Score Golf's Top 100 Ratings

For the second time, I have participated in Score Golf’s much discussed, much maligned, Top 100 in Canada ratings. I had such mixed feelings on the last ratings that architecture buffs Jeff Mingay, Ben Cowan-Dewar, Ian Andrew and myself gathered together to do our own Top 25 in Canada. The rationale was that once you get past 25 clubs in Canada, the pickings get pretty thin. I’m not saying there aren’t good golf courses outside that list — but they aren’t great golf courses. Our ratings offered some insight into why we felt the courses were placed in their respective locations on our list.

Anyway, I’m still involved in Score’s ratings this year, which are now using a web-based system to track various criteria to determine the Top 100 in the country. In 2004 I had played 18 of the top 20 (I was missing Salmon Arm and Royal Colwood, both of which I have still not played), and 64 of the Top 100. I’ve added a few in the past two years and in an effort for disclosure, I’ll let you know I rated more than 120 courses this time around.

The top ranked courses for me, with a point scale out of five, turned out to be:

  1. Highlands Links
  2. St. George’s
  3. Devil’s Paintbrush
  4. Hamilton
  5. Toronto Golf
  6. Banff
  7. Jasper
  8. Redtail
  9. National
  10. (a number tied at 4.1 total points)

Now a couple of those that would have found a home in the list (Eagle’s Nest, Blackhawk) are up for best new and won’t make the Top 100 list. As mentioned, I had lots with ratings around 4 to 4.1 out of five that would round out my Top 25, that included the likes of Bigwin Island, Oviinbyrd (also up for best new) and others.

I’ve always been disappointed that Score wasn’t more open about the way its raters voted in the panel. I always wanted to meet the people who actually though Silver Tip was a great golf course, or who really felt Hecla was in the Top 20 in Canada. Had they truly played coast to coast?

My great failing when it comes to the Top 100 list is that I’ve never been to Victoria to see Colwood. Hopefully I can fix that for the next time. Anyway, Score’s official list will appear next month.

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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.

14 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Are these your top 10 or the Score Top 10? It is not clear from your blog and I thought that Score likes to keep this secret until their TV special.

  • Robert, if you go back to Score’s last Top 100 issue, they clearly publish all the panelists names.

  • Yogi: While they publish the names, they don’t publish what they voted for. In that respect, I think OntarioGolf’s Top 50 list is more transparent.

  • Lucky enough to have played 8 of 10 on your list and were I to be resticted to only one of them again it would be without doubt the Paintbrush. More ways to play the course than you can count and always an enjoyable risk/reward day. As for the rating of courses in general, I have rarely not enjoyed a round of golf at any track that was honest in price and what it was aspiring to deliver. How about world rankings?

  • Rob, if I had any respect for Ontario Golf, I would agree. I am not surprised if the start ranking the best rock stars in Ontario. The magazine is a joke.

  • Rob. Wow, Wayne is right. Not only did you have the Abbey at #1 in Ontario, but you had Angus Glen at #2. What happened over the past 5 years? I’m amazed at how much your tastes have changed. It would be neat to see your top 10 rankings over the last number of years you’ve been doing them. I’d guess that most raters opinions evolve as well.

  • Look out for Coppinwood. Unbelievable golf course! This is the first course that I have played that I can recall EVERY hole. I encourage anyone who loves golf to play this Fazio beauty.

  • Why isn’t Hecla in the top 20 golf courses in Canada…… Its truely an amazing golf course and its like #1 in Manitoba…. These rankings are a little off I’d say.

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