August 12, 2008

How Do You Rank?

Editor's Letter

They're No. 1: From left, the Dallas Athletic Club's Kevin Schultz, Matt Housey, Jimmy Wheeler, Doug Manor and Matt Eltz.

I really enjoy poring over Golf Digest's periodic rankings of golfers, like this month's musicians list (See the Top 100 Musicians). It's humbling to know all three Gatlin Brothers, Vince Gill and even Kenny G are better than me, but I could give six a side to Joshua Bell and Celine Dion.

The six-time Grammy winner on our cover, Justin Timberlake, I could play even—holding at least a mathematical advantage. When I mentioned this to one of my teenage daughters, she rolled her eyes and said, "Dad, I love you, but there isn't anything you're better at than Justin Timberlake."

Timberlake is her generation's Bing Crosby, and he'll be around in golf a long time. His new Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas is Oct. 16-19. I wouldn't be surprised if it became part of the FedEx Cup season and moved to Memphis, where he's bought and renovated a public course that will also house his headquarters.

The editors in charge of our player rankings are Lisa Furlong and Craig Bestrom. Craig began interviewing JT for this month's Q&A during the Golf Digest U.S. Open Challenge at Torrey Pines, where Timberlake played the Open course from the tips and broke 100.

Lisa recently compiled another ranking for our biannual lifestyle publication, Golf Digest Index, which rated America's golf clubs not by the quality of their courses but by their membership's playing ability. She calculated the cumulative total of the Handicap Indexes of each club's top-10 players, with the surprising results listed below. Two caveats were imposed: No pros and no more than four college-age kids -- enough of these young pups! (See Mark Calcavecchia's 10 Rules) There seems to be an overabundance of Texas clubs, which supports the long-held view that the State of Hogan, Nelson and Trevino simply breeds tougher competitors.

Playing with better players raises your game. As age and parenthood erode my self-confidence, it's getting easier all the time to find a game with golfers who are better than me. Just ask my daughters.

tarde

THE 50 CLUBS WITH THE BEST PLAYERS

1. Dallas Athletic C., Mesquite, Tex.

__2. Congressional C.C.,__Bethesda, Md.

3. The Palms G.C., La Quinta, Calif.

__4. Hollytree C.C.,__Tyler, Tex.

5. Prestonwood C.C., Cary, N.C.

6. C.C. of North Carolina, Pinehurst

7. Greenville (S.C.) C.C.

8. The Woodlands (Tex.) C.C.

__9. Champions G.C.,__Houston

10. La Paloma G.C., Amarillo, Tex.

11. Pine Valley (N.J.) G.C.

12. North Ridge C.C., Raleigh, N.C.

13. Royal Oaks C.C., Dallas

T-14. Augusta (Ga.) C.C.

T-14. The Farms G.C., Rancho Sante Fe, Calif.

16. Grasslands G. & C.C., Lakeland, Fla.

17. Odessa (Tex.) C.C.

T-18. Peachtree G.C., Atlanta

__T-18. Whisper Rock G.C.,__Scottsdale

20. Abilene (Tex.) C.C.

21. The Fox C., Palm City, Fla.

22. Atlanta Athletic C., Duluth, Ga.

23. Old Town C., Winston-Salem, N.C.

24. Capital City C., Atlanta

T-25.G.C. of Georgia, Alpharetta

__T-25.Traditions G.C.,__Hebron, Ky.

27. Atlanta C.C.

__28. Bulls Bay G.C.,__Awendaw, S.C.

T-29.Acadian Hills C.C., Lafayette, La.

T-29.Elizabeth Manor G. & C.C., Portsmouth, Va.

31. Marsh Landing C.C., Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

__32. Firethorn G.C.,__Lincoln, Neb.

__33. Bear Creek G.C.,__Murrieta, Calif.

34. Olympic Club, San Francisco

T-35.Fox Run G.C., Eureka, Mo.

T-35. Legacy C. at Alaqua Lakes, Longwood, Fla.

37. Wolf Run G.C., Zionsville, Ind.

T-38.Columbia Edgewater C.C., Portland, Ore.

__T-38. The Honors Cse.,__Ooltewah, Tenn.

T-40. Cherry Hills C.C., Englewood, Colo.

T-40. Windsong Farm G.C., Independence, Minn.

T-42. Gainesville (Fla.) C.C.

T-42.Sunnyside C.C., Fresno, Calif.

__T-42.Witch Hollow at Pumpkin Ridge G.C.,__North Plains, Ore.

45. Rancho Murieta (Calif.) C.C.

__T-46. Glenmaura National G.C.,__Moosie, Pa.

T-46. The C. at Nevillewood, Presto, Pa.

48. C.C. of Colorado, Colorado Springs

49. Shoal Creek (Ala.) G.C.

50. Statesville (N.C.) C.C.