I'm not sure how many of you have received the Golf Magazine course ranking issue, but it did cause me to put the brakes on my normal power-flip through the mag. Which is good since I have gotten a few paper cuts lately trying to break my all time leaf through record of 63.6 seconds.
Well, besides the stuff I linked earlier, there were a few panelist sidebars describing their favorite courses, and other than ones from Larry Lambrecht and Masa Nishijima, these descriptions are not exactly packed architectural revelations.
Which brings me to a general thought about the list. While I still agree with it more than Golf Digest's, there is a sense that its panel is a bit behind the times, while Golf Digest, for all of its faults, seems to have a more active group out monitoring what's going on at our best courses.
That's not to say that I think heavy turnover on a list is a good thing, but we are living in a very exciting time with so many compelling new courses, cutting edge restorations and a newfound appreciation for many architectural elements. Looking at the Golf panel and the list it has produced, I just sense there is a lot of dead (star name) weight and an excess of conflict of interests holding back the enthusiasts from really putting together a list that highlights fun, interesting and timeless architecture.
But it's Joe Passov's first full list and if given the time and freedom, I suspect he'll put together a stronger panel.
This also caught my eye:
In 2007, we switched to a web-based system that allowed panelists to vote on a combined master list of 475 courses from around the world. Panelists can only vote for courses they've played. (On average each panelist has played 73 courses on the World Top 100 list.) From this master list, the top 100 point earners make up our Top 100 Courses in the World. The Top 100 in the U.S. are determined by taking U.S. courses from the World list, in order, and then rounding out the list with the remaining top point earners that did not make the World list.
The points break down as follows: Each course placing in the top three earns 100 points; spots 4-10 earn 85 points, followed by 11-25 (70 points), 26-50 (60 points), 51-75 (50 points), 76-100 (40 points), 101-150 (30 points), 151-200 (20 points), 201-250 (10 points), 251+ (0 points). Any course that received a "remove from ballot" vote has 10 points deducted. The results at the top were remarkably similar to 2005, with Pine Valley, Cypress Point, St. Andrews' Old Course and Augusta National keeping their 1-4 spots.
Does anyone understand this balloting system. Help me here!
This was interesting:
Our rankings are guided by our panel, whose 100 members represent 15 countries. The men and women who cast their votes include major-championship winners, Ryder Cup players, architects, leading amateurs, journalists and a cadre of nearly a dozen course connoisseurs who've had the doggedness to play all Top 100 Courses in the World.
To keep it fair, course architects and course owners on the committee can't vote on their own properties. In the end, the opinions of our staff editors are factored in as well.
So we trust the panel to figure out a great course, but we re-jig the final tally as we see fit. Well, at least they're honest about.
Now, that doesn't explain how Torrey Pines-South is still on the list.