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Picking The Top 100 Golf Courses

Picking The Top 100 Golf Courses

Golf Digest’s biennial listing of America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses and Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Courses You Can Play compilations were recently released.

Rather predictably, Pine Valley out-dueled Augusta National to gain top course honors on Golf Digest’s list. Pebble Beach, to nobody’s surprise, once again took home the Public “Belle of the Ball” honors with Golf Magazine.

As In Life, The Rich Get Richer With These Highest Ranking Courses

Digging further into the ranking machinations:

Golf Digest

  • 1900 evaluators, assessing 1600 courses in USA/Canada
  • 7 criteria used (Shot Options, Challenge, Layout Variety, Distinctiveness, Aesthetics, Conditioning, Character)
  • For the America’s 100 Greatest list, courses need 75 evaluations over a 10-year period
  • For the Top 100 Public list, 35 evaluations in the same period are required

Golf Magazine

  • 100 evaluators vote on 460 candidate courses
  • can only evaluate the courses they have played
  • evaluators: professional golfers, architects, “industry experts”
  • criteria for course evaluation include: Design, Setting, Course Condition, Creativity

Golf Magazine publicizes names of their evaluators; Golf Digest is a nope.

Many of the courses on Golf Digest’s list (including the top 7!) are ultra-private and not available to the golfing masses. As Del Griffith once proclaimed, you’d have better success playing Pick-Up-Stix with your buttcheeks than getting a tee time at these fabled clubs.

Just because it’s public don’t make it cheap!

Tackling the list of publicly-accessible tracks from Golf Magazine - tee times are surely available, but at a pretty significant cost. Playing the top 10, you will fork over almost $4000 (even “slumming it” on the next 10 is a whopping $3100).

Does not include your beer.

These costs are exclusive of the required lodging at many facilities as well as the usual travel-associated costs; so much for making the game more accessible.