Our Combined Great Britain & Ireland Top 100 Golf Courses List
It's not designed to be definitive but rather something which allows golfers to see how the recognised best courses fare across the four most respected lists in the industry.
You can also view a Sortable Table of all the courses.
In terms of the numbers, 80 of the courses are included in all four lists whilst 28 appear in just one. This is no surprise as each publication have slightly different criteria for amassing their respective rankings.
For the 80 courses in all lists the calculation is a simple one; the sum of the positions is divided by four. However, to establish an average ranking for those courses that are only in one, two or three of the lists we have given each one a nominal rank of 101 if they are not included. This clearly isn't 100% accurate as some courses would inevitably be ranked lower in the respective list but it will hopefully provide a useful guide and doesn't have much impact towards the top end. Indeed the first course not featuring in all four lists is Carne in 69th position.
Things get a little bit more complicated, however, because Golf Monthly has chosen to exclude some private courses from consideration. For these courses we have not given them a nominal 101 ranking but have simply calculated the average rank based on the lists they do feature in. These courses are noted with a *.If any course has the same average score we have given the venue with the highest rank in any given list the higher placement.
Golf Empire founder, Ed Battye, has played the majority of courses on the combined list and below you can find links to his golf course reviews. He has also cast his eye over the combined list and provided some personal thoughts on courses that he feels should perhaps be included and bravely (foolishly?) stated those he thinks could arguably make way!
Askernish is the obvious omission to me. It's probably too controversial to include for these main publications but it is twice the course of many that are included and despite its rudimentary conditioning, which is often used as a stick to beat it with, it is a golf course that undoubtedly merits inclusion in the below list for numerous reasons. It has an array of world-class holes and offers golf in its purest form. In many ways it highlights where golf has gone wrong over recent decades and brings us back to its roots.
Other notable absentees from the "top 129" include Wallasey, Donegal and Castlerock. And whilst neither are shoo-ins for top 100 inclusion it is somewhat surprising they don't feature in any of the four lists. Tenby is another that wouldn't look out of place towards the middle-to-bottom end of the combined list.
Delving a little deeper, and sitting a tier below the courses mentioned above, you are looking at a plethora of layouts which must be knocking on the door including; Ipswich, Hayling, Perranporth, Seaton Carew, Littlestone, Blackmoor, Seacroft, Stoneham, Berwick upon Tweed, Royal Wimbledon and Gullane (No.2). It's hard to make a specific case for any of these individually except to say that if any appeared I would not be overly surprised.
In summary and putting personal taste to one side what this all tells us is that between the four companies they have just about got it covered in terms of discussing the best of golf in Great Britain and Ireland.
For the Chop:
Firstly it should be stated that every course in the below list is there on merit and can rightly be acknowledged as one of the best courses in the British Isles. The courses I would potentially lose are based solely on personal preference to make way for the ones I feel should be included.
Naturally, all the courses listed in the 101-129 range can be questioned about their true top 100 credentials. Of the 29 courses in this bracket Brora and Castletown are two which stand out to me and have an air of quality about them which means they should stay; in fact I would argue that this duo should definitely be inside the top 100.
I would also keep Southerness, Panmure and Beau Desert but have no strong preference about the others except to say that The Belfry does not really warrant its place at this top table for me.
Blairgowrie (Rosemount), the Woburn courses, Wentworth (East), Broadstone, Royal Ashdown Forest (Old), The Addington, Ferndown and Little Aston are a handful of courses I'd also nudge down the pecking order to make way for some of my preferred choices above but that's not to say they should be excluded altogether. I do not feel too strongly about any of the others although I wouldn't shed a tear if The Grove or Remedy Oak were to disappear.
As for those inside the top 100; Parkstone, Portstewart and Royal North Devon are a group I wouldn't mind seeing a touch higher in the list. But more annoyingly, Cruden Bay is placed far too low, as is Royal Aberdeen, and as good as both courses at Sunningdale are I just don't comprehend how they best the clutch of truly world-class links courses Great Britain & Ireland has to offer. Similar could be said, albeit to a much lesser degree, about Woodhall Spa, Walton Heath and Ganton. One of the follies of trying to compare links and heathland golf together I guess. Additionally I'm surprised to see The Berkshire (Blue) so high and Loch Lomond is one that always puzzles me but that's probably to do more with the off-course experience as opposed to the actual golf course.
Like I said above the four lists do a great job at bringing together the best courses and sifting the wheat from the chaff.
In terms of predicting the future there are a couple of new courses; Ardfin & JCB which only feature on the Top 100 website list and Dumbarnie Links in the latest Golf Monthly rankings. I expect all of these will be included in the other rankings when the next editions come out.