The Passionate Imperfection of a National Top 100 Courses List

I’m a lists guy. I have them everywhere. There’s my bucket list (which now requires a serious update). And there are the mundane day to day lists but talking great golf courses of Canada is anything but mundane. Sports lend themselves well to arguing greatness. I have friends that will argue every chance we get who are the best baseball and hockey players of all time. Comparing stats across generations creates apples to oranges arguments for some. Do we have the same issue when discussing great golf courses in Canada? There are modern designs versus historic or classic tracks. And unless you’re Robert Thompson it’s likely you have not played a significantly large number of courses on the list. I’ve played 11 of the SCOREGolf Top 100 and really need to step up my game here.

I love the fact that Grand Niagara made the list. My review of that course from earlier this year is woefully inadequate having played there two times since. The more I play it the more I love it; there are subtleties to the course which make it a tough test. And while it lacks the jaw dropping beauty of ocean or mountain courses, the conditioning is flawless. Then there’s the immaculate and value-winner Black Bear Ridge in Belleville. It’s a great course, but to see it at 100 only whets the appetite for me to get out and play others on the list. Humber Valley in Newfoundland was a pleasant surprise to be ranked so high. But it is breathtaking and backed up with one of the best layouts I’ve experienced. I didn’t love Bear Mountain’s Mountain course but feel it deserves top 100 rankings. Dakota Dunes deserves its spot on the list, maybe a higher ranking too.

Some courses will be disappointed to miss out. The marketing opportunity of being on the list is not insignificant. Stunning courses like The Lakes in Ben Eoin, Nova Scotia complement the stout top 10 courses also on Cape Breton Island, Cabot Links and Highlands Links. And while I could kick up a fuss and argue that The Lakes was robbed of a rightful place on this list, I see the imperfection of a national list of the top 100 courses. My advice, market yourself as #101 and play up the convenience of being so close to such great courses like Cabot Links and Highlands Links.

As for us players, let’s respectfully engage in the dialogue. Let’s share the omissions, question the courses which made it which are not as great as your favorite and then let’s do ourselves a favour and get out and play some of these gems…let’s make informed decisions.
I will pour myself a Triple Bogey, review the list again and later this week chime in on twitter using #SGTop100. As for the baseball and hockey players…that’s easy, it’s Ruth and Orr. Now the bigger question, will Cabot Cliffs break Cabot Links record for a debut high when the 2016 list comes out?