An odd numbered year means Golf Digest and Golf Magazine roll out their rankings to a chorus of...well, this year to "what were they ingesting" and "you have to be kidding." The Golf Digest list seemed to generate its fair share of discussion, but mostly their decision to drop the "Tradition" score and move to an Ambiance category exposed just how bizarre the panel's taste can be. Which may have prompted this fall's Golf Digest Panelist Summit.
After years of credibility and solid lists, the leadership of Gary Galyean took the Golf Magazine list into shaky territory, with too many USGA hard-is-good-voters and many questions that needed to be raised (here, here and here). Golf's downfall was best exemplified by the ridiculous inclusion of a Korean course that had offered way too many people free rides to come play it.
Golfweek, which offers a yearly ranking, kindly added Rustic Canyon to its Modern list and continues to mature, albeit with minor hiccups ( compared to Golf and Golf Digest) and into the most reliable of the lists. If it only would not publish yearly, it's credibility would skyrocket.
The year in rankings was rounded out by the Golf Digest Best New lists, which proved their prophetic worth when two former "Best New" first place winners earned Best New status again when they made the magazine's Best New Remodel just a few years after being recognized for their original design. The two courses have positioned themselves nicely for the first ever competition of Best New Remodel of a former Best New Remodel.