Course Rankings / Top 100 Courses etc

Having started the tame thread on “The Rules…” I thought I would start a non contentious thread on course rankings :wink: :laughing:

In my experience you will struggle to get people ever to agree on course rankings or even the criteria that should be used for ranking. Do we have any panellists on the board here :question:

Anyway a softball to start us off with - the top 100 courses in the world in 1939:

Interesting to see how much ebbs and flows over time, what courses go in and out of fashion…

Cheers, Arnie

Thanks Arnie…you just love to brew up trouble :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

I see there is even a course called Addington- very sneaky of you

For his next two threads he intends to talk about the existence or not of God and which is better, the playstation 3 or Xbox 360!


Anyway, nice to see Ireland well represented.

You still got that little sideline reviewing courses Arnie?

Oh yes the Addington, one of my favourites. As I said in the forum name thread

Its a classic example of a very good course that went out of fashion but is now back, in a minor way, thanks to a bit of tlc and marketing. The brilliance of the design never changed but a lot else goes into courses rising and falling in the ranking lists in my experience.

The first rule of fight club is…I have no idea what you are talking about Styles :astonished: :slight_smile:

Talking of Ireland, any thoughts Styles, Aiguille, Bom, anyone else on the finest courses in Ireland…top 10

That should keep you busy whilst I am off for a pint!

Cheers, Arnie

These are in order based on when they came to mind when thinking about the best course back home- maybe that makes them perfectly ordered in terms of my view, or maybe it doesn’t. Either way, these are 10 great courses!

County Down
Carlow- best heathland course in Ireland imo… no doubt ruined by modern gear.
Lahinch(personal favourite not necessarily due to anything other than I love the place)
Rosses Point
Ballybunion- I know it’s an easy pick, but it’s got some great holes
Killarney(Killeen)… it’s been redesigned, so who knows at this point.
Murvagh(an unsung gem in the North West)

Interesting to see Bel Air CC in LA ranked top 20 in the world. I have always thought of Bel Air as a great golf course. A bit short… but so is Cypress. I remember playing there as a kid and seeing the Silhouette of Alfred Hitchcock in the window of his Bel Air Estate home. The course was lined along the perimeter with a who’s who of Hollywood “A” lister mansions. I suppose a par 70 at 6400 is what has killed it’s ranking.

I however was surprised to see it way above LACC, or Pasa Tiempo for that matter as far as California courses back then.


Can only talk about the ones I have played so a lot are knocked out for me. Not fair to comment about something you haven’t played really.

However my Ireland top ten is:

  1. Royal County Down
  2. Royal Portrush
  3. The European
  4. Portmarnock
  5. Lahinch
  6. Ballyliffen
  7. Portsewart
  8. Castlerock
  9. Murvagh
  10. Concra Wood

Course not on my list that I’d like to play to see if they could make it on include:

The Old Head
Rosses Point
Palmerstown House
Lough Erne
Portmarnock Links
Druid’s Glen

and thats to name just a few!

I remember playing years ago at Portmarnock in The Irish Open…maybe 1990…I loved it… have you played there of late as I would certainly be scared that course may have become obsolete for tournament play these days
I see Styles hasn’t played there otherwise I would pose the same question to him

Played Druids Glen in The Open also in about 96…just OK…was more of a US style course inland which didn’t make it much different to a million other courses I have played… not as much stood out about that one

I have played Portmarnock Hugo, it made #4 on my list.

The one I haven’t played is the Bernhard Langer designed Portmaronock lInks.

Portmarnock is still a fantastic challenge, maybe more so. I remember watching Ian Woosnam tearing the place apart in the late 80s with ‘old gear’. That little guy could hit the ball a country mile! The last time I played there was an awful wet day but the course was in fantastic order and great fun.

I have had the pleasure of playing Portmarnock Old and the much newer Langer designed Links course. The Old was great, though we played it in a 35-40 mph wind, 3 hours sleep and a raging hangover which was interesting :wink: . I remember playing I think the gorgeous right to left par 4 3rd with the water/marshes on the right and birdieing it with a wind assisted drive and a SW. Two holes later we were coming back into the wind and we could barely make it over the sand hill which wasn’t more than 120 yards in front of us - at that point I think I sobered up lol! Some great par 3’s as well from memory - one that played not more than 115 yards (12th?) with devilish pot bunkers and the one bordering the sea (15th) with the wind howling off it. Great fun. Played with a old member in the afternoon who hit everything as a low rope hook, never in trouble! Reminded me of watching harry Bradshaw play Billy Casper on Shells WWOG from Portmarnock. Harry had some type of double overlapping grip and looked to be grinding Billy into the ground with that little hook. Who says swings don’t develop from where you grow up!

The Links was quite different, despite the early predictions that it would be the near equal of the Old I found it perfectly serviceable but instantly forgettable compared to the very best in Ireland! Might just have been me though…as the hangover came the day after :wink: Cheers, Arnie

Great list Bom, only sorry that I haven’t played more of them, but I will! Is there a more thrilling back 9 than at Ballybunion Old, not sure I have played it if there is. I also enjoyed the universally hated 2nd course the Cashen. Quirky - yes, unfair - quite probably, extreme - definitely, fun - well yes I think it was actually. That opinion would have me excommunicated on some golf architecture websites! I have heard great things about almost all of the rest from friends so will report back when I get a chance. Read somewhere Murvagh was on the way up rankings wise so your ahead of the curve there Bom.

I enjoyed the post Fazio changes Waterville as well though strange hybrid of the old and new in some ways.

Cheers, Arnie

Golf digest top 100 Irish courses 2010:

Murvagh up 30 Bom!

Denied my birdie on the 12th at Portmarnock!

Looks like summer, just like when I played :wink:

I haven’t played Portmarnock in a few years, but in the late 90’s they put in some savage tees that were a mile back so I’m sure they’re in full effect now. It’s such a great course overall. Must’ve been great in the Open back then!
I played in the Open at Druids around then too, not a great golf course like you say- one more of ‘those’. I also thought it was a crying shame to finally get the Ryder Cup to Ireland and to stage it on an Arnold Plamer designed course built in the '90’s! Money talks.

Great list, Arnie!!
I’m signing off here but I’ll get back to this later…

some interesting places in that top 100.

Hard to believe Letterkenny has got in, I’ve never played it myself but my Dad tells me it spends most of the winter under water!

It’ll be interesting to see if my home course - Balmoral gets into next years list. With 18 new USGA greens and a £30000 new USGA chipping area (money provided by the sports council thank you very much!) there has been a lot of money spent on it.

When I see the likes of Malone and Belvoir up there I reckon it has a chance. The two I mention are very pretty but Balmoral is much more of a test.

I’m disappointed to have only played 28 out of that top 100

Ahh. I see that now Styles… I think I saw the Portmarnock on your list to play and just sided that it was the one I was talking about… I found an an old article about Golf In Ireland in one of my old mags…will get around to posting it here when I get a chance to download and save it… had some great pics and some thoughts on some of the courses.

Thanks Bom, glad they did something to increase the length to catch it up…thankfully they had the space to do it…hopefully the new tees didn’t kill the true intention of how that course was meant to play… Is it money that hasn’t brought them back there for quite some time to Portmarnock? being the ‘other’ courses have more vested interest and $$ to throw around to hold the event… It would be great for them to play there again…
and like Arnie said the weather and wind could become a real challenge there and still make it a great enjoyable course… Pity it was so long ago i was there but I really liked it… I think Olazabal won the year I played?..him or Woosie maybe… I love those true old links style courses more than the manufactured water carry courses through a bunch of staked trees