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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Using the Web To Find Top Golf Courses

What constitutes a good, or even a great golf course? Everyone has an opinion, so the best way to answer the question is to say it's subjective. However, the rankings published by the national golf magazines can provide some clues. And, they're easily accessible on the web.

None of the rankings is alike. About the only thing the publishers of the rankings consistently agree upon is that Pine Valley is the best course in the country -- and the world. A few years ago, Golf Digest put Pebble Beach ahead of Pine Valley, and golfers-in-the-know were apoplectic. No one could believe it, but I knew why Pebble got the nod. It was because Tiger Woods blew out the field the previous U.S. Open at Pebble, and Pebble enjoyed four days of sunny television coverage. Its natural beauty was hard to ignore. Beauty or not, people on the ratings committee got all excited about a tournament, and let their giddiness about Tiger obscure their judgment. Now that they've had time to settle down, Pine Valley is back where it belongs -- at #1.

So how do you find the rankings? It's easy. The top lists are:

Golf Week also has a great list for golfers like me who don't have access to private layouts on a regular basis. It's their "state-by-state public access" list. It's especially fun if you're from a dinky state; you can brag to your friends about all of the ranked courses you've played. Golf Digest has a "state-by-state" list that incorporates both public and private courses. This too will massage the egos of less-travelled golfers.

If you are not already familiar with these rankings, click on the links above and see how many you've played. You might be surprised!


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