Thursday, March 01, 2012

My Personal Top 50 Courses in the World

Have you ever been asked "If you could play just one course, what would it be?" For Ben Hogan, the one course he said he could play happily for the rest of his life was Seminole. Tom Lehman wrote a letter to Shinnecock Hills in 1995 stating, "If I were given one day to live, and could play any course that I wanted for my last round, I would choose Shinnecock." I actually think this is the wrong question. I'm too greedy to limit the list to just one course.

The right question would be, if you had unlimited time and money, and access to whatever courses you wanted, which courses would you put on your short list to play. Think of it as your own personal global Open Championship rota of courses.

Try sometime to rank the top golf courses you have seen or played. Then take out a blank sheet of paper and try to write it down again. Or think about it a few days and try it again. Try it again and see if you come up with the same list. It's a futile exercise. My own personal experience is that it is easier to bucket courses into categories or group them together. Below is my current list:

RA 7 bunkers.jpg
The bunkering on Royal Adelaide's 7th hole

Top 10
Cypress Point
National Golf Links of America
Sand Hills
Loch Lomond
Sunningdale (Old)
Cruden Bay
Royal Portrush (Dunluce)
Royal Adelaide
12th green
Sunningdale's 12th green
Next 10
Shinnecock Hills
Pine Valley
Yeamans Hall
Royal County Down
Jack's Point
Woodhall Spa
Barnbougle Dunes
San Francisco Golf Club

jack's point 15th
Jack's Point's fifteenth hole in Queenstown, NZ

Next 10
Whippoorwill Club
Los Angeles Country Club
Somerset Hills
Royal Melbourne West
Kauri Cliffs
Bethpage Black
New South Wales

4th green

Whippoorwill's par three 4th hole

Next 10
Pebble Beach
Crystal Downs
Baltimore (Five Farms)
Garden City Mens Club
Myopia Hunt Club
Highlands Links

1st hole
Prestwick's ideal opening hole

Next 10
Bandon Dunes
The Valley Club of Montecito
Kiawah (Ocean Course)
Pinehurst #2
Royal Dornoch
Chicago Golf Club
Royal St. George's
Royal Liverpool
H14 fwy
Hirono's crazy sloping 14th fairway

The smart aleck's among you have probably noticed that I don't know how to count. I did take a little liberty to include eleven courses in each category because it's very difficult to keep it to ten and I've never been particularly good at math. If you don't like that approach, create your own list.