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Niall C

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Augusta National - best course in the world ?
« on: April 07, 2024, 06:14:25 AM »
It has to be hasn't it ? I mean, it gets altered and tweaked nearly every year by some of the very best architects and not only that those changes are road tested every year by the very best golfers under the scrutiny of every golf fan in the world.


For sure, there are some other classic golden age courses out there but many were built in the horse and cart era and haven't had many significant changes if any. How could those courses possibly compete ?


Augusta has to be the best, surely ?


Thoughts ?


Niall

Tom_Doak

  • Karma: +1/-1
Re: Augusta National - best course in the world ?
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2024, 07:16:14 AM »
Augusta National is certainly a candidate for the title, especially if you consider the ability to host a championship for the best golfers in the world as a significant part of title of "best course in the world".  If walkability is also a big part of that title, though, there must be other courses that compete.  [Just ask Tiger Woods.]


Beyond that, I'm not sure I understand your logic.  Their committee tweaks the course every year because they are obsessive, and because they are the richest club in the world and can afford to do it.  But who's to say that their changes are all for the best?




Ally Mcintosh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Augusta National - best course in the world ?
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2024, 08:26:01 AM »
I’m wondering if Niall’s after watching the Augusta National Women’s Amateur where the - British - commentator called it “the best course in the world”.


What a day’s golf. Far more interesting than The Masters.

Marty Bonnar

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Augusta National - best course in the world ?
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2024, 08:58:19 AM »
I’m wondering if Niall’s after watching the Augusta National Women’s Amateur where the - British - commentator called it “the best course in the world”.


What a day’s golf. Far more interesting than The Masters.


It was fun seeing them play from the tees I might try!
 ;D
The White River runs dark through the heart of the Town,
Washed the people coal-black from the hole in the ground.

Eric LeFante

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Augusta National - best course in the world ?
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2024, 08:58:32 AM »
The golf course is certainly different than what Mackenzie built but if you compare today's course to what it was like when Bobby Jones died in 1971 and even further back to the course Hogan/Snead/Nelson won on it really isn't that much different. It's longer and tighter than it used to be but so is Pine Valley and many other great courses. A few bunkers have changed and the greens have been modified slightly for modern green speeds but the routing, green locations, and strategy for the greens are the same. I don't think the original Mackenzie course was better than today's course.


Part of the reason the Masters is great is because of the golf course. It's probably the most exciting golf course in the world. The Women's amateur proves the course is not only for professional men. Yesterday's finish was fantastic.



I think Golf Magazine's ranking of Augusta as 9th in the world is quite a bit off. I believe if you asked a wide range of golfer's what are the top 5 courses they most want to play Augusta would be in there. I think the raters like to ding Augusta because it's different from Mackenzie's version but that doesn't mean it's not one of the very best.


Augusta was forced into some of the changes because equipment for professional men is out of control. The course didn't really change from the 1950's until the late 1990s because equipment didn't change. Nicklaus won all of his majors including his US Amateurs with the same 3 wood. Guys today don't go an entire season with the same clubs in the bag.


« Last Edit: April 07, 2024, 09:00:54 AM by Eric LeFante »

Tim_Weiman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Augusta National - best course in the world ?
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2024, 09:25:15 AM »
Augusta National is certainly a candidate for the title, especially if you consider the ability to host a championship for the best golfers in the world as a significant part of title of "best course in the world".  If walkability is also a big part of that title, though, there must be other courses that compete.  [Just ask Tiger Woods.]


Beyond that, I'm not sure I understand your logic.  Their committee tweaks the course every year because they are obsessive, and because they are the richest club in the world and can afford to do it.  But who's to say that their changes are all for the best?
Tom,


My inclination is to refer back to your comment about Royal Melbourne being the course Augusta wants to be. All things considered I would prefer to play it everyday over Augusta.


Tim
Tim Weiman

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Augusta National - best course in the world ?
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2024, 09:32:42 AM »
It has to be hasn't it ? I mean, it gets altered and tweaked nearly every year by some of the very best architects and not only that those changes are road tested every year by the very best golfers under the scrutiny of every golf fan in the world.


For sure, there are some other classic golden age courses out there but many were built in the horse and cart era and haven't had many significant changes if any. How could those courses possibly compete ?

Augusta has to be the best, surely ?

Thoughts ?

Niall

April Fool’s was last week.

Ciao
« Last Edit: April 07, 2024, 10:31:28 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Augusta National - best course in the world ?
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2024, 10:15:03 AM »
RTJ Jnr and his mates picked a clay site in an area famous for its clay. If they’d picked a site not that far away on the other side of the Savannah River, where many courses have seemingly since been built on sand, then maybe the Masters would now be played on a course more akin to Royal Melbourne or TOC.
Hindsight and speculation though.
Atb

Ian Andrew

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Augusta National - best course in the world ?
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2024, 10:39:40 AM »
For me, not even close....


Six truly spectacular holes, six good holes and six holes that make me say meh.
Pebble Beach breaks down better for me ... and I see them as similar.


That's a long way behind Cypress Point, Royal County Down or Pine Valley when I do the same thing.



Change is good.

Tim Martin

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Augusta National - best course in the world ?
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2024, 11:36:03 AM »
I think Golf Magazine's ranking of Augusta as 9th in the world is quite a bit off. I believe if you asked a wide range of golfer's what are the top 5 courses they most want to play Augusta would be in there. I think the raters like to ding Augusta because it's different from Mackenzie's version but that doesn't mean it's not one of the very best.


I don’t think there is any question at least in the U.S. that ANGC would be at the top of the list of courses people want to play most. Further I wouldn’t be surprised if it is the most sought after play outside the U.S. as well. This isn’t to say that it’s the best course in the world as that is a subjective exercise but it’s up there.

cary lichtenstein

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Augusta National - best course in the world ?
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2024, 12:11:08 PM »
I don't think so. It's great for tournament watching, great great great. But after being there for 7 tournaments, I finally got to play it from the member's tees without the excitement of the crowds.


I was disappointed. I knew every hole before I played it, but it doesn't play all that special.


Here are the holes I really enjoyed: 5,6,9,12,13,15 and 16. I laid up on 13 & 15, those approach spots are off downhill lies.


What courses do I like better as a player? Pine Valley, Pebble Beach, I could probably name another 10 if I bothered to review the list.


What course is as exciting as Augusta for tournaments, Pete Dye, Sawgrass but I hated it as a player, just too hard.
Live Jupiter, Fl, was  4 handicap, played top 100 US, top 75 World. Great memories, no longer play, 4 back surgeries. I don't miss a lot of things about golf, life is simpler with out it. I miss my 60 degree wedge shots, don't miss nasty weather, icing, back spasms. Last course I played was Augusta

Tommy Williamsen

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Augusta National - best course in the world ?
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2024, 01:03:04 PM »
Well, this has the potential to be a very long thread. I have not played it, so I can only answer based on what I have seen on TV. It sure is a good test for elite players, and friends who have played it swear it is a great course. The rankings do bear out that it is one of the best courses in the world. Maybe it is.
Where there is no love, put love; there you will find love.
St. John of the Cross

"Deep within your soul-space is a magnificent cathedral where you are sweet beyond telling." Rumi

Brent Carlson

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Augusta National - best course in the world ?
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2024, 01:33:47 PM »
If we use the Golf Mag rankings I find it hard to believe that AN in its current condition is ahead of Royal Dornoch, Muirfield and Merion for example.  All three of those courses are currently presented at their maximum I would posit.  AN still has potential to become a better course in purists' minds.  That being said it's pretty tough to do and still hold a major.  It needs a serious equipment rollback, then it seems some restoration work could be done.

Michael Morandi

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Augusta National - best course in the world ?
« Reply #13 on: April 07, 2024, 01:44:48 PM »
Having never played it and only having walked it once I can’t say whether it’s the best course. I do not find the fact that it hosts a major every year a compelling argument in its favor. The club has the resources to host a major and maintain exceptional conditions, and the field is much smaller than the other majors. Plus it’s closed a good part of the year. If anything, having a major at the same course every year makes us like it even more. While pro tour scores shouldn’t be a barometer of greatness, can a course that often yields very low total scores be the greatest?

Kalen Braley

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Augusta National - best course in the world ?
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2024, 03:24:59 PM »
I always wonder how much of the course is Cindy Crawford in her prime vs... Joan Rivers after numerous plastic surgeries.

Joel_Stewart

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Augusta National - best course in the world ?
« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2024, 04:24:14 PM »
It could be right there if they restored some of the Mackenzie features like the bunkering, the 9th green and the fairway bunker on 14.


To me its the best 'experience' in golf, the facility has to be the best in the world, the clubhouse is a comfortable museum that is fantastic.  The accommodations are like a Four Seasons hotel and the food is Michelin quality.

Matt Schoolfield

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Re: Augusta National - best course in the world ?
« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2024, 07:19:12 PM »
This thread gets into my very different views of what we mean when we say “best.” “Best” is arguably a consensus based term. That so many of us cannot play there once, much less create a relationship with the course, it’s hard to say.

I think I’d prefer Pasatiempo, but I can’t know that.

For me though, I think it’s hard to argue a non-links, or at least a not sandy site being #1.
Building an encyclopedia of golf courses that anyone can edit: Golf Course Wiki
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I really think golf culture should be more like beer culture than wine culture

Dan_Callahan

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Augusta National - best course in the world ?
« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2024, 08:15:26 PM »

For me though, I think it’s hard to argue a non-links, or at least a not sandy site being #1.


This. Purely subjective, obviously, but my top 10 (and maybe top 20) would all be links courses. Maybe a Raynor course like NGLA or Fishers sneaks in because they’re just so cool. Or Yale if the restoration goes well. But no inland course can compete with a links in terms of the way it plays, in my opinion.


Kevin Pallier

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Augusta National - best course in the world ?
« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2024, 08:41:41 PM »
Augusta has to be the best, surely ?


Would love to have the opportunity to see it in person to answer that Q  ;D


It'd be hard to pass CPC and Royal Melbourne (Composite - with Russell's input) as Mackenzie's best course IMO

Richard Hetzel

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Augusta National - best course in the world ?
« Reply #19 on: April 08, 2024, 06:58:12 AM »
Not even close. In fact, it interests me little, if at all. Is it beautiful? Sure. Is it the best course in the world, no sir.
Last 7:
Westbrook CC (OH), NCR CC South (OH), Fort Jackson Wildcat (SC), True Blue GC (SC), Pinewood CC (NC), Asheboro Muni (NC), Dye River Course (VA)

Adrian_Stiff

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Re: Augusta National - best course in the world ?
« Reply #20 on: April 08, 2024, 11:32:33 AM »
Probably would be #1 if the vote was "the course that most people want to play".

Over the years its slipped down my list as I like more variety and as I see far more attractive golf courses (mainly via this site).


This might be controversial but the huge white bunkers now seem out of place and gathering slopes skewing the ball for artificial hole in ones or miles away for an approach once a few feet from the pin I find a bit trashy.



A combination of whats good for golf and good for turf.
The Players Club, Cumberwell Park, The Kendleshire, Oake Manor, Dainton Park, Forest Hills, Erlestoke, St Cleres.
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Adam Lawrence

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Augusta National - best course in the world ?
« Reply #21 on: April 08, 2024, 11:38:16 AM »
I always thought sarcasm was an English predilection. Seems the Scots are keen on it too.
Adam Lawrence

Editor, Golf Course Architecture
www.golfcoursearchitecture.net

Principal, Oxford Golf Consulting
www.oxfordgolfconsulting.com

Author, 'More Enduring Than Brass: a biography of Harry Colt' (forthcoming).

Short words are best, and the old words, when short, are the best of all.

Steve Lapper

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Augusta National - best course in the world ?
« Reply #22 on: April 08, 2024, 02:11:55 PM »


Part of the reason the Masters is great is because of the golf course. It's probably the most exciting golf course in the world. The Women's amateur proves the course is not only for professional men. Yesterday's finish was fantastic.



I think Golf Magazine's ranking of Augusta as 9th in the world is quite a bit off. I believe if you asked a wide range of golfer's what are the top 5 courses they most want to play Augusta would be in there. I think the raters like to ding Augusta because it's different from Mackenzie's version but that doesn't mean it's not one of the very best.


Augusta was forced into some of the changes because equipment for professional men is out of control. The course didn't really change from the 1950's until the late 1990s because equipment didn't change. Nicklaus won all of his majors including his US Amateurs with the same 3 wood. Guys today don't go an entire season with the same clubs in the bag.




Hello Eric,


   Seeing how we've had a good amount of debate about this subject frequently, and in person, I think it's fair to continue it on these pages.


   Your citation of calling it "probably the most exciting golf course in the world" is a singular, personal opinion. Is it an exciting course and tournament to watch? Sure, more often than not. It is more exciting to play than a Royal Dornoch or a breezy day at Shinnecock or a Sand Hills? I think not. Is more strategic than a Royal Melbourne or The Old Course? I think not. What it is a very, very good course, impeccably manicured, over-tweaked and reliant on slick green speeds. It's only exciting when the tournament is closely contested on the back nine of Sunday.


  Your criticism of Golf Magazine's World ranking at 9th is farther off than ANGC's place on the list. If it's based solely popularity of desire to play, maybe it moves up a few spots, yet for those who've played the other 8, it's place at 9th is more than justified.


 Mackenzie courses like Royal Melbourne and Cypress Point are far better. Your reliance on the cumulative desire of some wide range of golfers is hardly a legitimate criteria for rating it vs.other courses. If that was the case, many of the Top 50 wouldn't belong as too few of such golfers would be familiar enough with them to express that preference. Think about your home course. Should it be rated on how many golfers most want to play it? I don't think you believe the answer would be yes.


  It is a great experience to play there, yet I can think of nearly a dozen other courses I'd prefer to play everyday over Augusta National and a whole other group I'd find far more exciting to play. Hope you and your family are all well. See you soon.


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

Adam Lawrence

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Augusta National - best course in the world ?
« Reply #23 on: April 08, 2024, 02:50:07 PM »
It has always struck me as interesting that the only courses not built on sand that pretty much ever make World Top Ten status are Augusta and Oakmont. I'm not sure what that means, but it is interesting. There is no doubt that sandy ground is the natural home of golf.
Adam Lawrence

Editor, Golf Course Architecture
www.golfcoursearchitecture.net

Principal, Oxford Golf Consulting
www.oxfordgolfconsulting.com

Author, 'More Enduring Than Brass: a biography of Harry Colt' (forthcoming).

Short words are best, and the old words, when short, are the best of all.

Rick Sides

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Augusta National - best course in the world ?
« Reply #24 on: April 08, 2024, 04:19:55 PM »
I will preface by saying I have never stepped foot in Augusta as a spectator or player . Golf course ranking is very subjective . I have been in/around the golf industry many years with a variety of jobs and talked to hundreds of well traveled golfers about their favorite courses . Some choices are similar and some are very different than the main steam publications rankings . Also I feel like people’s view of the course can change based on their playing experiences , mood that day etc . I have played several of the top 10 ranked courses in the US and my favorite course I played was Chambers Bay which doesn’t touch the top 100. My wife walked it with me and we had a lovely day on a fun course and had drinks after looking over the sound . Best golf day of my life . So in my view it’s really hard to say what is suppose to be “the” number one course . I brought someone as a favor onto Pine Valley and the man played poorly and I could hear him chirping to another player that he did not like the course . Unfortunately how some people play the course that day will change their thoughts/rankings.

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