TOP 100 COURSE RANKINGS ARE ALL ABOUT ‘BRAGGING RIGHTS’
he latest ranking of South Africa’s Top 100 courses has given cause for me to make some observations which may not be in keeping with your mission. Of course, the criteria you use in conducting this exercise are your own but perhaps I could start there.
Who is being targeted with your rankings? Is the intention to provide recognition to greenkeepers for a job well done? If so, how does one make any meaningful assessment without knowing what budgetary and climatic constraints apply? A greenkeeper may be doing a magnificent job under difficult circumstances but how crushing must a downgrade be in such circumstances? Or is the intention to direct golfers towards those courses that are currently in the best condition?
If so, assessments should only be made in the three months prior to your results being published. Evaluations older than this are irrelevant insofar as conditioning is concerned. I may be reading between the lines but I also have the impression of a slant, however slight, in favour of the lowhandicap golfer who is to be “challenged,” while high handicaps are to be offered “enjoyable options.” A bit condescending this. Again, is the rating intended for the
Tlocal golfer or for tourists? If the latter, perhaps travel and accommodation are factors to be considered. Location certainly enters into the reckoning in assessing value for money and your inclusion of green fees is helpful here. I have a suspicion, however, that bragging rights are the main appeal of the survey and that local golfers will continue visiting their favourite courses unless your comments are really derogatory. It is this last aspect where I feel you have transgressed and is why I wish to take you to task.
A course does not have to be of su cient length and obvious opulence, costliness and modern design to appeal to the discerning golfer. Durban CC is just such an example. In addition, the average age and ability of the majority of golfers predicates that a championship course, although admirable on television, would intimidate most of us in reality. Indeed, for many courses, the least used extravagance is championship tees. It is consequently extremely disappointing to read your disparaging remarks ( March) about one of my favourite courses, Selborne, to which I have been fortunate enough to have enjoyed many visits over more than 20 years.
The comments about the course condition provides proof that neither you nor your volunteers have visited Selborne for some time. I will not detail the travails the estate and club have been through but can say that, thanks to the love and dedication of a couple of professional members who have donated their time, travel and expertise, Selborne is now even better than before notwithstanding your dislike of a particular hole. Storm damage from the past has always been accompanied by improvements.
The course now belongs to the home owners and the hotel has been purchased by a professional enterprise who have restored the gracious building and surrounds with loving care without sparing any expense.
Where you really put your foot in it, however, is in describing Selborne as an estate course, “where the overpowering proximity of housing has reduced the appeal of playing for golfers who like to escape to more natural surroundings.” On the contrary, it has probably one of the lowest densities of tasteful housing of any estate course in the country and indigenous forest with roaming bush buck and duiker and bird life similar to that found at Umdoni. The estate accommodates the delightful Faye Barker Trail and when I read your comments, I question whether any of you have actually ever been to the Selborne I regularly visit.