins)


The golf course is set up as 3 sets of 9 holes, so you can combine your rounds and experience a variety every time you play. Each 9 has different characteristics and 4 different teeing areas, catering for all abilities and hitting distances. There would be a forward tee specifically designed to encourage juniors and women out on the course sooner. Also a great opportunity for anyone who wants to head out and hone their shorter shots.

I’d choose a Tom McBroom design, which means you get a slightly wild Canadian feel  that the course is alive, and which is accentuated in the rough. Scattered with wild flowers amongst fescue grass, this course has a magical feel to it.

From each tee the hole laid out before me sends a glimmer of excitement through my bones. There is not a blind tee shot in sight on this course. The tee shot is inviting yet challenging. The most beautiful bunkers you’ve ever seen and with wispy fescue framing the fairways and greens. One of the 9 holes will be more open with stretching views and perhaps some water features.

Tobacco Road 6th hole

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

There is a decent walk between greens and the next tee, through woodland and passing wild flowers at every opportunity. The magical forest feel helps you compose yourself after each hole.

There is a restroom available and this is housed next to an idyllic halfway house that has smoothies, sausage rolls, healthy snacks and calorific treats on offer, and you pass it multiple times during a round.  

The round will end and I won’t feel too upset that I haven’t played my best as I feel totally refreshed thanks to the environment. If I’ve had a good game even better. What I’m saying is that my dream club makes me feel like I’m taking time for me. I haven’t been rushed around thanks to the 12 minutes between tee times. I felt I had the course to myself, as this place is on substantial acreage and each hole feels so individual. I can breathe a sigh of contentment as I pack my clubs away and head back to the clubhouse.

I feel I’ve earned a glass of something special so the wine menu here isn’t vast but it is good. Chosen by the members and sourced as locally as possible, a glass of English fizz may be on the cards. That plus a choice of superfood salads from the menu and I’m a happy woman.

Enjoying a glass after my round with my pal

Of course, the wine list should be gorgeous 

(Image credit: Future)


As I enjoy my glass of fizz there are multiple areas for families to come and enjoy the club. With a large climbing frame and outdoor areas for the kids to run riot without building sandcastles in the bunkers. This club would be somewhere my kids would want to hang out. A soft play area and kids cinema with bean bags (that can be used for members movie nights) means there’s plenty to keep kids occupied. A staffed 'Kids Club' would be epic, allowing more time for members to play golf.

To help women, more clubs should be forward thinking when it comes to childcare. A kids club could offer mini golf lessons - these kids are likely to be the future of the club. I’ve had a great time imagining this and actually many clubs are ticking these boxes.

This club has a rounded feel to it and almost an essence of an American country club that is welcoming and warm. Ahh to dream hey, but actually I believe a lot of clubs are picking up elements of this. They are growing and listening to what women want and need from a golf club. 

This explains why places like Foxhills and The Grove are popular with women. The golf club of the future has to tick so many boxes and I absolutely cannot wait to continually be pleasantly surprised when I visit a club that ticks much of my wish list. The future is bright, it’s shimmering with female sparkle and I can’t wait to watch it glow brighter and brighter.

Katie Dawkins
Advanced PGA Professional and freelance contributor

Katie is an Advanced PGA professional with over 20 years of coaching experience. She helps golfers of every age and ability to be the best versions of themselves. In January 2022 she was named as one of Golf Monthly's Top 50 Coaches.

Katie coaches the individual and uses her vast experience in technique, psychology and golf fitness to fix problems in a logical manner that is effective - she makes golf simple. Katie is now based on the edge of the New Forest. An experienced club coach, she developed GardenGOLF during lockdown and as well as coaching at Hamptworth Golf Club she freelances, operating via pop-up clinics and travelling to clients homes to help them use their space to improve. 

She has coached tour pros on both LET tour and the Challenge Tour as well as introduced many a beginner to the game. 

Katie has been writing instructional content for magazines for 20 years. Her creative approach to writing is fuelled by her sideline as an artist.