The new World 100 ex­cludes USA cour­ses. By Ron Whit­ten

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Contents - BY RON WHIT­TEN


GOLF DIGEST’S third bi­en­nial rank­ing of the World 100 Great­est Golf Cour­ses is truly global, show­cas­ing bril­liant lay­outs ev­ery­where from Abu Dhabi to Viet­nam. It ex­cludes United States cour­ses for the first time, so there are 43 new en­tries on the list com­pared to 2016, in­clud­ing Dur­ban Coun­try Club in South Africa. The World 100 Great­est uses a sin­gle cri­te­rion of over­all great­ness scored by in­ter­na­tional pan­el­lists or­gan­ised by our af­fil­i­ate mag­a­zines around the world. Cour­ses from 23 coun­tries are fea­tured, 37 from the United King­dom and Ire­land, 19 from Asia, 18 from Aus­tralia and New Zealand, 17 from North and Cen­tral Amer­ica, six from South Africa and the Mid­dle East, and just three from the en­tire Con­ti­nent of Europe.

If you’re in a de­bat­ing mood, al­low us to pose a topic. Even a cur­sory look at our World 100 Great­est, topped again by Royal County Down in North­ern Ire­land, re­veals that a group of big-name golf-course ar­chi­tects are re­spon­si­ble for many of the cour­ses. Here’s the ques­tion: Does it take a prom­i­nent name to gen­er­ate a world-class course, or does a great course turn an ar­chi­tect into a big name?

Among liv­ing ar­chi­tects, the two with the most de­signs on this rank­ing are Jack Nick­laus and Greg Nor­man, both cham­pion golfers long be­fore they tran­si­tioned into golf de­sign. Each has ve orig­i­nal de­signs among the World 100. Nick­laus has three in Mex­ico, plus oth­ers in South Korea and the Do­mini­can Repub­lic, while Nor­man is cred­ited with two in his na­tive Aus­tralia, two in­Viet­nam, and one in Dubai. Nor­man has also been in­volved in ren­o­va­tion at No 18 New South Wales in Aus­tralia.

Close be­hind those two ti­tans is per­haps the most in uen­tial golf ar­chi­tect on the planet, Tom Doak, with two in New Zealand – in­clud­ing the re­cently opened Tara Iti at No 6 – and two in Aus­tralia. Doak is so re­spected as a de­sign his­to­rian that he has been en­gaged in restor­ing the No 3 Royal Mel­bourne (West) and No 19 Royal Mel­bourne (East), No 85 Royal Ade­laide, all in Aus­tralia, No. 80 Wood­hall Spa (Hotchkin) in Eng­land, No 54 Mid Ocean Club in Ber­muda and, with the as­sis­tance of Cana­dian ar­chi­tect Ian An­drew, No 20 St. Ge­orge’s in On­tario.

Bill Coore and Ben Cren­shaw have three highly placed cour­ses: No 8 Shan­qin Bay in China, No 9 Cabot Cli s in Nova Sco­tia and No 26 Barn­bougle Lost Farm in Aus­tralia. Gary Player has two of his South African de­signs, Fan­court Links (No 38) and Leop­ard Creek (No 65).

Some ar­chi­tects de­serve more at­ten­tion but haven’t achieved it. Con­sider Martin Hawtree, a third-gen­er­a­tion golf ar­chi­tect, now 70, who de­signed one of Scot­land’s most stun­ning new cour­ses, No 64 Trump In­ter­na­tional, and has re­mod­elled sev­eral cour­ses for re­cent Open Cham­pi­onships. Hawtree has also done ex­ten­sive re­vi­sions in the UK and Ire­land, and his in­volve­ment in 12 cour­ses among our World 100 is the most by any ar­chi­tect. His name is of­ten con­fused with an­other Bri­tish ar­chi­tect, Martin Ebert, who with Tom Macken­zie has done sev­eral high-pro le re­mod­elling jobs at Open cour­ses, in par­tic­u­lar No 7 Royal Portrush (Dun­luce), site of the 2019 Open Cham­pi­onship.

If you be­lieve great cour­ses es­tab­lish an ar­chi­tect’s bona des, then Kyle Phillips de­serves men­tion. Phillips served as an as­so­ciate for Robert Trent Jones Ju­nior for more than 15 years be­fore es­tab­lish­ing his rm in 1997. Since then, he has qui­etly pro­duced some of the globe’s nest de­signs. His break­through course was No 30 Kings­barns near St An­drews. He also cre­ated No 44Yas Links in Abu Dhabi, long con­sid­ered the best course in the United Arab Emi­rates, and No 49 South Cape on rocky cli s of South Korea’s Namhae Is­land. Some con­sider it “the Peb­ble Beach” of Korea. ▶ For more on the World 100 and for the coun­try-by-coun­try rank­ings, please go to­est.

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