Top 100 Rankings
Although there are comprehensive criteria for evaluating the Golf Monthly Top 100, we all have our favourites, and rightly so. Rob Smith explains...
Rob Smith explains how the list is compiled and our senior panelists discuss their favourites
s our dedicated team of readers and staff continues its quest from the tees to the greens of the UK and Ireland’s finest layouts, it is important to acknowledge and indeed be grateful for the fact that when it comes to courses, everyone has his or her own tastes.
While the criteria have evolved over the last decade into a robust and widely recognised set that offers a genuine method to compare and contrast, beauty is still very much in the eye of the scorecard holder. There are no absolute bests or scientifically quantifiable worse thans, and while we can hopefully all agree that the Top 100 and Next 100 lists are fair and representative, most of us will
Astill argue that A is better than B, or C should be in the list rather than D. While the Golf Monthly team firmly believes that our rankings are now as fair and reliable as any such list can be, we also very much want to encourage golfers to debate, visit, argue and most importantly just enjoy the endless feast of golf with which we are blessed. The access golfers have to the top courses in the UK is unmatched and that should be a cause for celebration and inspiration. The senior panel that oversees the Top 100 process comprises editor Michael Harris, and two of us who have been fortunate enough to play them all; myself and Jeremy Ellwood. Despite being so close to the process and believing that the criteria are now pretty much spot on, we each have our own more subjective and personal experiences of what sends us into golfing rapture.
I love playing 36 holes in a day (with a good lunch in between!) so to me there is nowhere better than Sunningdale, with its Old and New courses. The beautiful holes of the Old ooze charm and offer the chance of a good score, while the New provides the stiffest of inland tests, ruthlessly examining every facet of your game. The perfect mixture of history and tradition with first-class service and outstanding facilities tops off what I believe to be the best day out a visiting golfer can have in the UK & Ireland.
If Sunningdale is my favourite inland venue, then Royal Dornoch is my favourite links. A former colleague who was a regular visitor to Dornoch hadn’t stopped eulogising about it, so I made my first visit carrying almost