Combined Top 100 Golf Courses
Great Britain & Ireland
We have combined all three lists together and published the average position for each venue to create a combined Great Britain & Ireland Top 100 Golf Courses list which can be seen below. You can also view a sortable table.
It's not designed to be definitive but rather something which allows golfers to see how the recognised best courses in GB&I fare across the three most respected lists in the industry.
In terms of the numbers, 78 of the courses are included in all three lists whilst 22 appear in just one and the same number in two of them.
For the 78 courses in all three lists the calculation is a simple one; the sum of the positions is divided by three. However, to establish an average ranking for those courses that are only in one or two of the lists we have given them a nominal rank of 101 if they are not included. This clearly isn't 100% accurate as some courses would inevitably be ranked lower in the respective list but it will hopefully provide a useful guide and doesn't have much impact towards the top end. Indeed the first course featuring in just two lists is Carne in 72nd place. All these courses are noted with a *.
Things get a little bit more complicated, however, because Golf Monthly has chosen to exclude some private courses from consideration. For these courses we have not given them a nominal 101 ranking but have simply calculated the average rank based on the lists they do feature in. These courses are noted with a **.
If any course has the same average score we have given the venue with the highest rank in any given list the higher placement. This actually has an effect on top spot because Royal County Down pips The Old Course because both Golf World and the Top 100 website rank it #1 (in Golf Monthly it is #4) whilst all three have St. Andrews at #2.
Golf Empire founder, Ed Battye, has played the majority of courses on the combined list including all of them in England, Scotland and Wales - with the exception of Queenwood [If a member would like to extend an invite or if anybody knows where there is a hole in fence please get in touch] and below you can find links to his golf course reviews.
He has also cast his eye over the combined list and provided some personal thoughts on courses that he feels should perhaps be included and bravely (foolishly?) stated those he thinks could arguably make way!
Askernish is the obvious omission to me. It's probably too controversial to include for the main publications but it is twice the course of many that are included and despite its rudimentary conditioning, which is often used as a stick to beat it with, it is a golf course that undoubtedly merits inclusion in the below list for numerous reasons. It has an array of world-class holes and offers golf in its purest form. In many ways it highlights where golf has gone wrong over recent decades and brings us back to its roots.
Another interesting course not included anywhere is Castletown. I initially suspected that this may be due to it being a self-governing British Crown Dependency (ie: not part of the United Kingdom) so it was not actually eligible for consideration but after some research I found that Golf Monthly (2009) and Golf World (2010) have included it in previous years and the Isle of Man comes under the GB&I heading on the Top 100 website. Regardless, if one is to talk about golf in the British Isles then it should be part of the top 100 conversation.
Other notable absentees from the "top 122" include Beau Desert, Wallasey, Castlerock and Panmure. And whilst none of this quartet are shoo-ins for top 100 inclusion it is somewhat surprising they don't feature in any of the three lists. Delamere Forest, Elie and Tenby are another trio that wouldn't look out of place towards the middle-to-bottom end of the combined list.
Delving a little deeper, and sitting a tier below the courses mentioned above, you are looking at a plethora of layouts which must be knocking on the door including; Ipswich, Prince's, Hayling, Perranporth, Seaton Carew, Littlestone, Blackmoor, Seacroft, Stoneham, Berwick upon Tweed (Goswick), Royal Wimbledon, Glasgow (Gailes Links), Gullane (No.2) and Luffness New. It's hard to make a specific case for any of these individually except to say that if any appeared I would not be overly surprised. They all feature in our most underrated golf courses.
In summary and putting personal taste to one side what this all tells us is that between the three companies they have just about got it covered in terms of discussing the best of golf in Great Britain and Ireland.
For the Chop:
Firstly it should be stated that every course in the below list is there on merit and can rightly be acknowledged as one of the best courses in the British Isles. The courses I would potentially lose are based solely on personal preference to make way for the ones I feel should be included.
Naturally, all the courses listed in the 101-122 range can be questioned about their true top 100 credentials. Of the 22 courses in this bracket Royal North Devon, Brora and Moray (Old) are three which stand out to me and have an air of quality about them which means they should stay; in fact I would argue that this trio should definitely be inside the top 100.
I would also keep Southerness but have no strong preference about the others except to say that Close House and The Belfry do not really warrant their place at this top table for me. Interestingly it is Golf Monthly who is the only one to include these two. Blairgowrie (Rosemount), the Woburn courses, Broadstone, Liphook, Royal Ashdown Forest (Old), The Addington, Ferndown and Little Aston are a handful of courses I'd also possible nudge down the pecking order to make way for some of my preferred choices above but that's not to say they should be excluded altogether.
I do not feel too strongly about any of the others although I wouldn't shed a tear if any of the Duke's St Andrews, The Grove, Remedy Oak or Tandridge were to disappear.
Like I said above the three lists do a great job at bringing together the best courses and sifting the wheat from the chaff.
Other Notable Points:
I'm personally surprised to see The Berkshire (Blue) so high and Loch Lomond is one that always puzzles me but that's probably to do more with the off-course experience as opposed to the actual golf course.
Parkstone, Portstewart, S&A and West Lancs are a group I wouldn't mind seeing a touch higher in the list. But more annoyingly, Cruden Bay is placed far too low, as is Royal Aberdeen, and as good as both courses at Sunningdale are I just don't comprehend how they best the clutch of truly world-class links courses Great Britain & Ireland has to offer. Similar could be said, albeit to a much lesser degree, about Woodhall Spa and Ganton. One of the follies of trying to compare links and heathland golf together I guess.