TOP 100 WHAT HAPPENED TO THE SCORES?
THE FIRST CONCERN and probably the biggest disappointment of your Top 100 course rankings (March) is the omission of the actual score each club achieved. Whilst the actual score is a subjective assessment by a number of people rating courses, once that score is set one can then extract some measurable and comparative value between clubs.
In this regard a club may show a dip in ranking, but on the other hand the score may indicate a very small variance. For example Glendower improved eight places whilst Blair Athol declined 10. It would have been interesting to see the changes in the actual scores. The second concern is that one gets the impression that the South African panel members are either far too generous or have an inated view of the quality of our golf courses. First place went to Fancourt Links, no published score for 2016, but in 2014 the club scored 79.74 points. In comparison, America’s 100 Greatest Courses 2015-2016 do disclose the scores. First place went to Augusta National with 72.15 points. Does this mean that your panel members believe the top course in South Africa is better than Augusta? Golf Digest’s World 100 Greatest Golf Courses puts it all into perspective. First place went to Royal County Down and second place Augusta National. Fancourt Links came 43rd (down from 34), Leopard Creek 88th (down from 84) and Gary Player CC 99th. It is suggested that Highland Gate’s entry at 21st is a little early and probably they should have sat out for the next round when the course will have settled down some, and then prove itself. There are many examples of new courses emerging on the scene but not holding on to the initial hype. Pinnacle Point down to 23 and The Els Club down to 36. I look forward to Steyn City’s entry next time around.As regards recent upgrades of courses I wonder if the committees and members of Country Club Johannesburg (Woodmead course up 5 places to 20) and Randpark (Firethorn course up 9 places to 30) are happy that their large investments have been suitably recognised. John Collier, Gauteng While many of Golf Digest’s course raters have never been to Augusta National, and thus cannot compare it with our best courses, they are not inclined to believe that our courses are better than anything in the United States. While Golf Digest USA and GDSA use mainly the same criteria in which to rate courses, in 2014 we changed our points system. Augusta’s score of 72.15 is calculated out of a total mark of 80. Fancourt’s score of 79.74 in 2014 was out of 100. In 2012, when Leopard Creek was the No 1 course, its mark was 64 out of 80.That score would have been good for No 31 in the USA Top 100. This year we omitted the average scores of each course, for various reasons, but these are still available to clubs if they want them.