Changes to the Top 100 courses in the world

There’s a fascinating article on the web about the changes to the Top 100 Courses list by Golf Magazine over the last few years. The list, which gives each course’s position since 1991, shows that while little has changed in the Top 10 (the holy triumvirate of Pine Valley, Cypress and Augusta will always be there), the bottom end of the Top 100 has been witness to significant changes.
Interestingly, several Canadian courses have been on the list in past years, only to fall off. The National Golf Club of Canada was once as high as 72 on the list, but fell off completely as of the 2003 list. Similarly, Capilano and Royal Montreal were both once listed, but no longer appear in Golf’s hallowed pages. Other courses of note that have fallen off the list include Alister Mackenzie’s Pasatiempo, Tom Fazio’s excellent World Woods Pine Barrens (which just fell off this past list), and Lake Nona in Florida. Some have tumbled a long way — like Shoal Creek (yes, the one with the controversies), which was once 50 in the world, but no longer has a spot on the list. It took 14 years for Shoal Creek to entirely fall of the list, which raises some questions. Namely, have 50 better courses appeared since then? Was it not as strong in the first place? Did something happen to detract from its perceived greatness? Could it be the racial issue? After all, Shoal Creek lost the PGA Championship after it became known the club wouldn’t allow any African American members. The quote from the course’s chairman, Hal Thompson (also an Augusta member), was this: “The country club is our home, and we pick and choose who we want. We have the right to associate with whomever we choose.”
Anyway, if you are interested in the history of course rating, check out the entire story, with its list, here. While you are at it, check out the list of raters on the panel and you’ll find a couple of notable Canadians: journalist Lorne Rubenstein; Redtail owner Chris Goodwin; and golf designer Tom McBroom.

  • Other stories worth reading: A story on ESPN says the new schedule won’t make a bit of difference. The majors are the majors, apparently. While it probably doesn’t make for good TV ratings, it was good to see nice guy Bart Bryant win the Tour Championship this weekend. The Orlando Sentinel wraps up his win nicely. Jay Flemma’s blog has a nice interview with golf architect Jim Engh. Read it here.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

3 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Lake Nona should be put back on the list, it is most definately one of the most beautiful, challenging, and fun courses I have played in my life. As a low handicapper of 1 myself, I think that Lake Nona golf and country club gives the perfect combination of what any player wants on a course.

  • Just as an appendage to this news item – Mount Juliet here in Ireland was voted Irelands Best Parkland Course by Backspin Golf Magazine in March 2008.

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