Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Original Golf Magazine List of Greatest Courses

In the process of researching my next post I came across the original list that Golf Magazine published in October 1979. In fact, it was not a "top 100" list but was the "50 Greatest Golf Courses in the World". It wasn't until 1982 that Golf Magazine expanded the list to 100 courses.

For the golf crazed, it gives us something more to do. I have long been looking for a reason to go to Italy to play golf and this list provides the incentive. The Pevero Golf Course in Sardinia was designed by Robert Trent Jones in 1967 and is on the original list. It rates a passing note in the original limited edition Confidential Guide to Golf Courses by Tom Doak and notes that it was funded with money from the Aga Khan. Sadly, like many courses that are new and initially hyped, but fade from the lists, Pevero is now a footnote among the world's greatest courses (a 1960s version of the idiot Trump courses).

The Pevero Golf Course in Sardinia

There are some shocking absences from the original list including Sunningdale (Old), National Golf Links of America, New South Wales and Royal Portrush. Asia and the Mediterranean also rate a lot high than they do today.

The 1979 list, which is organized by geography and is not numbered:

United States
Augusta National
Baltusrol (Lower), Springfield, NJ
Butler National, Oak Brook, IL
Champions Golf Course, Houston, TX
Cypress Point, CA
Firestone Country Club (South), Akron, OH
Harbourtown, GC, Hilton Head, SC
Medinah #3, Medinah, IL
Merion (East), Ardmore, PA
Muirfield Village, Dublin, OH
Oakland Hills (South), Birmingham, MI
Olympic Club, San Francisco, CA
Pebble Beach
Pinehurst #2
Pine Valley Golf Club, Clementon, NJ
Riviera Golf Club, Pacific Palisades, CA
Seminole Golf Club, North Palm Beach, FL
Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, Southampton, NY
Southern Hills CC, Tulsa, OK
Winged Foot (West), Mamaroneck, NY

Canada and Latin America
Club de Golf Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico
El Rincon Golf Club, Bogota, Columbia
Glen Abbey Golf Club, Oakville, Ontario, Canada

Britain and Ireland
Ballybunion, GC, County Kerry, Ireland
Carnoustie Links, Dundee, Scotland
Muirfield, Scotland
Portmarnock Golf Club, Dublin Ireland
Royal Birkdale, Southport, England
Royal County Down, Newcastle, Northern Ireland
Royal St. George's, Sandwich, England
St. Andrews (Old Course), St. Andrews, Scotland
Troon, Ayrshire, Scotland
Turnberry (Ailsa), Turnberry, Scotland
Wentworth, Surrey, England

Club de Golf Sotogrande (Old Course), Cadiz Spain
Pevero Golf Club, Sardinia, Italy
Real Club De Campo, Madrid, Spain
Royal Golf Rabat, Dar-es-Salam, Morocco

Pacific, Far East and South Africa
Bali Handara Golf Club, Bali, Indonesia
Hirono Golf Club, Kobe, Japan
Kasumigaseki (East), Tokyo, Japan
Kawana Golf Club (Fuji), Ito, Japan
Royal Durban Golf Club, Durban, South Africa
Royal Hong Kong Golf Club, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Royal Melbourne (Composite), Melbourne, Australia
Royal Selangor Golf Club (Old), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Singapore Golf Club (Bukit), Singapore
Taiwan Golf & Country Club, Taipei, Taiwan
Wack Wack Golf & Country Club (East), Manila, Philippines

Royal Golf Rabat, Dar-es-Salam, Morocco


Turley2.0 said...

Today, Champions barely is mentioned in a list of top Texas courses, much less the world. Too bad. You should play there.

Anonymous said...

Pevero Golf Club dropped from the lists in the 80's/90's but I would say it's making it's way back. I played it in the late 80's and was a bit dissapointed. The scenery took my breath away but the course's maintenance was of "italian" standard.
Then I played it again a few years ago and was happy to see that albeit the scenery was as spectacular as ever, the staff had the course in excellent condition. It's in a fantastic setting, right next to the marvelous hotel "Cala di Volpe" (scene of some of the action in "the Spy who loved me"). As you mentioned, Aga Khan developed the region named Costa Smeralda in the 60's. It's a fantastic area to spend a few weeks in the summer.
I would also recommend a day trip over to Corsica, to play Il Sperone. Perhaps even more dramatic than Pevero, it's a "must play" when visiting this part of the world..;)

Anonymous said...

I played Champions in Oct 2012. I can respect it's tradition, but it has definitely been passed up with better layouts elsewhere. Greens were rock hard fast and nicely kept. The biggest higlight was meeting the founder of the club and Masters winner Jack Burke, Jr.

Drew said...

LOL at Chicago Golf Club not being on that list. Most likely due to its small membership and lack of hosting tournaments on a regular basis. Such a great course, absurd that it wasn't on that top 50 list (along with its Charles B. Macdonald counterpart National, as you mentioned).

Club de Golf Mexico (in the south part of Mexico City) is extremely MEH. Nothing special. Not even in the top 50 of Golfweek's 2012 'Best Mexican and Caribbean Courses'. That course was probably just thrown on the list to make the list sound sophisticated by choosing a Latin American Course. CDGM has definitely been overtaken by other courses in Mexico, and even in Mexico City, Bosque Real (pretty new) is a cooler experience.

Tom Hardy said...

This is perfect for what I'm searching for! My brother and I are going on a trip around the USA and want to stop and play golf in some places, anyone know of some golf websites that would help better our information?

Rose Pipper said...

Thanks for sharing. I would love to find more great golf websites. I'm a huge fan of the PGA tour. My husband and I play all the time.

Anonymous said...

Arguably One of the 5 or so top classic courses in Continental Europe. (The others: Les Bordes, Morfontaine, San Lorenzo , and ...) Usually in impeccable conditions since the 90s it was recently qa bit down ... a nd sold to the Quatari. That should improve conditions. Best month to play: June with windy conditions, no crowds.

Sperone is on the opposite side of the Boca de Bonifacio but a far cry from Pevero in corse design. Half of the holes are just average ...
Trent Jones jr....

As you say, Pevero is a course for grown up golfers who can draw the ball.