Some thoughts on the Golf Course critics and their lists
10/01/2009

I’ve spent a great deal of time analyzing the major golf course critics in the
world.  I think I have captured the essence of the process that these raters/critics
go through.  Below I have put a little blurb about each one that I think can add
some value to the golfing world.  However, as I’ve posted on many places in my
site (and I will re-iterate again here)…it is vital that each golfer know what
they like in a golf course in order to get the most out of these lists
.  
Furthermore, understanding the nuances of the lists will also add to their
usefulness.


Golf Digest…Golf Digest is the most widely distributed golf magazine in the
world.  Therefore, their lists get read more than anyone else’s.  However, golf
course architecture experts don’t seem to value the lists put out by GD as much
as others.  Perhaps this is due to the fact that GD seems to like the beautiful golf
courses of the world better than other types of courses.  However, they also
have a legacy for loving difficult golf courses.  Beautifully brutal, perhaps.

Golfweek…The lists put out by Golfweek are unique.  For starters, they have a
Top 100 Modern and a Top 100 Classic golf course list.  However, by simply
using the information that Golfweek provides it is quite simple to derive their
inclusive Top 100 list.  In either case, Golfweek has a clear and transparent
process that seems to gravitate towards courses with sound golf course
architecture.  I like to say that Golfweek is all about the golf and prefers to leave
the glitz behind.  This is similar to Ben Hogan saying, “I don’t like the glamour, I
just like the game.”  If this mindset is similar to yours, check out Golfweek.

Golf Magazine…The lists put out by Golf Magazine appear to be a hybrid
between Golf Digest and Golfweek.  They certainly appear to value traditional
golf course architectural concepts, but they also include some fantastically
beautiful golf courses.  If you can appreciate both styles, take a look at the
pages within Golf Magazine.

Top 100 Golf Courses of the World…I found these lists online.  They have a
process in which they amalgamate all of the third-party rankings and then add in
the opinions of their readers to derive their Top 100 lists.  Due to this process,
there are not a lot of surprises in their lists.  However, you get a real good feel of
what the golf course community as a whole feels about each and every course.  
Frankly, I have seen two wildly divergent opinions on this type of process.  Some
really don’t like it at all, as they use others work to derive their lists.  While others
really like it.  The interesting thing about these lists is that they are not limited to
one area of the world.  In fact, they have a Top 100 in the World but they also
have a Top 100 in the USA, Britain and Ireland, Continental Europe, England,
Ireland, Scotland, and Spain.  Furthermore, they have a list called “Your Gems,”
in which readers can send in their thoughts relative to courses they think should
be on the Top 100 list.  This is where the surprises are and, frankly, it makes for
interesting reading.


“Playing the Top 100 Courses” deserves mention for its founders first hand
experience playing many of the world’s best courses