March 30, 2009

How Our Panel Ranks The Courses

The Golf Digest Course Ranking Panel of more than 900 men and women evaluates courses on seven criteria, each on a scale of 1 (unacceptable) to 10 (absolutely perfect). The categories, which apply to America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses, America's 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses, and Best in State, are as follows:

1. SHOT VALUES

How well does the course pose risks and rewards and equally test length, accuracy and finesse?

2. RESISTANCE TO SCORING

How difficult, while still being fair, is the course for a scratch player from the back tees?

3. DESIGN VARIETY

How varied are the golf course's holes in differing lengths, configurations, hazard placements, green shapes and green contours?

4. MEMORABILITY

How well do the design features (tees, fairways, greens, hazards, vegetation and terrain) provide individuality to each hole, yet a collective continuity to the entire 18?

5. AESTHETICS

How well do the scenic values of the course (including landscaping, vegetation, water features and backdrops) add to the pleasure of a round?

6. CONDITIONING

How firm, fast and rolling were the fairways, and how firm yet receptive were the greens on the day you played the course?

7. AMBIENCE

How well does the overall feel and atmosphere of the course reflect or uphold the traditional values of the game?

ARRIVING AT THE FINAL SCORE

For each course, we total the average scores it gets in the seven categories (the scores in the Shot Values category count double).

THE EIGHT ARRIVALS TO AMERICA'S 100 GREATEST

27. The Club at Black Rock, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

39. Sebonack G.C., Southampton, N.Y.

42. Canyata G.C., Marshall, Ill.

68. Stone Canyon Club, Oro Valley, Ariz.

76. Aronimink G.C., Newtown Square, Pa.

80. Bandon Trails, Bandon, Ore.

83. Eagle Point G.C., Wilmington, N.C.

100. Crooked Stick G.C., Carmel, Ind.

THE EIGHT DEPARTURES FROM AMERICA'S 100 GREATEST

(2007 RANKING IN PARENTHESES)

Camargo Club, Indian Hill, Ohio (55)

Sand Ridge G.C., Chardon, Ohio (60)

Lost Dunes G.C., Bridgman, Mich. (63)

Colonial C.C., Fort Worth (80)

Canterbury G.C., Beachwood, Ohio (94)

Valley Club of Montecito, Santa Barbara, Calif. (96)

The Homestead (Cascades), Hot Springs, Va. (97)

Hawks Ridge G.C., Ball Ground, Ga. (100)

Rankings Editor Topsy Siderowf, Manager/Editorial Projects Sue Sawyer and Editorial Assistants Mary Jane McGirr, Kim Eaton Jeff Patterson and Ashley Mayo oversaw the compilation of surveys for America's 100 Greatest Courses, America's 100 Greatest Public Courses and the Best in State.