Golf Digest editors picks

2009 Golf World Readers' Choice Awards

Golf World debuts its first ranking of the best public, private and resort facilities in the country, using the most knowledgeable group of people we could find to serve as judges -- our readers

Cypress Point

Cypress Point Golf Course. Photo: J.D. Cuban

October 16, 2008

2009 Readers' Choice Awards | Letter from the Editor-in-Chief
RANKINGS: The Top 50 Public Golf Facilities | Private | Resort
RANKINGS: The Top 10 in the U.S.: Public Facilities | Private | Resort
RANKINGS: The Top 38 golf destinations in North America and Europe
SELECTED PHOTO HIGHLIGHTS: Public | Private | Resort | The Best of the Best
WEB EXCLUSIVE: Top 10 Facilities in each ranking category: Public | Private | Resorts
WEB EXCLUSIVE: State By State: All the facilities scoring at least 75 points
Send us your comments: Readerschoice@golfworld.com

What makes for a great place to play golf? The question seems simple enough ... until, that is, you try to actually answer it. Certainly, the course itself is a major contributor -- how appealing it is to the eye as well as how challenging it is to the body and mind. Still, there are other intangibles to consider. Could you hit a few balls before you played? Did you have a caddie who made the day more enjoyable? Was there a comfortable spot in the clubhouse or locker room to gather afterwards and relive the round?

Ranking Criteria

Suffice it to say, we're certain you will find nothing but great places to play when you explore the facilities that comprise Golf World's inaugural list of Readers' Choice Awards honorees. How can we know for sure? Because you're the ones who told us about them. Tapping into the knowledge of our most valuable resource -- our readers -- Golf World spent nearly six months gathering data on golf establishments throughout the country, evaluating them across multiple criteria to identify the nation's premier facilities. When all was said and done, we received more than 21,000 individual golf course ratings and more than 252,000 criteria evaluations.

Our debut edition of the Readers' Choice Awards explores three different categories of facilities: public, private and resort. Within each, we've developed a ranking of the top 50 locations, as well as broken down the "Best of the Best," mini-rankings of the top facilities for off-course amenities, practice areas, overall value and a host of other factors. Indeed, what we hope you will find most interesting -- and most beneficial -- about the Readers' Choice Awards is that it is more than simply another ranking of golf courses. Certainly, we weighted the quality of the golf heavily, but we included for consideration those other variables that account for the facility's overall experience. What is the service like? How are the hotel accommodations? Is the speed of play quick enough to make things enjoyable?

What you will find among our list of winners are some of the country's most decorated golf establishments. Golfers have long considered Augusta National GC and Kiawah Island Resort, our top-ranked facilities in the private and resort categories, to be hallowed grounds.

Sea Island

Sea Island Golf Club. Photo: Michael Clemmer

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