Pebble Beach GL. Photo: J.D. Cuban
WEB EXCLUSIVE: State By State: All the facilities scoring at least 75 points
The successful debut of the Readers' Choice Awards a year ago brought with it some anxiety for the editors at Golf World. It wasn't whether this unique critique of golf facilities would resonate with subscribers. After all, it was your list, a ranking derived solely from the opinions of this magazine's most valuable resource: our readers. What made us nervous was whether we could keep leaning on you to get an honest assessment of the thousands of places to play across America.
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The answer, we thankfully found, was a resounding yes. As we unveil the 2010 Golf World Readers' Choice Awards honorees, we can boast more than double the participation in the program's second year. When all the votes were counted, more than 46,000 individual facility ratings and more than 600,000 criteria evaluations were collected.
With twice the number of people voting, facilities meeting the threshold for eligibility substantially increased. So it is that the 2010 list includes several new names -- 30 public establishments, 18 private clubs and 16 resorts to be precise. Moreover, there was a shake-up at the top of the rankings with new facilities claiming the No. 1 spots in the public and private categories (we won't give away the surprise; you'll have to read on to see for yourself).
We remain proud of the fact that, besides being a "populist" list, the Readers' Choice Awards are more than just another ranking of courses, but an assessment of the overall golf experience. It explores all the variables -- from the quality and condition of the course, to the amenities being offered, to the overall value provided to the golfer -- that make a golf facility an enjoyable place to play our favorite game.
So, spend some time with the rankings and start thinking about how you might vote the next time you're asked for your viewpoint. Rest assured, we'll be calling on you again soon.
The Golf World Readers' Choice Awards are based solely on reader input gathered by Golf Digest Publications' Research Resource Center via an online poll conducted in 2008 and 2009. For a facility to be ranked, it had to receive a minimum number of reader evaluations. (Some notable facilities--Southern Hills CC and The Country Club, for example--don't appear because they did not reach that minimum.) Readers graded facilities based on various criteria (see key above) using a 10-point scale. To arrive at an overall aggregate score for each facility, we first calculated the average ratings received in all applicable criteria. The raw scores were weighted to reflect different levels of significance for each of the criteria, with the formula varying based on the category. The overall total then was recalculated to a 100-point scale so a perfect score on every ballot yielded an aggregate of 100. (It's why when reading the accompanying charts a facility's scores in each criteria don't equal its total.) Oak Hill CC, the top-ranked private course in the Readers' Choice Awards, came closest of all facilities to achieving the perfect 100 score, earning a 98.40.