This is not news to followers, but I love golf course ranking lists. They generate interest, discussion and debate and help show off the true quality this country offers from coast to coast.
And the seminal list that checks off all boxes listed above is the SCORE Golf Top 100 list. This biennial list is complemented in opposite years by a more accessible Top 59 Courses You Can Play list. The rigour of the SCORE course criteria is impressive, and as Editor Jason Logan has stated, the only focus is on the course. Clubhouse, food, staff, etc are not considered.
No list is perfect, as top courses are in the eyes of the beholder. And having almost 2100 courses to choose from, the list truly reflects a consistent high level of quality in that the differences from 20 to 100 may be more subtle than one would think. But here are some observations and reflections:
- Private Clubs Shine – there are almost 60 private clubs on the list. I have played a small number of these courses, but like many of you, I do not have access to these courses and take the reviewers at their word. But this high number of private courses means that several quality publicly accessible courses are not on the list.
- No Prairie Love – Only 1 course between Manitoba and Saskatchewan is simply odd to me. I struggle to see how this could be. And given the marketing potential for courses/regions to leverage profile from this list it is unfortunate that this is the case. And while one may argue this is simply the truth, I know Prairie Golf Magazine’s Jeremy Kehler respectfully and strongly disagrees.
- Does this open new list opportunities? – The Top 100 is almost low hanging fruit, it is an easy concept and while highly subjective could open itself up to other lists such as: Canada’s best golf value plays; The top 200 public courses in Canada (why stop at 59); Best courses under $50/$75; Unheralded golf courses…there’s no shortage of options. But for non-country club players perhaps we need expanded efforts?
I refuse to be overly critical of the work done by SCORE Golf here; I understand the limitations of course ranking lists and appreciate the subjective nature of them. In fact, I applaud their effort and commitment to this work. The top 10 may be as accurate as it ever has been and there are new courses and some placed higher than before that pique my interest to experience. And, of course, there are many which I’d add on my own Top 100 list.
What I have come to understand over the years, and this seems cemented now, is that the SCORE Golf Top 59 Courses You Can Play, is the most important list to me. And we’re only a year away but for now I will pour over the Top 100 list, and others like it, to see what stands out and what may be missing. And maybe start my own ranking list? Perhaps in time. But I will share this:
36 A Day’s Omissions from the SCORE Golf 100 List
- Dakota Dunes – Saskatchewan
- Talking Rock – British Columbia
- Algonquin – New Brunswick
- The Lakes – Nova Scotia
- Dundarave – Prince Edward Island
- Tarandowah – Ontario
What are your thoughts on SCORE Golf’s Top 100 list? Any notable omissions or surprises for you?