Riled Up Over Golf Course Rankings?

There is nothing like a golf course ranking list to get golf people all worked up. OK, maybe slow play and the state of the game of golf are topics to engage and enrage but I digress. On January 6, Golf Digest came up with a top 100 list of golf courses in the United States and a Top 30 list in Canada. Based on twitter traffic which ensued from people in the industry such as Gary Williams, Matt Ginella and Ashley Mayo, there was some ‘spirited’ responses. I have already written about my feelings on golf lists; I love them. But perhaps Robert Thompson is correct in that we’ve reached a saturation point around course ranking lists.

This list, in comparison to a list I regularly watch for, the Canadian SCORE Golf list, sees notable differences emerge from spots 5-10. One variable I want to emphasize is these lists focus on courses which are publicly accessible. Golf Digest’s list identified 12 public courses in Canada. I took their top 10 and contrast that to the 2014 SCORE Golf top public courses. Lastly I share my own list – a top 10 list. It’s limited and based on courses I’ve played. In making my choices I focused on which course would l like to play if it was the only one I could ever play.

2015 Golf Digest                          2014 SCORE Golf                                36aday’s List
Cabot Links                                    Cabot Links                                            Highlands Links
Banff Springs                                 Jasper Park                                            Cabot Links
Jasper Park                                    Banff Springs                                         Humber Valley
Highlands Links                            Highlands Links                                   Dakota Dunes
Muskoka Bay                                 Sagebrush                                               Black Bear Ridge
Bigwin Island                                 Tobiano                                                   The Lakes
Sagebrush                                       Links at Crowbush Cove                      Grand Niagara
Links at Crowbush Cove              Humber Valley                                       Tarandowah
Tobiano                                           Muskoka Bay                                          Bear Mountain – Mtn
Big Sky                                            Greywolf                                                   Batteaux Creek

The obvious distinction is I cannot make a determination around courses I have not played (yet); there are several on the Golf Digest and SCORE Golf list I have yet to play. But it does demonstrate to me that opulence does not always correlate to playability for me. I have omitted courses like Glen Abbey, Eagles Nest and Copper Creek, all of which are on SCORE Golf’s Top 100. Don’t get me wrong, I like them. But I don’t love them and they’re not on a top 10 list for me…and I suspect once I’ve played my bucket list they may not make the top 20 or 25.
What are your favourite public courses in Canada? Are there any I need to add to my bucket list? Are there some on my top 10 list which have you scratching your head? Are you tired of these lists? Are they way off base? I love debating golf but like Ashley Mayo mentioned to me:

Ashley Mayo ‏@AshleyKMayo
@36aday I, too, LOVE the debate. I don’t love it when people trash each other simply because they don’t share the same opinion.