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New GOLF WORLD Top 100 Britain and Ireland Courses

The new GOLF WORLD Top 100 are out and as usual this is quite an interesting list. In my humble opinion it should be the top 40 with quite a few other notables listed tied for 41st. Next week GOLF MONTHLY is presenting their list (and they are using a fine picture of our Torrance Course in their promotion of the Top 100). Our courses are undergoing great changes this year and I certainly did not expect either the Torrance (closed all of 2008 until next summer) or the Devlin (new configuration and new holes opening October 1st) to get inside the top 100 of anyone’s list (except mine of course).
I dislike lists, they should be kept personal and not become gospel. And advertising money and exclusivity should not influence the “published” ratings as much as they do.

Golf World’s first dozen courses, in their order:
1. Turnberry closing next month, hosting the Open next summer, new owners, Greg Norman hovering
2. Royal County Down should be #1 again
3. Royal Birkdale should be in top ten but around 8
4. The Old Course should always be tied for 2nd with Dornoch
5. Muirfield should be around 7th
6. Carnoustie should be 4th tied with Kingsbarns which is now 12th
7. Royal Portrush good position
8. Woodhall Spa not sure as I haven’t experienced it
9. Loch Lomond should be around 50th
10. Sunningdale Old perfect location, should be tied with Ballybunion Old which is 14th
11. Dornoch this gem should be a must play and tied with the Old Course as 2nd
12. Kingsbarns should be higher except for the greens

There are so many fantastic golfing experiences in the UK, but it is always difficult to get 18 superb holes in one layout. Everyone keeps telling me how great the first nine at Royal Aberdeen is, no one ever says anything about the back nine. Crail has some outstanding holes, as does North Berwick, Troon, Nairn, Doonbeg, Machrihanish, Cruden Bay, Old Head, The Dukes and others.

The next door Castle Course opened July 2nd this year is a solid 67th already. I predict that next year our Torrance should be around the same position, while our Devlin now renamed Kittocks should be around 50th. The Castle will rise in its second year to within the top 30. Time will tell, the Renaissance Club, the Grove and Celtic Manor (2010 Ryder Cup) should also move up and are not in the top 100 at present.

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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.

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