The National GC of Canada is #1 according to the list posted on Scoregolf.com yesterday as part of its Top 100 in Canada ratings that appear every other year.
I must admit I find this very strange and troublesome on a bunch of levels. First of all, how many of the panelists actually saw the National with its recent changes, including significant alterations to #10, #16 and #18. While I’m one who thinks that the changes to 18 are very positive, the other two holes are questionable. That said, what course were the raters, of which I’m one, actually rating? The old course that no longer exists, or the current one?
My other issue is that “beauty” and “fun” were top characterisitics for the voting. The National is a lot of things, but fun isn’t one of them, and with some of the most ostentatious houses surrounding the course, I have a hard time calling it beautiful.
The same could be said of Royal Montreal’s Blue Course, which has been completely reworked in a more dramatic way than the National. I haven’t seen the new reworked Blue and had a hard to determining how to vote for it. But since it isn’t among my Top 20 in Canada anyway, I wasn’t as bothered. Still, the Blue fell outside of the Top 10 for the first time that I can recall, which must be upsetting to the folks in Montreal.
Thankfully Highlands Links, which was my top course, is the best public course in Canada, sitting at #7, which is a little low, but not bad. If more people saw the course this year that rating would surely be higher.
So what are the strange and interesting ratings?
– Devil’s Paintbrush is a great course and one of my personal faves, but I never thought it would be in the Top 5.
– Jasper is now well within the Top 10, where it should be.
– Taboo at #11 is about 30 spots too high.
– Redtail plunges to #20. I suspect this course gets hurt by the backlash that the experience is better than the golf. That’s simply not the case.
– Copper Creek at #23 is terrific for the course, but is this one really 30 spots better than Angus Glen South?
– Rod Whitman’s Blackhawk, one of the best new courses to be built in this country since the National in 1976, enters at 21. Should still be higher, but a good showing nonetheless. Whitman’s Wolf Creek sits one spot behind. That gives Rod as many courses in the Top 25 as Graham Cooke and Doug Carrick. Oh, and Rod has only built two courses in Canada. When are people going to start using him in Ontario?
– Glen Arbor at #24? Come on.
– How does Bear Mountain end up on the list even though its opening date of 2005 should have put it on the Best New list?
– Weston, now apparently devoid of any Willie Park Jr. features, is listed as a Doug Carrick course, and sits at 36. Ian Andrew actually did the work at the club, which still maintains its key Park features and is a great club. Nice to see its recent changes recognized.
– The flat, and very average, Nicklaus North at 37? Good god.
– The average Redtail Landing outside of Edmonton ahead of the excellent Cherry Hill Club in Fort Erie?
— London Hunt at #90? Wonder if that’ll change after its strong showing this week at the LPGA Canadian Women’s Open.
— SilverTip falls to #94! Yeah! Hopefully next time more will recognize it shouldn’t be on the list at all.
— Congrats to Steven Ward’s excellent Timber Ridge, which made the list at #95. Proves you can build an excellent public course at 6,600 yards and still be in the Top 100 in Canada without a $150 green fee.
– Scarboro at #67? About 50 spots too low.
– Oh, and Eagles Nest rightfully takes top new course ratings in the list, ahead of Dakota Dunes.
I’ll take a closer look at the list tomorrow to figure out what’s missing. There’s always something….
In case you are wondering who is responsible for the ratings, check out ScoreGolf.com’s list of raters. The only issue I actually have with this is that the website doesn’t include the Top 5 courses as voted by each individual panelist. Now that would be interesting. I also think the panel is far too small and should be at least doubled in size to better represent the broad scope of Canadian golf. But that’s just my take…