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Ran Morrissett

  • Karma: +0/-0
The Next Fifty section has been replaced. Why? Because after twenty years, it had largely run its course. Populating it with the latest courses from exotic destinations where the golf IQ is as bad as the soil and weather seems pointless.
 
 What has replaced it? 147 Custodians of the Game.


The discussion of what constitutes ‘great’ has been distorted and I have grown too impatient to do nothing. For many of us, our favorite outing of the year is to the U.K. – and it isn’t just because of the golf but rather, the total experience. Be it the abundance of trolleys or lack of funny looks when choosing to carry your own bag, golf in the U.K. and former colonies like Australia gets on with it without the expensive rigmarole found stateside. Hence, this new section offers a different perspective as to what matters.
 
Perhaps this section is a mistake, as the last thing we need is another list, so view it is a compilation instead  ;)
. GolfClubAtlas should stand for something and this compilation is meant to reflect the virtues that many of us hold dear, even if it isn’t 100% architecture centric. Maybe it will do some good as a counterpoint to some of the game’s most visible metrics, like the US Open and Golf Digest rankings. Some might take this in part as an anti-caddie message (which it isn’t); rather, it is a pro-choice of carrying message and the only reason I have to type this drivel is because I am in the United States :P . Surely, this effort does no harm in an effort to further discussion on what matters. 

Six friends scattered around the globe pitched in with invaluable insight and guidance. When I told one about the criteria, he said, ‘You mean the Cal Club model?’ Right he was – and this list represents places that attract knowledgeable members who don’t need to be suffocated by club policies. They tend to do the right thing on their own in large part because the priorities for the course illustrate what is expected from those who play it.

Bottom line: golf at its best is a simple pursuit - Let's keep it that way. Hope you enjoy this new section.

Here is the link: http://golfclubatlas.com/147-custodians-of-the-game-year1/

Best,
« Last Edit: August 30, 2018, 06:06:57 AM by Ran Morrissett »

Steve Kline

  • Karma: +0/-0
Yes to this.


Having picked up golf again, I've been bemoaning how terrible the golf options are in Cincinnati. Sure, there is Camargo. But, I will never be a member there. Hyde Park would be my next choice, but it lacks many of things in Ran's list even though I enjoy the course itself.


All I want is a golf club with a strategically interesting course that always allows me to walk carrying/pulling my own bag with minimal interference from staff. There isn't one option in Cincinnati that fits that criteria. Is that really so hard?


Taking a page from the familiar rankings and combining that with Ran's bullet points at the end of the post, GCA could develop its own ranking system with the following categories with key criteria in those categories:


  • Daily Strategic Interest - width, in-line/centerline bunkers, green movement/slope, short-game options
  • Firm/Fast - running fairways, firm greens, course recovers quickly after heavy rain
  • Carrying/Pulling - always allowed, caddies optional, no/hidden/out of play cart paths, short green-tee walks
  • Playability - speed of average game, minimal hunting for lost balls, minimal water hazards, suitable for all levels/ages of golfers
  • Natural Maintenance - grass variety/"weeds" permitted, minimal watering, native grasses, minimal trees in playing field
  • Golf Club - focus on the golf course and the game, deductions for country club amenities and staffing
  • Joy - finish 18 and wanting to go straight to 1 again, camaraderie of golfers/members
There really isn't that much in that list specifically related to architecture. Architecutre mostly comes into play on the first point. But, the other six are just as important to me. I would never be a member that point 1 in spades and missed on the others. Most courses I've played in Great Britain get reasonably high marks on all of these. I've played very few courses in the states that can achieve high marks in all these areas.


Yes, I mostly just rehashed what Ran wrote.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2018, 08:40:59 AM by Steve Kline »

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Well done and a nice move towards highlighting some courses that are not on the normal lists of ‘usual suspects’ yet still provide interest, fun and challenge. Particularly pleased to see numbers 34 and 119 included.:)
Atb

Mike Sweeney

  • Karma: +0/-0
Great list, oops "Custodians".


I would add that the Yale commentary is a little dated. The union is still in place, but they are way past the old pedantic issues that used to hold things back on conditioning. Thanks Scott.


In addition, there is a new AD at Yale (a woman from Colgate, and the Colgate course had great conditioning on a visit last summer) and there is lots of positive energy with many improvements already in the works. Thanks Colin and Peter.


Stay tuned.
"One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us."

Dr. Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

Marty Bonnar

  • Karma: +0/-0
Machrihanish.
The White River runs dark through the heart of the Town,
Washed the people coal-black from the hole in the ground.

Jim Nugent

  • Karma: +0/-0
Interesting list where half the courses on many top 10 rankings failed to make the cut:

* Pine Valley
* CPC
* ANGC
* Shinnie
* Oakmont.
I wonder if Tara Iti will be included sometime in the near future? 

With Dismal Red making the grade as a custodian, will Ran soon publish a profile of it in Courses By Country? 
Edited for formatting.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2018, 08:29:41 AM by Jim Nugent »

Steve Kline

  • Karma: +0/-0
I would nominate Northland CC and Kingsley. My quick perusal of the list didn't see those.

MCirba

  • Karma: +0/-0
My quick perusal of the list found myself surprisingly delighted and nodding in agreement with Gullane #1.   

"Is this Heaven?"
"No, it's Gullane."
"Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Calvin Coolidge

https://cobbscreek.org/

John Sabino

  • Karma: +0/-0
Well done effort Ran, as usual. My only minor quibbles would be that Cruden Bay, Whippoorwill and Boat of Garten didn't make the list and that Myopia Hunt Club should be ranked about 70 points higher than it is.
Author: How to Play the World's Most Exclusive Golf Clubs and Golf's Iron Horse - The Astonishing, Record-Breaking Life of Ralph Kennedy

http://www.top100golf.blogspot.com/

Steve Lapper

  • Karma: +0/-0
Ran,


   Is, as I suspect, the list in a specific order? If so, I would have quite a few changes to make (that is if you are open to change???...not something I think has happened post the Big-Bang!).


   Also, where is Whipporwill? Cypress? Tara Iti? Cruden Bay, Ohoopee Match?


   Is your mind wandering much these days? ;)


The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking."--John Kenneth Galbraith

John Foley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: GCA's Next 50 section has been replaced by 147 Custodians of the Game
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2018, 09:14:24 AM »
I like it especially when you put in Glens Falls, Taconic & Wolf Point.


However where is Kittansett???
Integrity in the moment of choice

BHoover

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: GCA's Next 50 section has been replaced by 147 Custodians of the Game
« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2018, 09:40:37 AM »
Swinley Forest is described as “England’s version of Swinley Forest”.


In all seriousness, how are some of these ultra-private and exclusive clubs considered “custodians of the game”?
« Last Edit: August 30, 2018, 09:42:17 AM by BHoover »

Ryan Hillenbrand

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: GCA's Next 50 section has been replaced by 147 Custodians of the Game
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2018, 09:55:25 AM »
Ran

Enjoyed your comment about Ballyneal - but is Sand Hills a "Mayflower" membership too? I didn't get that impression but could be wrong.

No Prairie Dunes? I think it fits almost all your criteria. I carry my own bag almost every time as do many others without the bat of an eye.

Ben Stephens

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: GCA's Next 50 section has been replaced by 147 Custodians of the Game
« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2018, 09:58:46 AM »
The Next Fifty section has been replaced. Why? Because after twenty years, it had largely run its course. Populating it with the latest courses from exotic destinations where the golf IQ is as bad as the soil and weather seems pointless.
 
 What has replaced it? 147 Custodians of the Game.


The discussion of what constitutes ‘great’ has been distorted and I have grown too impatient to do nothing. For many of us, our favorite outing of the year is to the U.K. – and it isn’t just because of the golf but rather, the total experience. Be it the abundance of trolleys or lack of funny looks when choosing to carry your own bag, golf in the U.K. and former colonies like Australia gets on with it without the expensive rigmarole found stateside. Hence, this new section offers a different perspective as to what matters.
 
Perhaps this section is a mistake, as the last thing we need is another list, so view it is a compilation instead  ;)
. GolfClubAtlas should stand for something and this compilation is meant to reflect the virtues that many of us hold dear, even if it isn’t 100% architecture centric. Maybe it will do some good as a counterpoint to some of the game’s most visible metrics, like the US Open and Golf Digest rankings. Some might take this in part as an anti-caddie message (which it isn’t); rather, it is a pro-choice of carrying message and the only reason I have to type this drivel is because I am in the United States :P . Surely, this effort does no harm in an effort to further discussion on what matters. 

Six friends scattered around the globe pitched in with invaluable insight and guidance. When I told one about the criteria, he said, ‘You mean the Cal Club model?’ Right he was – and this list represents places that attract knowledgeable members who don’t need to be suffocated by club policies. They tend to do the right thing on their own in large part because the priorities for the course illustrate what is expected from those who play it.

Bottom line: golf at its best is a simple pursuit - Let's keep it that way. Hope you enjoy this new section.

Here is the link: http://golfclubatlas.com/147-custodians-of-the-game-year1/
Best,


Why 147? is there any connection to snooker as 147 is the maximum break you can have in one game which is very rare  ;D  look forward to going through it though


Ah I have now read the first paragraph - 147 Opens - does that mean it will become 148 next year?




Cal Seifert

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: GCA's Next 50 section has been replaced by 147 Custodians of the Game
« Reply #14 on: August 30, 2018, 10:03:23 AM »
Pebble Beach was a surprise to me.  I've never been but everything I've heard about it points to an expensive, 6 hour round.

Noel Freeman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: GCA's Next 50 section has been replaced by 147 Custodians of the Game
« Reply #15 on: August 30, 2018, 10:04:22 AM »
I dunno if Ran will reply so let me opine on 2 things-


The Whip and other places many think are excluded are purposely excluded b/c Ran has rules to this list some involving the club's policies.  Ran wants to be able to go have a carry bag and get "after it" whenever he wants.  Can you perhaps take your dog on the course ala the UK model as well? I'm just saying-- but there were criteria to be met.


And yes the Swinley Forest quip which is England's version of Swinley Forest was meant to be that way..



Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: GCA's Next 50 section has been replaced by 147 Custodians of the Game
« Reply #16 on: August 30, 2018, 10:05:59 AM »
Swinley Forest is described as “England’s version of Swinley Forest”.

In all seriousness, how are some of these ultra-private and exclusive clubs considered “custodians of the game”?

I didn't get it until I read the Somerset and Wykagyl blurbs.

I too was a bit surprised by so many US private clubs included. I spose sometimes the architecture is too good to ignore? Plus, Ran is looking for simple, just play the game club policies.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Ashridge, Kennemer, de Pan, Blackmoor, Eindhoven, Hilversumche, Royal Ostend, Winterfield & Alnmouth

Cal Seifert

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: GCA's Next 50 section has been replaced by 147 Custodians of the Game
« Reply #17 on: August 30, 2018, 10:23:32 AM »
Some other courses I thought would make it. These opens need to hurry up, 147 is not enough!


Belvedere
Sweetens Cove


« Last Edit: May 09, 2020, 09:59:25 PM by Cal Seifert »

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: GCA's Next 50 section has been replaced by 147 Custodians of the Game
« Reply #18 on: August 30, 2018, 10:30:48 AM »
Ran:


I like your format.  I think I may have told you that I suggested this to GOLF Magazine way back when - to list the top 87 courses for 1987, so that adding one or two new courses to the list every time didn't necessarily require others to fall off.  I wish they'd gone that way. 


No doubt there will be many posts about which courses were left off the list.  I was more interested in two other analyses:


There are nine courses I haven't seen.  Five of them are in America (!) - Kirtland, Wykagyl, Hidden Creek, French Lick, and We-Ko-Pa.  The others are Ardfin, St. Germain, Fano and Falsterbo.


There are only seven courses which sounded an off key note as I read through the list.  Two of them are actually places where I've consulted over the years.   :D  I will follow up privately about those, although you probably know some of them because of our varying scores in The Confidential Guide.

Steve Lapper

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: GCA's Next 50 section has been replaced by 147 Custodians of the Game
« Reply #19 on: August 30, 2018, 10:49:07 AM »
I dunno if Ran will reply so let me opine on 2 things-


The Whip and other places many think are excluded are purposely excluded b/c Ran has rules to this list some involving the club's policies.  Ran wants to be able to go have a carry bag and get "after it" whenever he wants.  Can you perhaps take your dog on the course ala the UK model as well? I'm just saying-- but there were criteria to be met.








Noel,  The Whip has no different a caddy-carry policy than others listed here, thus the excuse for it's exclusion doesn't fly. Upon further reflection, the omission of Prairie Dunes (which just may have the most inclusive policies of all the upper-echelon US Privates) is glaring. I've carried my own bag there as well as seen vocals out with their dogs. Please tell us how a place like this doesn't replace at least 25 of those listed? :-* 
The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking."--John Kenneth Galbraith

MJohnson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: GCA's Next 50 section has been replaced by 147 Custodians of the Game
« Reply #20 on: August 30, 2018, 10:51:09 AM »
I am really pleased that Isle of Harris makes the list at 146.


I was there just over two weeks ago for the Life Members tournament and their Open and the excellent weather helped show how magical the place is. The position of the course encourages many to stop at the car park as they drive enroute from the ferry from North Uist to the north and just take in the view.


The greenkeeper does such a wonderful job with winter creating problems every year such that the course was in its best condition I have ever seen.


The club welcomes people in such a way that Life Members travel each year from places as diverse as Connecticut, Aberdeen, Asia and Stourbridge and the sales of Harris gin were high as we all sat in the sun outside the clubhouse.


Askernish is a completely different beast. The course is brutal in places when the wind blows much stronger than normal but the rough so severe that you cannot see the ball when looking at it just an inch off the fairway.
They have a Life Members section but the fee seems to discourage membership compared to the Harris model.


I love the test of Askernish (and for the fact that one of my two eagles was achieved there) but the overall package at Harris makes me want to travel there each year.


I would also add Whalsay in Shetland to the list. It is not blessed with many green keepers but it exists purely because of enthusiastic members and a few visitors to boost funds. Give it a try if you get to Shetland.
2019 courses - Enville, Wharton Park,

Niall C

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: GCA's Next 50 section has been replaced by 147 Custodians of the Game
« Reply #21 on: August 30, 2018, 11:07:46 AM »
Ran

A great idea, well done.

"Golf's great think tank" is a wonderful line used in describing Woking.

In terms of those listed I was particularly pleased to see Troon in there, partly because I have a sort of second hand connection to the club and because I love the course, but also for the very reason you gave in including it. The other two I was pleased to see in the list were firstly Silloth which is probably still my favourite course, and secondly Deal where I totally agree with your comments on the greens.

Niall 

Noel Freeman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: GCA's Next 50 section has been replaced by 147 Custodians of the Game
« Reply #22 on: August 30, 2018, 11:07:55 AM »
I dunno if Ran will reply so let me opine on 2 things-


The Whip and other places many think are excluded are purposely excluded b/c Ran has rules to this list some involving the club's policies.  Ran wants to be able to go have a carry bag and get "after it" whenever he wants.  Can you perhaps take your dog on the course ala the UK model as well? I'm just saying-- but there were criteria to be met.








Noel,  The Whip has no different a caddy-carry policy than others listed here, thus the excuse for it's exclusion doesn't fly. Upon further reflection, the omission of Prairie Dunes (which just may have the most inclusive policies of all the upper-echelon US Privates) is glaring. I've carried my own bag there as well as seen vocals out with their dogs. Please tell us how a place like this doesn't replace at least 25 of those listed? :-* 


I know Golf's most beloved has a reason for the Whip's exclusion- one of which is the thrashing I administered to him there a few years ago (I'm kidding on this but needling him().. He loves the course so you'd have to ask him what the real reason is.  The pro there Jim Wahl is a true gentleman of the game as well.. As per PD, I think the width/grass/losing your ball thing came into play.. It's not a ranking per se of architecture in some respects..


To me the biggest criticism Ran is going to face is where are the public golf courses or where is a place like Bethpage (the mowing lines exclude it as he writes in the pre-amble to the piece)?  I do know high grass or tightness is a factor. Ran lambasted me for hearing that Deal has allowed high grasses in spots of late as well as gulp allowing some busloads of hordes of foreign golfers for $$$ (that is conjecture, I've never seen that but society play is up there I believe).. The high grass at Deal  is because English Nature has asked them to allow a place for the larks to mate/live as they were endangered in losing them (this is what I was told).  Larks are part of the experience there as both Darwin and Sir Guy Campbell have opined on their songs while playing Deal.  Also I was told by an old member (just like in a PG Woodhouse story) a very true thing, when the weather is bad and the larks come out at Deal, the sun will come out in 20 minutes.. I can say i've seen that happen on half a dozen rounds..  I still can't see how Sandwich is up so high and Deal behind it.  But many (Arble/Tom D) will argue about that as sour grapes and me being a Deal homer..
« Last Edit: August 30, 2018, 11:32:44 AM by Noel Freeman »

Peter Pallotta

Re: GCA's Next 50 section has been replaced by 147 Custodians of the Game
« Reply #23 on: August 30, 2018, 11:15:55 AM »
The comments/blurbs are terrific.
Many little gems of elegantly brief & descriptive writing. It's striking how much can be conveyed when not allowed too many words --the essence and the essential instead of puddles of spilled sensibilities. ('Glued to the ground' for Garden City greens is so good.)
Really neat! Thanks.

Kyle Harris

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: GCA's Next 50 section has been replaced by 147 Custodians of the Game
« Reply #24 on: August 30, 2018, 11:27:07 AM »
A few of you would do well to read the opening paragraph where he lists reasons for the exclusions of Bethpage and Prairie Dunes, among others.
http://kylewharris.com

Constantly blamed by 8-handicaps for their 7 missed 12-footers each round.

Thank you for changing the font of your posts. It makes them easier to scroll past.

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