Editors' BlogOctober 9, 2009

GW Readers' Choice: "What are you smoking?"

Golf World's Readers' Choice Awards continue to generate comment. Public, Private and Resort lists all have drawn your fire.

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Dear Editor,>

I used to take some credence in course rankings from all the golf publications, until I received the September 28, 2009 edition of Golf World. How some 46,000 readers and voters could put Tobacco Road as the 4th Best Public Course is unbelievable. I have to believe your polling sample was skewed. Tobacco Road is not even the fourth best public course in North Carolina.>

Thomas Harmicar>

Pinehurst, North Carolina

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Dear Editor,>

I can't believe that Southern Hills in Tulsa, OK is not in the top 50 private golf course. Having played Winged Foot, Trump National, Baltusrol, Shinnecock Hills, etc.. Southern Hills is every bit as good in all categories (Condition, Reputation, Practice, Speed of Play, Clubhouse and Locker Room).>

Richard Hariston >

Member of Champions Golf Club>

Houston, TX

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__Dear Editor, I have played about 40% of your top 50 courses in the Public and Resort catagories, plus a few of the Privates, as well as all the Scottish courses in the Open rota. Pebble Beach is, without question, the best I've ever played. For it to be ranked 28th in the Resort catagory renders your survey essentially meaningless in my opinion. I would suggest you re-evaluate your criteria and how they are weighted. Bart Robertson Torrance, CA __

__Dear Editor,>

I reviewed your 2010 Rankings Guide with some confusion about the "Resort" category. Having played most of the courses in the category, for the life of me, I can't quite understand how World Woods is even considered a resort.>

As a resort World Woods has no hotels and no restaurants within 10 miles; the clubhouse is slightly bigger than a double wide and the "restaurant" is really little more than a snack bar. The courses are nice but not even the best in Brooksville.>

If I made the trip to Brooksville to go to the "resort" at World Woods based upon your ranking, I'd probably cancel my subscription!!>

Jerry Cullen>

Brooksville, FL >

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Ryan Herrington, who oversaw the awards for Golf World, replies to reader Cullen's question: "Our understanding is in addition to golf package at various local hotels, World Worlds has golf villas near the course where people can stay. While, between you and me, our definition of resort is fairly loose, having those connections allows it to be classified in the resort category, which was their preference."

Because Golf World asked readers to weigh golf, value and amenities together, the list is an unusual collection. Some resorts score so high on golf and value that fair or even weak amenities--what we usually consider the heart of a resort experience--may not factor. Example: World Woods. At the other end of the spectrum is Pebble Beach (reader Robertson's letter), where price plays heavily into the calculation. Top Resort at Any Price? Pebble's right there at the top. But our voting readers obviously concluded that while it may be the best, it is not the best value. Finally, these lists are not based on a set "sample" of readers but rather on voluntary ballots of readers who want to take part. That makes all the difference.

--Bob Carney

Photo: North Carolina's Tobacco Road

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