MOVERS AND SHAKERS
Who’s breaking in for the first time and who’s on an upward curve? Jeremy Ellwood takes a look…
ur decision to drop exclusive clubs from our latest rankings (see p66) means we have more courses going up than ever before. Here, we focus on some of the biggest climbers, along with the six new entries this decision has facilitated.
OComing up Trumps First, though, let’s look at the most significant upward moves within the top ten. It’s been a great year for Trump, not just in terms of the US presidency but also our Top 100 rankings. This should come as no surprise, for whatever you think of the man, he has certainly never been afraid to put his hand in his pocket and make bold calls when it comes to his courses.
The incredible work carried out at Turnberry’s Ailsa course, unveiled to the golfing world in the summer, has drawn a collective gasp of astonishment. When a course already ranked 4th improves to the degree that the Ailsa has, it’s little surprise that it should rise to the very pinnacle as a result, returning to No.1 for the first time since 2006.
As for his spectacular Aberdeen links, it continues to draw near-universal praise from all who visit, with even many hardened traditionalists won over by its sheer ‘wow’ factor. After entering our rankings in 14th place last time, it now climbs to 8th, with the only real criticism the severity of the test. Climbing high Beyond the top ten, several courses have really benefited from our decision to remove exclusive clubs, and the lower down the rankings you go, the greater some of the climbs. Sherwood Forest and Woking are among the most notable with their jumps up to 84th and 86th places respectively.
Others have climbed steeply as a result of significant improvement works, with Cruden Bay, our highest climber overall, rising 13 places to 76th. The Aberdeenshire club has reaped the benefit of improvement works to its 9th, 10th and 16th holes under the guidance of renowned course architect Tom Mackenzie. Parkstone is up nine following the remodelling of its 2nd and 14th holes along with further work, while Royal Troon has benefited enormously from improvement works overseen by Martin Ebert ahead of this year’s Open.
With six courses departing courtesy of our new stance, at least six more were always destined to get in for the first time, with some of them – Ferndown, Broadstone and Tandridge – investing heavily in recent years. Completing our sextet are Enniscrone in Ireland, Pennard on The Gower and Murcar right next door to Royal Aberdeen. The 3rd at Trump International Golf Links Cruden Bay has made the biggest leap this year