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Tom_Doak

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The Top 100 Donald Ross Courses
« on: January 24, 2018, 09:58:58 AM »
It occurred to me a couple of years ago that the 100th best Donald Ross course must still be pretty good.  Now that I'm jet lagged and can't focus on work for a couple of days, I thought I'd give it a shot, but I haven't seen quite enough to qualify.


Between Volumes 2 & 3 of The Confidential Guide, there were 81 Ross courses which at least one of us rated a 5 on the Doak Scale.  It's certainly an imperfect ranking, as many of them are held back by my co-authors' lack of initiative [many have only a single vote]; but it seems like a pretty good start, so I will list what we have below. 


I'm listing them in order, based on the highest rating they received from any of the four of us.  Here goes:


1.  Pinehurst #2             [1x10]
2.  Seminole                  [2x9]
3.  Oakland Hills South    [1x9]
4.  Essex County             [3x8]
5.  Inverness                  [2x8]


6-10.  Glens Falls, Plainfield, Salem, White Bear Yacht Club, Whitinsville  [each with one 8]


11. Aronimink [4x7]
12-16.  Franklin Hills, Holston Hills, Oak Hill East, Scioto, Wannamoisett [3x7]
17-21.  Beverly, Charlotte CC, Mid Pines, Roaring Gap, Winchester [2x7]


22-34.  Bald Peak, Barton Hills, Broadmoor (IN), Charles River, East Lake, French Lick, George Wright, Monroe [NY], Mountain Ridge, Northland, Oyster Harbors, Pine Needles, Skokie  [1x7]


35.  Highlands (NC) [3x6]
36-39.  Augusta CC, Oak Hill West, The Orchards, Teugega  [2x6]


40-63.  Biltmore Forest, Birmingham (MI) [not a Ross - my mistake], Brae Burn, Brookside (OH), CC of Buffalo, Carolina GC, Cedar Rapids, Cherokee (TN), Detroit GC (South), Essex (ON), Idle Hour (KY), Kahkwa, Linville, Longmeadow, Metacomet, CC of Mobile, Old Elm, Penobscot Valley, Plymouth (MA), Portland (ME), Raleigh, Rhode Island CC, Rolling Rock, Southern Pines, Wilmington GC  [all with 1x6]


64-68.  Broadmoor East (CO), Detroit GC, Gulph Mills, Wampanoag, Worcester  [2x5]


69-81.  Cape Fear, Denison, Grosse Ile [corrected omission], Kenosha, Lake Sunapee, Mark Twain, Minikahda, Misquamicut, Mohawk, CC of Rochester (NY), The Sagamore, Sakonnet, Woodhill




Still, this doesn't get us to 100, so I'll ask you all to make suggestions for the list.  Please suggest a Doak Scale number so we can place the course accordingly.  If you want, you can second someone else's nomination, but two votes on a course should be plenty for these purposes.


 
« Last Edit: January 24, 2018, 11:15:43 AM by Tom_Doak »

Jeff_Brauer

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Re: The Top 100 Donald Ross Courses
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2018, 10:01:32 AM »
Don't know enough to contribute, but was wondering if you mean only still in existence courses, or would some NLE count, if one of us happened to have seen it or played it way back when?
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

Tom_Doak

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Re: The Top 100 Donald Ross Courses
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2018, 10:09:27 AM »
Don't know enough to contribute, but was wondering if you mean only still in existence courses, or would some NLE count, if one of us happened to have seen it or played it way back when?


We've only reviewed courses in the book that are still in existence [or were, when we published].  I'd be open to hearing about Ross's best courses that are NLE, but they should probably be in a sidebar and not the main list.

JMEvensky

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Re: The Top 100 Donald Ross Courses
« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2018, 10:23:20 AM »
Memphis CC needs to be included. I think most Tennessee people would rank it much higher than Cherokee and not that far below Holston Hills. Kris Spence's opinion would be worth hearing--he's done some great stuff at MCC.

Sean_A

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Re: The Top 100 Donald Ross Courses
« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2018, 10:24:06 AM »
While a very good course, I don't think Birmingham MI is a Ross.

Also, you gave my beloved Grosse Ile 5 x 1...so maybe it slips in at 70+.

Mimosa Hills & Hope Valley in NC are at least as good as some others listed. LuLu is a notch below with Grosse Ile.

Ciao
« Last Edit: January 24, 2018, 10:39:45 AM by Sean_A »
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Brian Finn

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Re: The Top 100 Donald Ross Courses
« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2018, 10:29:31 AM »
I would include all of the following in the 35-64 range (Doak 6):

Hyde Park CC (OH)
Columbus CC (OH)
Mimosa Hills (NC)
Springfield CC (OH)
Ravisloe (IL)
Sedgefield (NC)
Congress Lake (OH)

I would include these in the 65+ range (Doak 5):

Myers Park CC (NC)
Shaker Heights CC (OH)
Shennecossett GC (CT)
Camden CC (SC)
CC of Salisbury (NC)
Lu Lu CC (PA)
Catawba CC (NC)

Edit: A couple of others that I haven't played, but all signs point to them belonging:

Hope Valley (NC)
Timuquana (FL)
« Last Edit: January 24, 2018, 10:39:38 AM by Brian Finn »
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Kyle Harris

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Re: The Top 100 Donald Ross Courses
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2018, 10:42:10 AM »
This is a rather tall task with the bottom 50. I have yet to see mention of courses like Hope Valley, Jeffersonville, Schuylkill, or Torresdale/Union League. Brian included Myers Park and Lulu, quite rightfully.

Do tiebreakers involve things like how much Ross was personally involved vs. field decisions from Ellis Maples, McGovern, etc? The site is going to dictate things as well and excellent flat site courses like Dunedin and Belleview Biltmore (I hope, after the latest unnecessary round of "restoration") probably shouldn't qualify.
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Jason Topp

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Re: The Top 100 Donald Ross Courses
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2018, 10:57:17 AM »
Not sure whether it is properly a Ross Course but Minneapolis was given on average a 5.88 by the Minnesota contingent (8 votes).


My first Ross Course was Wauchusett in Massacheusetts.  I remember being charmed by the course.  Maybe a 5, possibly a 4.


https://www.wachusettcc.com/golf-course/

Ryan Taylor

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Re: The Top 100 Donald Ross Courses
« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2018, 10:57:35 AM »
I would consider Kahkwa Club in Erie, PA. It has some great green complexes. Doak 5-6 range.
“Bandon is like Chamonix for skiers or the North Shore of Oahu for surfers,” Rogers said. “It is where those who really care end up.”

Ryan Taylor

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Re: The Top 100 Donald Ross Courses
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2018, 11:02:06 AM »
While a very good course, I don't think Birmingham MI is a Ross.

Also, you gave my beloved Grosse Ile 5 x 1...so maybe it slips in at 70+.

Mimosa Hills & Hope Valley in NC are at least as good as some others listed. LuLu is a notch below with Grosse Ile.

Ciao

Birmingham MI is a Bendelow.

Agree - Grosse Ile is very underrated.
“Bandon is like Chamonix for skiers or the North Shore of Oahu for surfers,” Rogers said. “It is where those who really care end up.”

David Davis

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Re: The Top 100 Donald Ross Courses
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2018, 11:04:42 AM »

Tom,

Side question.


I note that Roaring Gap and Mid Pines have only 2x7. Does that mean the other 2 have either not seen them or have seen them and given them lower numbers and if the second is the case given they have both been recently masterfully restored did they by chance see them before the restorations.
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Tom_Doak

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Re: The Top 100 Donald Ross Courses
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2018, 11:11:43 AM »

Tom,

Side question.


I note that Roaring Gap and Mid Pines have only 2x7. Does that mean the other 2 have either not seen them or have seen them and given them lower numbers and if the second is the case given they have both been recently masterfully restored did they by chance see them before the restorations.


If you had the book, you would see that Roaring Gap has only been visited by Ran and myself.  [I saw it before the recent work.]  Masa saw Mid Pines many years ago, before all the recent work, and rated it quite low, but that doesn't hurt it the way I've ranked them, unless he would also have given it a 7.


There are lots of these courses that only one or two of us have seen, so I would not put too much stock in the order they're listed.  As two examples, I was the only one to rate Brookside (OH) and Minikahda, both of which I saw many years ago, and rated lower than most people.  One of the softer touches in our foursome almost certainly would have given them higher marks.

Tommy Williamsen

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Re: The Top 100 Donald Ross Courses
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2018, 11:14:02 AM »
Off the top of my head: Sedgfield (NC) 50 or so site of Wyndham, Muskegon CC maybe about 75 (just a beauty, albeit a little short)
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Tom_Doak

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Re: The Top 100 Donald Ross Courses
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2018, 11:14:21 AM »
While a very good course, I don't think Birmingham MI is a Ross.

Also, you gave my beloved Grosse Ile 5 x 1...so maybe it slips in at 70+.

Mimosa Hills & Hope Valley in NC are at least as good as some others listed. LuLu is a notch below with Grosse Ile.

Ciao


Amended above.

Brad Tufts

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Re: The Top 100 Donald Ross Courses
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2018, 11:15:51 AM »
I count 112 courses that I've played that Ross has worked on at some point.

I think the top 20 above is great, then it comes down to splitting hairs.  Sometimes its hard to combine the original and the restoration for some of these.

The biggest omissions on my list are:
Concord CC (7 for me, easily as good as all in the back half of the CG courses)
Ravisloe (6, seconded!)
Sedgefield (6, seconded!)
Manchester in NH (6). 
I have the Balsams as a 6 if they ever re-open it...just such a great location and good course on a tough site.


My next tier among the omitted so far in the CG81 would be Camden, Irondequoit, Hope Valley, and Bedford Springs.  Newport is not really a Ross despite his working there, so I'm not listing that one.


The worst ones out of my 112 Ross courses played?
-Donald Ross GC in Ft. Wayne...DJR did the front nine but this place is pretty run down, and the back nine actually is more interesting.
-Newton Commonwealth in Newton, MA...lost a few holes to housing in the 50s, now a 5500y bandbox with enough space for 12 of the 18 holes.
-then it comes down to a few New England courses with 9 Ross holes that are quite nice, and 9 from someone else that are not good at all...Biddeford-Saco and Cape Neddick in Maine come to mind, also Wentworth in NH, which has ocean frontage.
-Ponkapoag...Ross 18 split between two courses, #1 was recently redone by Brian Silva but mainly to fix drainage...this facility has been a common ping pong ball in city politics, the course and its patrons suffering the most.
-Wellshire in Denver...good bones, just really tired.
So I jump ship in Hong Kong....

Tom_Doak

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Re: The Top 100 Donald Ross Courses
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2018, 11:16:06 AM »
I would consider Kahkwa Club in Erie, PA. It has some great green complexes. Doak 5-6 range.


It was a 6, and I did list that one.

Tom_Doak

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Re: The Top 100 Donald Ross Courses
« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2018, 11:17:17 AM »
I count 112 courses that I've played that Ross has worked on at some point.

I think the top 20 is great, then it comes down to splitting hairs.  Sometimes its hard to combine the original and the restoration for some of these.

The biggest omissions on my list are:
Concord CC (7 for me, easily as good as all in the back half of the CG courses)
Ravisloe (6, seconded!)
Sedgefield (6, seconded!)
Manchester in NH (6). 
I have the Balsams as a 6 if they ever re-open it...just such a great location and good course on a tough site.


My next tier among the omitted so far in the CG81 would be Camden, Irondequoit, Hope Valley, and Bedford Springs.  Newport is not really a Ross despite his working there, so I'm not listing that one.


The worst ones out of my 112 Ross courses played?
-Donald Ross GC in Ft. Wayne...DJR did the front nine but this place is pretty run down, and the back nine actually is more interesting.
-Newton Commonwealth in Newton, MA...lost a few holes to housing in the 50s, now a 5500y bandbox with enough space for 12 of the 18 holes.
-then it comes down to a few New England courses with 9 Ross holes that are quite nice, and 9 from someone else that are not good at all...Biddeford-Saco and Cape Neddick in Maine come to mind, also Wentworth in NH, which has ocean frontage.
-Ponkapoag...Ross 18 split between two courses, #1 was recently redone by Brian Silva but mainly to fix drainage...this facility has been a common ping pong ball in city politics, the course and its patrons suffering the most.
-Wellshire in Denver...good bones, just really tired.


Concord CC ?  I don't know anything about that.


I have seen Ravisloe, and left it off the list by accident, but I only gave it a 5 in the book.

Brad Tufts

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Re: The Top 100 Donald Ross Courses
« Reply #17 on: January 24, 2018, 11:25:52 AM »
Concord CC is in Mass., it was a shortish tired Ross of 6400y or so before a Prichard resto-reno in 2005 or so.  It's always been low-key because it's tough to get into as a member.  After Prichard, its now 6800y par 70, and they've really maxed out its potential in the best way possible.  Totally recommended to check out...I have it right up against the top tier of Mass. courses (Essex, Myopia, TCC, OS, BGC, Salem, and Kitt), so comparable to a Winchester/Longmeadow/Charles River...and I like it better than those three!   


My wife's parents belong there so I play it 4-5 times per year, and it's become an MGA darling...hosting the Mass. Amateur and some other local invitationals so it has a good following.


Ravisloe is definitely one of those restoration v. Ross courses.  It's pretty cool now, but were the bunkers that flashy before?  Or when it opened?  I've also always thought it's odd that almost every par four is between 380-410 yards when that's the least interesting yardage for a par four...
« Last Edit: January 24, 2018, 11:39:26 AM by Brad Tufts »
So I jump ship in Hong Kong....

Joel Pear

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Re: The Top 100 Donald Ross Courses
« Reply #18 on: January 24, 2018, 11:36:19 AM »
I have always been partial to the Country Club of York (PA).  Slightly biased because my wife's family are long-time members and I got married there.  The course is, in my opinion, wonderful, with an exceptional set of greens.

Morgan Clawson

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Re: The Top 100 Donald Ross Courses
« Reply #19 on: January 24, 2018, 11:39:03 AM »
You are missing Interlachen, which our MN group gave a 7.0

Rick Shefchik

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Re: The Top 100 Donald Ross Courses
« Reply #20 on: January 24, 2018, 11:42:19 AM »
Interlachen would seem to be a strong candidate for this list, perhaps as high as a Doak 7 (in comparison, I'd give Minneapolis GC a 6).
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PCCraig

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Re: The Top 100 Donald Ross Courses
« Reply #21 on: January 24, 2018, 11:43:57 AM »
Does Old Elm count? Which Ross constructed from Colt plans?
H.P.S.

David Davis

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Re: The Top 100 Donald Ross Courses
« Reply #22 on: January 24, 2018, 11:49:20 AM »

Tom,

Side question.


I note that Roaring Gap and Mid Pines have only 2x7. Does that mean the other 2 have either not seen them or have seen them and given them lower numbers and if the second is the case given they have both been recently masterfully restored did they by chance see them before the restorations.


If you had the book, you would see that Roaring Gap has only been visited by Ran and myself.  [I saw it before the recent work.]  Masa saw Mid Pines many years ago, before all the recent work, and rated it quite low, but that doesn't hurt it the way I've ranked them, unless he would also have given it a 7.


There are lots of these courses that only one or two of us have seen, so I would not put too much stock in the order they're listed.  As two examples, I was the only one to rate Brookside (OH) and Minikahda, both of which I saw many years ago, and rated lower than most people.  One of the softer touches in our foursome almost certainly would have given them higher marks.


Tom,


I have a signed copy of the original. Back when you didn't have a filter  ;D 


You say not to put too much stock in the order they are listed but that is exactly what most people, including me will do given the fact that you assigned numbers to them. Unfortunately I suppose.


Can't stress how much of a difference these courses just as two examples demonstrate between pre and post renos. Think Pinehurst #2, also huge difference.


I also didn't see Old Elm in the list. Even though it's a collaboration wouldn't it still count?


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Brian Finn

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Re: The Top 100 Donald Ross Courses
« Reply #23 on: January 24, 2018, 11:56:29 AM »
Old Elm is included in Tom's list, in the 40-63 group (1x6).
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PCCraig

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Re: The Top 100 Donald Ross Courses
« Reply #24 on: January 24, 2018, 12:09:13 PM »
Old Elm is included in Tom's list, in the 40-63 group (1x6).


Whoops, sorry.
H.P.S.

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