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Score Top 100 Coming — My Top 15

It is a Score Top 100 Courses in Canada year, and last night I completed my Top 100 rating that was due this morning.

I’m heading on holiday for a few days, and given the relatively remote location, it isn’t clear that blogs will be forthcoming in the next few days. Ah, to not blog! That would be a change. I’ve blogged on vacations before, but usually that was in hotels with high-speed. Not the case in a lakeside village in Southern Ontario. Maybe I will blog, but at dial-up speeds I might be better sending them out to G4G readers by carrier pigeon.

Anyway, with that in mind, here is my Top 15 from the Score list.

1. Highlands Links Golf Club

2. St. George’s Golf and Country Club

3. Hamilton Golf and Country Club

4. Devil’s Paintbrush

5. Blackhawk Golf Club

6. Jasper Park Lodge Golf Course

7. Banff Springs Golf Club

8. National Golf Club of Canada

9. Red Tail Golf Course

10. Capilano Golf and Country Club

11. Eagles Nest Golf Club

12. Humber Valley Resort

13. Toronto Golf Club

14. Osprey Valley Golf Club Heathlands

15. Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club

Score’s 2006 list is here.

A couple of factors to keep in mind:

  1. Score went to a ten point scale from a five point scale. Each category (beauty, challenge, strategy, design, par-3s, par-4s, par-5s, conditioning and fun) and a simply added in numbers for each course. The program then averages them (on a weighted scale) and spits out my Top 10. I didn’t adjust it much, and left the list as is, though it might not meet the Top 10 I keep in my head.
  2. There are now more than 80 raters across the country for Score. It’ll be interesting to see how those numbers reflect in changes/alterations to previous lists. I have no idea how the list looks — but I’ll be intrigued when it is announced in a few week’s time. There’s going to be a television show on TSN to announce the list that I’ve been asked to be a part of. Should be fun. Watch it Aug. 17.
  3. This was a time consuming process. I rated 130 courses for the list, but had another 70 or so that I played but didn’t feel would make the Top 100. I suspect I’ve actually played closer to 300 courses in Canada.
  4. I awarded a couple of full 10s, based on the Canadian list. Highlands Links received 10 for beauty, while St. George’s received top grades for strategy and its par-4 holes.

With that in mind, let the debates begin. I want to see G4G readers’ Top 10. Am I off my rocker with The National at 8? Highlands at #1?

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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.

16 CommentsLeave a comment

  • RT, your list looks pretty reasonable to me. I think your score on the Paintbrush might be a little high, but I would agree it’s a fun course. Also, on a recent blog you mentioned that Osprey might be the best set of courses in one facility and someone piped up that the Pulpit & Paintbrush were a better mix. No way! Good to see you put the Heathlands on there.

  • Hmmm.

    In no particular order:

    St. George’s
    Tobiano
    National
    Coppinwood
    Muskoka Bay
    Hamilton
    Capilano
    Humber Valley
    Hamilton
    Devil’s Paintbrush
    Highland Links
    Jasper Park
    Beacon Hall
    Shaughnessy
    Toronto

    Also, RT, how come you changed your mind on Redtail and Paintbrush? In ’01, you ranked both Angus Glen and Glen Abbey higher.

    http://www.golf-courses.ca/courses/top502.html

  • Chivas: I’ve seen a lot more and understand design a lot better than I did in the summer of 2001. That’s the reason for the change.

  • good list. I feel in a top 10 most of the courses should be interchangable which means I feel you have 3 courses ranked too highly. The National and St George’s are my favourites with the Highlands being very special.
    Which Bob Cupp course is best?

  • which bob cupp? gotta be beacon hall, no?

    rt: i like the list… i also like that you didn’t bite on the new courses such as Tobiano and Coppinwood like Chivas did. Much like taking multiple plays to fully understand design intent, I believe that multiple plays and years is necessary to RANK courses… hype is sometimes just that… see: Nicklaus North.

  • Rob, you mention that you estimate you have played around 300 courses in Canada. This would certainly give you a good idea of what is out there.
    I am curious what would you say is the average number of Canadian courses the other 80 raters have each played….?

  • Ottawa: Interesting question. I have no idea about the answer.I will say one thing: I’d be disappointed if each ranker hasn’t at least seen the Top 20, and that means having played Highlands Links at the east, St. George’s and the National in the middle, and Capilano to the West. Without having seen or played those, I don’t know how you’d judge the best in the country. Just my honest opinion.

  • Regarding Bob Cupp: It was only last year when I played Mad River. I really liked it. Not more than Beacon Hall, I don’t think, but I enjoyed it. Neither is in my Top 20.

  • Banff Springs at number 7????
    Have they rerouted the course?? Lengthened it? Fixed up the Elk spots? Improved the speed of play? Dropped the cost?? Improved the service?? Improved the conditions?
    Highland links at number 1????
    It maybe one of the worst maintained courses in the top 100 RT.
    To give St. George’s a 10 rating on the par 4’s with the existence of their 10th hole??? That hole alone takes them out of the top 10.
    PS. That is the great thing about golf course design and ratings. Everyone is entitled to their view and each view provides for an interesting chat, which I look forward to.
    PSS. I rated 75 courses and did not include courses that did not have a chance of making the list. I have played all on your top 15 except Blackhawk, which I will see in early September.

  • John, I understand if your issue with Banff is the hole sequencing, but what’s the issue with the routing? Do you think lengthening it would improve it?

  • John: re: Banff Springs.
    The ratings for Score have nothing about pace of play, and Banff is well over 7,000 yards. You’ve gone through the ratings process, and there, quite frankly, isn’t a more beautiful course in Canada, and the par-3s are without comparison in Canada. I didn’t think this would be as high as it appears, especially given the conditioning, which I rated as a 6 if I recall correctly. But it did, and I don’t have a problem with it.

    Re: St. George’s. I see no problem with the 10th, quite frankly. There are three ways to play it and none are that much of an issue. The second, fifth, 14th, 17th, and 18th are amongst the best in the country. Hard to argue with that and I’d put them up against anything, including your National with its terrible 16th (which is currently far worse than the 10th at St. George’s).

    And we’re up for a game, aren’t we — double bill of Eagles Nest and the National?

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