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Jordan Beasley

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What is the 8th best country in the world for GCA?
« on: May 19, 2022, 04:40:50 PM »
Based on what I've read, the following countries seem fairly unassailable as the top-7 countries in the world for golf course architecture, thinking of both quality and quantity of courses, as well as cultural prioritization/celebration of golf and its playing fields:


-England
-Scotland
-Ireland
-USA
-Australia
-Japan
-Canada


Given how well-traveled so many of you are (I've only golfed in a few countries outside the US), I'd love to hear thoughts on what country you think belongs in the #8 spot?  Or even better, how would you round out the remaining three spots in a top-10?  Among likely candidates there seems to be an "old guard" that may not have much quantity but possess a handful of top-notch courses (e.g. Wales, Northern Ireland, South Africa, France, Netherlands, etc.) and a "new guard" that is rising in esteem largely on the strength of modern designs (e.g. New Zealand, Iceland, China, Thailand, Mexico).

John Mayhugh

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Re: What is the 8th best country in the world for GCA?
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2022, 07:11:32 PM »
I think Northern Ireland & France could challenge Canada for 7th.

Daryl David

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Re: What is the 8th best country in the world for GCA?
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2022, 07:50:02 PM »
I agree. Canada in 7th place is a stretch. Id take NZ over Canada. Not sure if its still true, but several years ago I remember reading that NZ was listed as having the most golf holes per capita.  Not sure about quality of those holes, but there is a ton of golf and only 5 million people.

Jim Hoak

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Re: What is the 8th best country in the world for GCA?
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2022, 09:07:05 PM »
Northern Ireland and New Zealand are obvious omissions.  They would clearly be near the top.  I'd think South Africa would be 10th.

Joe_Tucholski

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Re: What is the 8th best country in the world for GCA?
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2022, 10:31:53 PM »
I'm not sure about Japan or Canada.


As already mentioned, New Zealand and Northern Ireland are missing.  I don't know about quantity but was impressed with the quality in the Netherlands.

Jim_Coleman

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Re: What is the 8th best country in the world for GCA?
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2022, 12:11:23 AM »
   Dominican Republic has 3 really good (arguably great) courses - Teeth, Punta Espada and Playa Grande, and several quite good ones.

Tommy Williamsen

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Re: What is the 8th best country in the world for GCA?
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2022, 01:16:01 AM »
South Africa, N. Ireland, and NZ could all vie for number 8, but Canada on the list is a stretch.
Forcultural prioritization/celebration of golf and its playing fields" I'd put Wales.
They love their golf
« Last Edit: May 20, 2022, 07:20:49 AM by Tommy Williamsen »
Tom Williamsen
Where there is no love, put love; there you will find love.
St. John of the Cross

Niall C

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Re: What is the 8th best country in the world for GCA?
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2022, 05:11:37 AM »
Gentlemen


Before David Thomas and Richard Fisher resign from the Discussion Board, I think might also wish to consider Wales.


Niall

Niall C

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Re: What is the 8th best country in the world for GCA?
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2022, 05:13:51 AM »
I agree. Canada in 7th place is a stretch. Id take NZ over Canada. Not sure if its still true, but several years ago I remember reading that NZ was listed as having the most golf holes per capita.  Not sure about quality of those holes, but there is a ton of golf and only 5 million people.


Daryl


I don't have any facts to hand, not that that has stopped me commenting before mind you, but I seem to recall it being said that Iceland has the highest ratio of golf per capita. Also, if NZ has 5 million people (I thought it was only 3m ?) then it is roughly the same as Scotland and Scotland has between 500 and 600 hundred courses. Does NZ have that many ?


Niall

Niall C

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Re: What is the 8th best country in the world for GCA?
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2022, 05:18:02 AM »
One final comment from me, if you are going to distinguish between Ireland and Northern Ireland, why is Ireland one of the seven picks and NI fighting for 8th spot ? Surely it should be the other way round ?


Niall

Tom_Doak

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Re: What is the 8th best country in the world for GCA?
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2022, 10:10:23 AM »

I don't have any facts to hand, not that that has stopped me commenting before mind you, but I seem to recall it being said that Iceland has the highest ratio of golf per capita. Also, if NZ has 5 million people (I thought it was only 3m ?) then it is roughly the same as Scotland and Scotland has between 500 and 600 hundred courses. Does NZ have that many ?



5.1 million people in NZ.  I believe it was 3.5 million the first time I was there, in 1988.


Once you separate out the dozen or so courses catering to overseas visitors, New Zealand still has some of the most affordable golf in the world for residents.  They are able to keep member fees so low because they don't have fairway irrigation.  In a droughty year, the courses are brown or even yellow, but the turf is used to it and usually bounces back.

Daryl David

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Re: What is the 8th best country in the world for GCA?
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2022, 12:11:37 PM »

I don't have any facts to hand, not that that has stopped me commenting before mind you, but I seem to recall it being said that Iceland has the highest ratio of golf per capita. Also, if NZ has 5 million people (I thought it was only 3m ?) then it is roughly the same as Scotland and Scotland has between 500 and 600 hundred courses. Does NZ have that many ?



5.1 million people in NZ.  I believe it was 3.5 million the first time I was there, in 1988.


Once you separate out the dozen or so courses catering to overseas visitors, New Zealand still has some of the most affordable golf in the world for residents.  They are able to keep member fees so low because they don't have fairway irrigation.  In a droughty year, the courses are brown or even yellow, but the turf is used to it and usually bounces back.


According to Golf New Zealand there are over 400 courses. Tom is correct about affordable golf. Very reasonable for the locals.

Thomas Dai

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Re: What is the 8th best country in the world for GCA?
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2022, 12:13:48 PM »
Best national anthem as well - https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=AM4mIlYKG9s - 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 :)
Atb

Jeff_Brauer

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Re: What is the 8th best country in the world for GCA?
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2022, 01:49:09 PM »
While not big on the quantity of courses, would Bermuda count just on quality?
Jeff Brauer, ASGCA Director of Outreach

Pete_Pittock

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Re: What is the 8th best country in the world for GCA?
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2022, 02:41:33 PM »
Without doing due diligence, South Korea seems to be producing a lot of good golfers. I don't think it would be from driving ranges.


From experience I would consider New Zealand.

Jordan Beasley

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Re: What is the 8th best country in the world for GCA?
« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2022, 03:04:58 PM »
Thanks everyone; good thoughts here.  Consensus seems to be that Canada doesn't belong in the top-7.  And I clearly need to add a New Zealand golf trip to my bucket list!


Any Canucks on here that want to argue otherwise? From afar (I've never been there) Canada's top tier (Banff, Jasper Park, Cabot resort, Highlands Links, throw in the top courses in the Toronto and BC areas) seems to hold its own against the likes of New Zealand, Northern Ireland, or Wales. And there are more than 2,000 courses in Canada. Would be curious to know more about the strength of the second or third tier in Canada.


I also love the comments from Jim and Jeff, which prompt a separate fun question - best country for GCA per square mile. Dominican Republic and Bermuda definitely do sound like two contenders.

Ronald Montesano

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Re: What is the 8th best country in the world for GCA?
« Reply #16 on: May 23, 2022, 08:50:16 PM »
You have to be sh!tt!ng me. Canada is in the top for the fervor, the quantity of courses, and the quality of courses. Canooooks love their golf more than Americans do.

We are such pompous pricks. Rather than calling them "America's Hat," we should be called "Canada's Jock."

Honestly, there is such a massive number of Canadian courses. True that there is a lot of Ontario-centric stuff, but Quebec, the Maritimes, and the west coast have a lot of good courses. I don't know the prairie provinces at all, but lord, you cannot compare New Zealand or Bermuda or Northern Ireland to the Maple Leaf.


This ranking is a solid one:
https://www.top100golfcourses.com/golf-courses/north-america/canada

This ranking offers a couple alternative top-tens:
https://www.golfdigest.com/story/ranking-best-courses-in-canada

This is the definitive one, although it is still a bit too in love with National:
https://scoregolf.com/golf-course-ranking/top-100-golf-courses-in-canada/the-top-100-2020/

« Last Edit: May 23, 2022, 08:58:37 PM by Ronald Montesano »
Maybe for 2022
~Eden Valley
~Hillview
~Pinehurst (NY)
~Kis 'N Greens
~Pine Meadows
~18 Mile Creek
~Greenwood
~Shawnee
~Leroy
~

Phil Burr

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Re: What is the 8th best country in the world for GCA?
« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2022, 11:23:15 PM »
None of the Canada advocates have mentioned Capilano, Shaughnessy, Redtail, Essex, Mount Bruno, et. al.  Royal Montreal also deserves recognition; it is certainly among Dick Wilson's finest work.


There have been several interesting tangents to the original post which are worth exploring separately: best countries per capita and best countries per square mile.

Niall C

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Re: What is the 8th best country in the world for GCA?
« Reply #18 on: May 24, 2022, 08:59:26 AM »
Ron


I'm not familiar with Canadian courses so perhaps you could post a link to a world top 100 list rather than just a Canadian one. That way we can compare how the Canadian courses rank alongside the likes of Royal County Down, Portrush etc.


Thanks


Niall

Mike Baillie

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Re: What is the 8th best country in the world for GCA?
« Reply #19 on: May 24, 2022, 11:08:00 AM »
Niall, difficult to impossible for Canada's best to top RCD or RP Dunluce which have 8.5 to 9.5 averages in the Confidential Guide.  The 2 Cabots, Stanley Thompson's best 5, Hamilton and Mount Bruno all average 7 plus. All higher than RP Valley and Portstewart.

Canada has close to another 50 with Confid Guide ratings 5 or above.  The best thing variety with works by Ross, Park, Colt, Macan, Fazio and one offs from MacKenzie and Tillinghast.

Bryan Izatt

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Re: What is the 8th best country in the world for GCA?
« Reply #20 on: May 24, 2022, 12:22:03 PM »

I'm not sure any of the rating lists reflect the quality of Canadian golf.  For whatever reasons Canada doesn't seem to be a hot spot destination for golf despite the many fine courses.  As to the popularity, fervor etc, RoMo expressed that well for a guy just across the border.

As to golf courses per population I think Canada would be near the top of the list.  We have more courses per capita than the USA or England or Australia for example.

GOLF FACILITIES WORLDWIDE COUNTRY FACILITIES

  • United States 15,014
  • Canada 2,298
  • Japan 2,290
  • England 1,991
  • Australia 1,591
  • Germany 747
  • France 637
  • Scotland 540
  • Sweden 485
  • South Africa 484




Wayne_Kozun

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Re: What is the 8th best country in the world for GCA?
« Reply #21 on: May 24, 2022, 05:24:52 PM »
I think Canada is being give the short end of the stick here. 

Canada has seven courses in the GCA 147 and these all get a Doak rating of 7.5 or higher (averaging the ratings from the CG).  Those courses are Cabot Cliffs, Cabot Links, St. George's, Banff, Highlands Links, Capilano and Jasper.
But there are a large number of very good courses that are just a bit behind these that are also wonderful, like Toronto GC, Hamilton, Mt Bruno, Devil's Paintbrush, Sagebrush, etc.
There are also a number of courses in (mainly) smaller cities that have a ton of charm.  Many of them are Stanley Thompson courses like St. Thomas, Cataraqui, Kawartha, Brantford, Whirlpool, Essex, Victoria, St Charles, etc.  Beyond that there are a bunch of really strong courses in the Muskoka area north of Toronto, but a few of them are private - Oviinbyrd, Bigwin Island, Rocky Crest, Muskoka Bay, Taboo.
In terms of destinations - Cabot has become quite popular with Americans and about half the guests are from the US.  The Rocky Mountains would be another great destination, but the season is very short.

France may have a handful of very strong courses, but I don't think that it has the depth of courses that you find in Canada. 

And then there is the definition of country...


Sean_A

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Re: What is the 8th best country in the world for GCA?
« Reply #22 on: May 24, 2022, 07:03:52 PM »
But, Canada has a longer hockey season than golf season.  😎 It doesn't matter how many and good the courses are if they are shut. That has to be a major tick against Canada.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2022: Bamburgh Castle, Erewash, Gullane 2, St Pats, The Loop x2, Arcadia Bluffs South & Crystal Downs

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