So much to line your birdcage with all at once! What to do? Save the ink cartridges.
You longtime readers know how I feel about the course rankings that are too high on experiential factors and depressingly low on timeless design appreciation. But to recap: Golf Digest's still doesn't carry the weight it should because the list includes Resistance to Scoring as a category, which might as well be called resistance to fun, resistance to character and resistance to soul.
Imagine a ranking of great films rewarding only those that run over three hours, or saying great restaurants get points for difficulty of making a reservation.
The big news this year: Augusta National overtook Pine Valley for the top spot this year. Neither reflects the brilliant vision of their founders who are held up as saints at both clubs. Yet neither is worthy of being known as the best course in America after letting Tom Fazio inject his special brand of mediocrity and his shameful lack of understanding of the foundation and soul of Bobby Jones and George Crump's creations. Architecturally, The National Golf Links of America is on another level right now. And it won't surprise you to learn they have not had a Fazio on the property to do any damage.
Then there is Golf Magazine, which debuted its World Top 100 a day after Digest this year and, while generally more in line with my architectural tastes, adds two courses that no one but royal family members can or would be ignorant enough to access. These are (literally) private courses that almost no one will ever see. One in particular is an embarrassment to the idea of semi-refined golf architecture, with a ranking inclusion so clearly out of place (attested privately by horrified Golf Magazine panelists) that it devalues the entire exercise by its very inclusion.
I won't bore you with the ongoing and pathetic Golf Magazine love affair with Nine Bridges, but instead, let you revel in the joy that is new World No. 76, Ayodhya Links...