GOLF Magazine Reveals New Ranking of the “Top 100 Courses in the World”
A select group of experts compile GOLF’s biennial list of the best golf courses on the planet; Refreshed approach makes this year’s list the most diverse to date
New York, NY (December 10, 2019) — Pine Valley remains number one, but Scotland’s Royal Dornoch makes a dramatic leap into the Top Ten. Two Long Island courses crack the Top Five, while nearly a dozen courses reenter or make the list for the first time.
These are just some of the interesting results from GOLF Magazine’s biennial ranking of the “Top 100 Courses in the World,” which has been reimagined for 2020-2021 to reflect current trends in design, playability and course architecture.
For more than 30 years, GOLF has been compiling the most esteemed ranking of the “Top 100 Courses in the World.” The new edition features the meticulous and in-depth analysis that readers of GOLF have come to expect, with a refreshed viewpoint that has resulted in some unexpected movement in the course ranking.
A select group of 80 well-traveled course raters assigned values to a list of more than 430 eligible courses to come up with GOLF’s final ranking. Unlike many “best” lists that utilize thousands of raters, GOLF takes a “less is more” approach, resulting in a smart and streamlined compilation of the best courses from every corner of the globe.
For this year’s edition, the editors of GOLF were inspired to develop a refreshing new approach to the selection process. In recent years, a “bigger is better” trend took hold and consequently the importance of design and playability suffered. Determined to reverse that logic, the 2020-2021 list doesn’t focus solely on name brands, but rather on emerging architectural trends, improvements to existing courses and overall design excellence. This new perspective yields fascinating results: a total of 11 courses were included on the list for the first time or came back to the rank, while 18 of the course selections were built in this century.
In some of the more interesting results, Royal Dornach leapt five full spots to reach number 10, while two well-regarded courses on New York’s Long Island, Shinnecock Hills and National Golf Links of America, both jumped into the Top Five.
GOLF’s editors believe this reimagining of the Top 100 ranking reflects an emphasis of the full golfing experience, not just the physical challenge of the course itself. And the belief that a round should take little more than three hours to complete weighed heavily on raters’ minds – thus, short courses that ooze character were increasingly valued.
“Everyone here at GOLF is excited about how the list turned out, the new direction we took this year clearly reflects the modern approach to the game we love” said David DeNunzio, Editor-In-Chief of GOLF. “Seeing jumps by the oldest course on the list, Prestwick, as well as undervalued courses such as Somerset Hills, Swinley Forest and Sleepy Hollow, tells you everything you need to know about the strength of the new list.”
Identifying trends helps predict why certain courses come on or fall off the list.
“One of the hardest things to accomplish in architecture is designing a course that everyone from ages 10 to 70 can play together and have fun” said GOLF’s Architecture Editor, Ran Morrissett, who oversaw this year’s rankings. “The courses that fall into that category really flourished on the new list.”
GOLF’s Top 100 Courses in the World is sure to be the subject of intense debate in the golf community, with enthusiasts at all levels comparing GOLF’s rankings with their own. With that in mind, throughout 2020 GOLF will bring readers additional viewpoints from high-profile golfers from the worlds of sports, entertainment, politics and business, all of whom will share their own personal Top 10 – starting with GOLF’s publisher Howard Milstein in the February 2020 issue.
GOLF’s Top 100 Courses in the World ranking was unveiled online just before Thanksgiving and is featured in the December 2019 print issue now available on newsstands. The list of GOLF’s Top 100 courses can be found on the GOLF.com website, here.
About GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com
Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2019, GOLF – including GOLF Magazine, GOLF.com, and associated digital, video and social media platforms – is the premier media brand for all-things golf. GOLF Magazine reaches an audience of 4.2 million people, while more than 6 million people engage with the brand across our GOLF.com and GOLF social channels. GOLF’s celebrated franchise includes the GOLF Top 100 Courses (including World and U.S. editions); GOLF’s Top 100 Courses You Can Play; GOLF’s Top 100 Teachers in America; the GOLF Fix Finder app; and GOLF Films productions. With innovative content covering equipment, instruction, travel and lifestyle, GOLF is the definitive voice of the sport on and off the course, dedicated to enhancing every golfer’s enjoyment of the game.
About 8AM Golf
GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com are part of the 8AM Golf family. 8AM Golf was created by golf entrepreneur and GOLF publisher Howard Milstein as the holding company that oversees his golf companies—all of which are dedicated to helping golfers at every level enjoy the game more. In addition to GOLF and GOLF.com, other 8AM Golf companies include the Nicklaus Companies (in partnership with Jack Nicklaus); legendary club maker Miura Golf; True Spec Golf, a brand-agnostic club-fitting company that has fit more than 30,000 golfers worldwide; GolfLogix, the most-downloaded GPS app in golf; and Club Conex, a global leader in the design and manufacturing of adjustable golf club adapter systems.
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