Itís interesting that there have been so many similar threads to this over the past dozen years or so, and we all compelled to express an opinion on a particular course we think is under or over-rated. Those posts foisting opinions about courses folks have not played often leave me scratching my head.
Unless I am mistaken, what is absent from this discussion is clearly the effect this forum and especially Ran Morrissettís writing has had in shaping our opinions and ultimately the courses selected and their relative ranking. While his direct influence on the list from raters on the current panel, I am convinced that his clear and thoughtful expression of design elements, history and so forth has educated and informed us and many others on what good and great architecture actually is.
Do we have groupthink here ? Well sometimes, and both Ran and Tom Doak have often made pointed comments that counter many of our dogmatic, narrow minded opinions. Tom Fazio has actually done some really good designs Ė see Ranís review of the North Course at Forest Creek.
My son dropped me a text recently after reading the new Golf Mag list and pointed out several courses that we had played that were not on list in years past including Crystal Downs, Old Town Club, Eastward Ho!, Hollywood, Moraine and Brookside (Canton,OH). Lucky guy, guess he was born well!
These courses are part of a group of what I think of as Darlings of GCA and while some have made the list in the past, many are there because of the Ran effect and discussions here on GCA. Others should probably include: Somerset Hills, Cal Club, NGLA , Myopia, Glens Falls, Yeamans Hall, Kingsley and probably many more if you go back 25 or so years.
Oh, also. I am fortunate (downright privileged) to have played a number of rounds at PV and it is really different than any other design I have encountered. I say design because it is easy to be overly impressed with the experience and the individuals playing the course due to itís exclusivity. PV has the smallest greens I have ever seen on an important golf course and some of the largest, and two holes with two separate greens. Generous fairways, but still many tight tee shots. Holes go right, straight uphill, downhill, blind downhill, uphill, dogleg right uphill, straight blind second, downhill slightly left, dogleg right, uphill etc. etc. I think you can see the trend. Mike Cirba was right, the 12th hole is possibly the least impressive and would be a stand out on most courses.