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Bill Crane

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Re: GOLF Magazine 2022 - 23 Top 100 U.S. Course Rankings
« Reply #75 on: November 15, 2022, 03:08:14 PM »
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.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2022, 03:14:10 PM by Bill Crane »
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Kalen Braley

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Re: GOLF Magazine 2022 - 23 Top 100 U.S. Course Rankings
« Reply #76 on: November 15, 2022, 05:28:05 PM »
Bill,

Course Rankings threads have always been the more interesting topics on GCA.  In the early days, I used to really try to figure out why one course was ranked 4 ahead of some other one, until the completely arbitrary nature of it all hit me over the head.

These days, I still look forward to them with bowl of popcorn in tow as it doesn't matter what the next list says or which course is where...cause the fur is gonna fly either way.

P.S.  And on that note, since when is Pebble with its tiny greens an "unimportant" course?

Tim Gallant

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Re: GOLF Magazine 2022 - 23 Top 100 U.S. Course Rankings
« Reply #77 on: November 16, 2022, 03:10:09 AM »
I especially enjoyed this line from Ran's write-up:


The worth of the courseóany elite courseóisnít joined to a number. Rather, itís tethered to the enjoyment derived by playing it. Indeed, when you unburden yourself from reducing the game to statistics and start thinking more holistically, golf at its highest form becomes a spiritual awakening.

Ira Fishman

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Re: GOLF Magazine 2022 - 23 Top 100 U.S. Course Rankings
« Reply #78 on: November 16, 2022, 09:34:46 AM »
Steve,


I completely accept your assessment. I was going by the photos which always is imprecise. I hope to make it to Landmand and Caprock. My comment was intended to make clear that I was not judging the merits of the course.


My question was only about process. How is there enough time between a course opening a couple of months ago and making the rankings? Isn't there a minimum number of raters that need to evaluate a course?


Thanks.


I have been helping Landmand with PR and rater relations. We worked closely with Golf Digest to try to get a quora of their raters there, and Vaughn is a Golf magazine rater and has taken several of his fellows to see the course.


As Adam mentioned, Vaughn was energetic about attracting a healthy # of GOLF Magazine panelists to visit. Ultimately, approximately a dozen panelists have played the course (>10% of the Panel) Most of the experienced amongst us scheduled enough time to play Landmand multiple times. Panelists I played with found the 2nd round even more revealing and informative than the first. It helped that we were fortunate to play with Rob Collins.


Steve and Adam,


Is there a minimum number and/or percentage of raters that need to rate the course in order for it to qualify? I could not find that information on the GD or GM websites.


Thanks.


Ira

Tom_Doak

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Re: GOLF Magazine 2022 - 23 Top 100 U.S. Course Rankings
« Reply #79 on: November 16, 2022, 02:40:46 PM »

Is there a minimum number and/or percentage of raters that need to rate the course in order for it to qualify? I could not find that information on the GD or GM websites.



For GOLF Magazine, it used to be ten panelists, and I would guess that's still the number, as it is hard to get more than that to go to a remote spot in short order.  Many new courses / architects / publicists then try to make sure not only that they get enough people there, but they also start thinking about managing who those ten panelists are, to find the ones who are most likely to like the course.  [That sort of happens naturally, anyway . . . the first people to go and see my new course in New Zealand will be the ones who already like my work or love Tara Iti.]


The small number is precisely how the process got corrupted years ago . . . one of the panelists was found to be taking large [as in $$$,$$$ or even $,$$$,$$$] cash payments from certain new courses overseas, and then arranging for certain panelists to be the first to see those new courses.  Everyone involved should be very wary of such chummy arrangements.


For GOLF DIGEST, with their panel being 5x to 10x larger, I think it takes 25 votes to be eligible for the best new course of the year, and more than that to be eligible for the top 100 in America.  But it's easier to have a higher minimum for American courses than it is if you are trying to get people to go to Thailand, France, Vietnam, etc.  [Even so, I remember the GOLF DIGEST panelist who told me an architect arranged a private jet trip to take a few panelists to see some of his work across the Rocky Mountain states . . . so influence is alive and well in all these rankings.]

Mike Bodo

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Re: GOLF Magazine 2022 - 23 Top 100 U.S. Course Rankings
« Reply #80 on: November 16, 2022, 03:19:15 PM »
The small number is precisely how the process got corrupted years ago . . . one of the panelists was found to be taking large [as in $$$,$$$ or even $,$$$,$$$] cash payments from certain new courses overseas, and then arranging for certain panelists to be the first to see those new courses.  Everyone involved should be very wary of such chummy arrangements.


For GOLF DIGEST, with their panel being 5x to 10x larger, I think it takes 25 votes to be eligible for the best new course of the year, and more than that to be eligible for the top 100 in America.  But it's easier to have a higher minimum for American courses than it is if you are trying to get people to go to Thailand, France, Vietnam, etc.  [Even so, I remember the GOLF DIGEST panelist who told me an architect arranged a private jet trip to take a few panelists to see some of his work across the Rocky Mountain states . . . so influence is alive and well in all these rankings.]
Good to see the "pay to play" mode of doing business is still alive and well, TD. LOL! I and I'm sure, others, appreciate your candidness on the subject. This just reinforces why I prefer sites such as this where people passionate about golf course architecture come together and have (typically) civil debates about their likes, dislikes, what's good and what isn't from an informed point of view and by doing so allow others to form educated conclusions from there, as opposed to putting 100% faith in the raters and panelists that work for the leading industry publications knowing a certain percentage of them are compromised by influence.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2022, 04:11:45 PM by Mike Bodo »
"90% of all putts left short are missed." - Yogi Berra

Jake McCarty

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Re: GOLF Magazine 2022 - 23 Top 100 U.S. Course Rankings
« Reply #81 on: November 16, 2022, 03:32:41 PM »
Appreciate your truthfulness Mr. Doak.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2022, 05:10:53 PM by Jake McCarty »

Mark_Fine

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Re: GOLF Magazine 2022 - 23 Top 100 U.S. Course Rankings
« Reply #82 on: November 16, 2022, 03:55:39 PM »
Jake,
As I said does it really matter if a course is ranked 55 or 79 or vice versa? 

Tom Fazio once said it best, ďThere is one course that is clearly #1 - Pine Valley, and then another 200+ courses that could be argued for being #2.Ē

There will always be some head scratchers but usually most of those get sorted over time. 


I have played over 500 courses that have appeared on someoneís Top 100 list at some point in time.  That essentially means there are a lot of great courses (at least 400) that someone thought were Top 100 but didnít make the cut on this latest GM list.  I like Fazioís quote.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2022, 04:02:58 PM by Mark_Fine »

Jake McCarty

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Re: GOLF Magazine 2022 - 23 Top 100 U.S. Course Rankings
« Reply #83 on: November 16, 2022, 04:01:35 PM »
Fair enough: If it doesn't matter, why create a list I say?


I find the San Pellegrino list for top restaurants to have the most interesting methodology. It changes a lot and previous winners are excluded and some duds have been exiled.




Mark_Fine

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Re: GOLF Magazine 2022 - 23 Top 100 U.S. Course Rankings
« Reply #84 on: November 16, 2022, 04:04:26 PM »
People like numerical lists.  It might be fairer to list them alphabetically but what fun is that.  Not enough debate  ;)

John Kavanaugh

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Re: GOLF Magazine 2022 - 23 Top 100 U.S. Course Rankings
« Reply #85 on: November 16, 2022, 04:06:17 PM »
Not that long ago it was cool to be a rater.

Steve Lapper

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Re: GOLF Magazine 2022 - 23 Top 100 U.S. Course Rankings New
« Reply #86 on: November 16, 2022, 04:07:44 PM »

Is there a minimum number and/or percentage of raters that need to rate the course in order for it to qualify? I could not find that information on the GD or GM websites.



For GOLF Magazine, it used to be ten panelists, and I would guess that's still the number, as it is hard to get more than that to go to a remote spot in short order.  Many new courses / architects / publicists then try to make sure not only that they get enough people there, but they also start thinking about managing who those ten panelists are, to find the ones who are most likely to like the course.  [That sort of happens naturally, anyway . . . the first people to go and see my new course in New Zealand will be the ones who already like my work or love Tara Iti.]


The small number is precisely how the process got corrupted years ago . . . one of the panelists was found to be taking large [as in $$$,$$$ or even $,$$$,$$$] cash payments from certain new courses overseas, and then arranging for certain panelists to be the first to see those new courses.  Everyone involved should be very wary of such chummy arrangements.


For GOLF DIGEST, with their panel being 5x to 10x larger, I think it takes 25 votes to be eligible for the best new course of the year, and more than that to be eligible for the top 100 in America.  But it's easier to have a higher minimum for American courses than it is if you are trying to get people to go to Thailand, France, Vietnam, etc.  [Even so, I remember the GOLF DIGEST panelist who told me an architect arranged a private jet trip to take a few panelists to see some of his work across the Rocky Mountain states . . . so influence is alive and well in all these rankings.]


Tom, et.al.,


   The "corruption" you correctly pointed out did, in fact, exist prior to Ran assuming the leadership of the panel. He and Hoyt McGarrity expelled each and every panelist who ever took part in any of those boondoggle junkets.

   Their are no "chummy" relationships to which you cite these days to the best of my knowledge. As for the Landmand visit, Vaughn Halyard simply sent out a broad invitation for any panelist to come to Landmand at the end of August and preview play it. I know I, and several other panelists who were there that day paid a greens fee and most paid a replay rate as well. I have no idea whatsoever if the course owner paid Vaughn or anyone on our panel (I believe Adam Lawrence is not a panelist) to invite us. FWIW, I had no idea Rob Collins would be there and to his credit, he was quite open and accepting to some criticism of certain holes. The same can't be said for all architects.


   As you know, the industry is rife with publicists or others who seek payment in return for promotion of their property. Ran has, again to the best of my knowledge, studiously avoided these kind of promotional invites. The corruption of that previous panelist was grossly blatant and continual and as such, ultimately banished. That said, it is fair for anyone owning a course to invite people, or raters, to some kind of preview round. This is being done with a number of your courses, although, I do believe its not done at your behest.


  Ratings, even your own, are inherently flawed and far from any quantitive or even qualitative perfection. Critics exist in every industry and its human nature to rank even works of art or other intangibles in degrees of importance and acceptance. It's nice to know there are four people who ascribe their names to ratings for the Doak Confidential, but that hardly creates any definitive ranking nor anything more than a smaller set of some relative "groupthink."


  FWIW, I don't believe Ran puts people on the GOLF Magazine Top 100 panel with an eye to sharing his philosophy or "take" on particular styles of courses. I've always known him to choose people whose predilection and availability for travel (similar to yours) seems to be the major criteria. I think it doesn't do you, or anyone  else, any good to criticize what is an honest attempt to provide the public with lists of relative attraction.


PS...Jake...you aren't a member of the GM Top 100 panel (unlike your earliest post) and your assessment of the courses you belong to or are associated with is just one mans opinion.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2022, 06:42:55 AM by Steve Lapper »
The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking."--John Kenneth Galbraith

John Kavanaugh

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Re: GOLF Magazine 2022 - 23 Top 100 U.S. Course Rankings
« Reply #87 on: November 16, 2022, 04:12:26 PM »
Thatís what I said.

Jake McCarty

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Re: GOLF Magazine 2022 - 23 Top 100 U.S. Course Rankings
« Reply #88 on: November 16, 2022, 04:21:22 PM »
good point
« Last Edit: November 16, 2022, 05:11:16 PM by Jake McCarty »

Tim Martin

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Re: GOLF Magazine 2022 - 23 Top 100 U.S. Course Rankings
« Reply #89 on: November 16, 2022, 05:17:45 PM »
good point


Jake-I saw a prior post that you have now deleted that said you try to do the public a favor by rating public courses. For frame of reference how long have you been a course rater?

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