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How many Golf Digest Top 100 Courses have you played?


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#31 DoubleorQuits

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Posted 07 December 2016 - 10:09 AM

I would guess there are only about 30 or so really worth seeking out.


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#32 raynorfan1

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Posted 07 December 2016 - 11:38 AM

View PostDoubleorQuits, on 07 December 2016 - 10:09 AM, said:

I would guess there are only about 30 or so really worth seeking out.

I think the number is actually a lot higher. The problem is that courses (and experiences) are rarely at their very best. And a perfect day - in every way - on #75 is likely going to be "better" than an average day at #30, and still better than a "bad" day at a Top 10 (even the best have off days).

I've had some pretty special days at places like Eastward Ho! (#152) or Cal Club (#136) and some pretty uninspired days at courses in the Top 20.

The other thing that I've come to realize is that a lot of the best places have a certain subtlety about them that can be difficult to pick up in a single round. I've been lucky to play one top 100 course quite a lot, and it has a hole on it that I always felt didn't belong in the same class as the other 17. One day I played it with the head pro, and I was complaining about how it wasn't really up to snuff. He then went on to demonstrate that I just didn't really understand the hole from an architecture perspective, and was actually being "tricked" into playing it in a way that created a lot more risk (and relatively little reward). Since then, I've come to appreciate that hole - but it took 20+ rounds and instruction from the pro to get there. Most visitors to the course are going to play it once and walk away thinking it's just an unfair hole that doesn't belong.

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#33 DoubleorQuits

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Posted 08 December 2016 - 08:46 AM

View Postraynorfan1, on 07 December 2016 - 11:38 AM, said:

View PostDoubleorQuits, on 07 December 2016 - 10:09 AM, said:

I would guess there are only about 30 or so really worth seeking out.

I think the number is actually a lot higher. The problem is that courses (and experiences) are rarely at their very best. And a perfect day - in every way - on #75 is likely going to be "better" than an average day at #30, and still better than a "bad" day at a Top 10 (even the best have off days).

I've had some pretty special days at places like Eastward Ho! (#152) or Cal Club (#136) and some pretty uninspired days at courses in the Top 20.

The other thing that I've come to realize is that a lot of the best places have a certain subtlety about them that can be difficult to pick up in a single round. I've been lucky to play one top 100 course quite a lot, and it has a hole on it that I always felt didn't belong in the same class as the other 17. One day I played it with the head pro, and I was complaining about how it wasn't really up to snuff. He then went on to demonstrate that I just didn't really understand the hole from an architecture perspective, and was actually being "tricked" into playing it in a way that created a lot more risk (and relatively little reward). Since then, I've come to appreciate that hole - but it took 20+ rounds and instruction from the pro to get there. Most visitors to the course are going to play it once and walk away thinking it's just an unfair hole that doesn't belong.

Crystal Downs?

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#34 maga_golfer

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Posted 08 December 2016 - 09:26 AM

View PostDoubleorQuits, on 08 December 2016 - 08:46 AM, said:

View Postraynorfan1, on 07 December 2016 - 11:38 AM, said:

View PostDoubleorQuits, on 07 December 2016 - 10:09 AM, said:

I would guess there are only about 30 or so really worth seeking out.

I think the number is actually a lot higher. The problem is that courses (and experiences) are rarely at their very best. And a perfect day - in every way - on #75 is likely going to be "better" than an average day at #30, and still better than a "bad" day at a Top 10 (even the best have off days).

I've had some pretty special days at places like Eastward Ho! (#152) or Cal Club (#136) and some pretty uninspired days at courses in the Top 20.

The other thing that I've come to realize is that a lot of the best places have a certain subtlety about them that can be difficult to pick up in a single round. I've been lucky to play one top 100 course quite a lot, and it has a hole on it that I always felt didn't belong in the same class as the other 17. One day I played it with the head pro, and I was complaining about how it wasn't really up to snuff. He then went on to demonstrate that I just didn't really understand the hole from an architecture perspective, and was actually being "tricked" into playing it in a way that created a lot more risk (and relatively little reward). Since then, I've come to appreciate that hole - but it took 20+ rounds and instruction from the pro to get there. Most visitors to the course are going to play it once and walk away thinking it's just an unfair hole that doesn't belong.

Crystal Downs?

Almost sounds like 18 at CPC.

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#35 DoubleorQuits

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Posted 09 December 2016 - 02:37 PM

View Posttrippster01, on 08 December 2016 - 09:26 AM, said:

View PostDoubleorQuits, on 08 December 2016 - 08:46 AM, said:

View Postraynorfan1, on 07 December 2016 - 11:38 AM, said:

View PostDoubleorQuits, on 07 December 2016 - 10:09 AM, said:

I would guess there are only about 30 or so really worth seeking out.

I think the number is actually a lot higher. The problem is that courses (and experiences) are rarely at their very best. And a perfect day - in every way - on #75 is likely going to be "better" than an average day at #30, and still better than a "bad" day at a Top 10 (even the best have off days).

I've had some pretty special days at places like Eastward Ho! (#152) or Cal Club (#136) and some pretty uninspired days at courses in the Top 20.

The other thing that I've come to realize is that a lot of the best places have a certain subtlety about them that can be difficult to pick up in a single round. I've been lucky to play one top 100 course quite a lot, and it has a hole on it that I always felt didn't belong in the same class as the other 17. One day I played it with the head pro, and I was complaining about how it wasn't really up to snuff. He then went on to demonstrate that I just didn't really understand the hole from an architecture perspective, and was actually being "tricked" into playing it in a way that created a lot more risk (and relatively little reward). Since then, I've come to appreciate that hole - but it took 20+ rounds and instruction from the pro to get there. Most visitors to the course are going to play it once and walk away thinking it's just an unfair hole that doesn't belong.

Crystal Downs?

Almost sounds like 18 at CPC.

I was thinking #17 at CD!


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#36 28tosssweep

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Posted 02 February 2017 - 03:55 PM

I've played a lot of them but still haven't made it to Shinnecock and National.  Need to get that done soon!

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#37 AllstateMaine

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Posted 02 February 2017 - 04:06 PM

16 The Country Club
21 The Ocean Course
30 Pinehurst #2
36 Bandon Dunes
38 Bethpage Black
51 TPC Sawgrass
56 Old Sandwich
82 Boston GC
91 Essex CC

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#38 ThinkingPlus

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 09:14 PM

48. Spyglass Hill (O)
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#39 adamjstl

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 10:05 AM

View PostAllstateMaine, on 02 February 2017 - 04:06 PM, said:

16 The Country Club
21 The Ocean Course
30 Pinehurst #2
36 Bandon Dunes
38 Bethpage Black
51 TPC Sawgrass
56 Old Sandwich
82 Boston GC
91 Essex CC

Of this group that you've played, how accurate are the rankings?

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#40 raynorfan1

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 10:25 AM

View Postadamjstl, on 04 February 2017 - 10:05 AM, said:

View PostAllstateMaine, on 02 February 2017 - 04:06 PM, said:

16 The Country Club
21 The Ocean Course
30 Pinehurst #2
36 Bandon Dunes
38 Bethpage Black
51 TPC Sawgrass
56 Old Sandwich
82 Boston GC
91 Essex CC

Of this group that you've played, how accurate are the rankings?

I've played all of those except Bandon, and wouldn't quibble with how most of them are rated, especially once you understand how much "resistance to scoring" counts in the methodology.

16 The Country Club (Hard to say, I've only played one course ranked higher. Its ranking will undoubtedly rise over the next couple of years as it gets ready for the US Open)
21 The Ocean Course (Over-rated from my enjoyment perspective, but it's a really hard golf course, so I get why it's so high)
30 Pinehurst #2 (about right)
36 Bandon Dunes (have not played)
38 Bethpage Black (over rated, again, probably on the basis that it's so frickin hard)
51 TPC Sawgrass (about right)
56 Old Sandwich (under rated)
82 Boston GC (probably about right)
91 Essex CC (Over rated - I love the course, but there are a bunch rated lower that I'd rather play).

Edited by raynorfan1, 04 February 2017 - 10:25 AM.


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#41 AllstateMaine

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 10:59 AM

View Postadamjstl, on 04 February 2017 - 10:05 AM, said:

View PostAllstateMaine, on 02 February 2017 - 04:06 PM, said:

16 The Country Club
21 The Ocean Course
30 Pinehurst #2
36 Bandon Dunes
38 Bethpage Black
51 TPC Sawgrass
56 Old Sandwich
82 Boston GC
91 Essex CC

Of this group that you've played, how accurate are the rankings?

I'd say the courses are fairly accurate. It all depends on skill level and personal preference. I'm a huge fan of old school, New England, Donald Ross tracks...so I'm a little partial to the Boston-area courses. Bethpage was HARD, even trying to do myself a favor and playing one tee forward. Ocean Course is scenic, probably over rated slightly. My all time favorite course I've ever played is The Country Club. Being super competitive and a pretty good stick, I'm probably bias considering how I played at each haha

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#42 cu1998tigers

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 08:25 PM

1) Pine Valley - P
7) Pebble Beach - O
13) Seminole - P
18) Pacific Dunes - O
21) Ocean Course - P
30) Pinehurst #2 - O
36) Bandon Dunes - 0
47) Old MacDonald - U
48) Spyglass Hills - U
68) Bandon Trails - U
73) Congressional CC (Blue) - P
80) Boston GC - U

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#43 C. Spackler

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 12:06 AM

I'm going with the most recent list from GD 20187/18

http://www.golfdiges...courses-ranking

5. OAKMONT - Even at 5, its under-rated.  The most penal and unforgiving course I've ever plaid....even in perfect conditions.  
7. PEBBLE BEACH - The first time is overwhelming with the high expectations, mystique and the beauty of Monterey but after playing it a few times, the pace of play, some ordinary holes, coupled with the cost, is enough for me to consider it a bit over-rated.

19. FRIAR'S HEAD - Fantastic course.
21. THE OCEAN COURSE - I've played it about a dozen times and consider it one of the top 5 courses I've ever played.  
22. WHISTLING STRAITS (STRAITS) - Overrated.  Fantastic location with some really good holes...BUT, poor course conditions, caused by heavy play, pace of play and cost leaves a little sour taste.
30. PINEHURST #2 - Great course from a design/architectural perspective with some unforgettable green structures.
49. SPYGLASS HILL - Seriously Underrated.  Best opening 5-6 holes in golf, IMO, and amazingly maintained. Your "A" game is a must here.  Prefer over Pebble.
51. TPC SAWGRASS - Of the "TPC" course, probably my favorite but heavy traffic, poor conditions half the year and slow play make it over-rated at this spot, for me...but you will remember your tee shot at 17 forever, regardless of how well played.  

72. MAIDSTONE - Underrated.  Beautiful, difficult and fun!
92. BLACKWOLF RUN - Overrated.  Well maintained and tough but underwhelming.  

Difficult to determine where a course should be rated without playing the majority, just basing on personal opinion.  

Edited by C. Spackler, 05 February 2017 - 12:07 AM.


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#44 Niknar11

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 08:27 AM

Once you've tasted the cream at the top its difficult to go back to normal courses. Hard to call a course that sits atop most rankings underrated but Pine Valley exceeded all of my expectations and anyone who has the chance to grace the Borough of PV knows how much fun the place is. Having played Royal County Down and shinnecock I would say PV is a clear winner, then again i haven't seen Augusta or Cypress in the flesh so can't make a fully informed decision yet. To keep this in line with the topic - played about 11 of the top 20 and 25 of the top 100

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#45 Sean2

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 08:30 AM

None. But I probably played some in the bottom hundred.

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#46 Rookie1422

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 05:15 PM

View PostArgonne69, on 29 November 2016 - 11:31 AM, said:

America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses ('15-'16)

#18 - Pacific Dunes (P)
#20 - The Ocean Course (O)
#22 - Whistling Straits (P)
#28 - Pinehurst No 2 [Pre-renovation] (O)
#37 - Bandon Dunes (O)
#42 - Erin Hills (U)
#55 - Old Macdonald (U)
#65 - Arcadia Bluffs (O)
#74 - Bandon Trails (P)
#91 - Blackwolf Run River (P)
#96 - The Pete Dye Course (U)
#100 - Streamsong Red (U)


America's 100 Greatest Golf Public Courses ('15-'16)

#2 - Pacific Dunes (P)
#3 - The Ocean Course (O)
#4 - Whistling Straits (P)
#5 - Pinehurst No 2 [Pre-renovation] (O)
#7 - Bandon Dunes (O)
#8 - Erin Hills (U)
#12 - Old Macdonald (U)
#13 - Arcadia Bluffs (O)
#15 - Bandon Trails (P)
#16 - Blackwolf Run River (P)
#17 - The Pete Dye Course (U)
#18 - Streamsong Red (U)
#19 - Harbour Town Golf Links (O)
#24 - Streamsong Blue (P)
#27 - Mauna Kea (P)
#35 - The Prairie Club Dunes (U)
#40 - PGA West Stadium (P)
#47 - Whistling Straits Irish (P)
#48 - Tullymore GC (O)
#50 - The Dunes Golf and Beach Club (O)
#53 - Cog Hill No 4 Dubsdread (P)
#66 - World Woods Pine Barrens (P)
#68 - TPC San Antonio Oaks (P)
#69 - Onmi Barton Creek Fazio Canyons (O)
#70 - The Bull at Pinehurst Farms (P)
#73 - Caldonia Golf and Fish Club (P)
#74 - Longaberger (P)
#75 - The Prairie Club Pines (P)
#77 - Wild Horse GC (U)
#80 - Pinhurst No 8 (P)
#83 - The Donald Ross Course at French Lick (O)
#84 - Bay Harbor Links/Quarry (P)
#85 - Lawsonia Links (U)
#97 - Bay Hill (O)

^ AMAZING

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#47 DLiver

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 05:58 PM

I've played 30 of the current list:

http://www.golfdiges...courses-ranking

Too much work to type them all in. If someone can point me to a printed list, I would be happy to cite the actual courses and my opinions. In general, I think the rankings are reasonable. However there are a TON of fantastic courses in the second 100 too.

Edited by DLiver, 13 February 2017 - 07:24 AM.


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#48 AC168

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 01:35 AM

46 on the latest list

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#49 Gdane

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 04:22 PM

Of the top 100, zero.  Of the top 100 public I've played Whistling Straights Irish (48) and Tullymore (49). Both overrated IMO.

This summer I'm playing 4 more and will try to make room for a 5th:

Forest Dunes (23)
Dormie Club (43)
Tobacco Road (71)
The Bear at Grand Traverse (81)

I've been trying to make a day trip up to The Bull at Pinehurst Farms (70) but just haven't been able to fit it in.

For the life of me I don't understand how Greywalls in Michigan doesn't crack this list.
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#50 Argonne69

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 03:27 PM

View PostRookie1422, on 12 February 2017 - 05:15 PM, said:

View PostArgonne69, on 29 November 2016 - 11:31 AM, said:

America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses ('15-'16)

#18 - Pacific Dunes (P)
#20 - The Ocean Course (O)
#22 - Whistling Straits (P)
#28 - Pinehurst No 2 [Pre-renovation] (O)
#37 - Bandon Dunes (O)
#42 - Erin Hills (U)
#55 - Old Macdonald (U)
#65 - Arcadia Bluffs (O)
#74 - Bandon Trails (P)
#91 - Blackwolf Run River (P)
#96 - The Pete Dye Course (U)
#100 - Streamsong Red (U)


America's 100 Greatest Golf Public Courses ('15-'16)

#2 - Pacific Dunes (P)
#3 - The Ocean Course (O)
#4 - Whistling Straits (P)
#5 - Pinehurst No 2 [Pre-renovation] (O)
#7 - Bandon Dunes (O)
#8 - Erin Hills (U)
#12 - Old Macdonald (U)
#13 - Arcadia Bluffs (O)
#15 - Bandon Trails (P)
#16 - Blackwolf Run River (P)
#17 - The Pete Dye Course (U)
#18 - Streamsong Red (U)
#19 - Harbour Town Golf Links (O)
#24 - Streamsong Blue (P)
#27 - Mauna Kea (P)
#35 - The Prairie Club Dunes (U)
#40 - PGA West Stadium (P)
#47 - Whistling Straits Irish (P)
#48 - Tullymore GC (O)
#50 - The Dunes Golf and Beach Club (O)
#53 - Cog Hill No 4 Dubsdread (P)
#66 - World Woods Pine Barrens (P)
#68 - TPC San Antonio Oaks (P)
#69 - Onmi Barton Creek Fazio Canyons (O)
#70 - The Bull at Pinehurst Farms (P)
#73 - Caldonia Golf and Fish Club (P)
#74 - Longaberger (P)
#75 - The Prairie Club Pines (P)
#77 - Wild Horse GC (U)
#80 - Pinhurst No 8 (P)
#83 - The Donald Ross Course at French Lick (O)
#84 - Bay Harbor Links/Quarry (P)
#85 - Lawsonia Links (U)
#97 - Bay Hill (O)

^ AMAZING

Thanks. I added Pelican Hill South (61) and Pelican Hill North (89) last month. I'm tentatively scheduled to play Wolf Creek (41) in April, and Pebble Beach (1),  Spyglass Hill (11), Pasatiempo (21), and The Links at Spanish Bay (49) in July or August.

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#51 RipVan

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 03:39 PM

28....surprised so low but most of the top 20.

Used to be just under half of the top 100

Lots of newer courses that I have not played

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#52 SmiterOfPv1x

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 08:18 PM

Sadly only one, Muirfield Village in Dublin OH. I've played Longaberger too, but I doubt it's still ranked in the top 100. Probably makes the public list but not overall in the US. It's gone downhill some but is still a fantastic course. Muirfield Village is tough. Super course but I'd hate to see what my handicap would be if I was a member and used this course to maintain it. It doesn't set up well for my style of play. I'm a bomber that struggles with accuracy and other than a streaky round here and there can't putt worth a darn.

Funny story (if you like darkish humor), I had a tee time to play (at the time it was top 50 don't know if it's still on the list as I didn't look it up) Firestone. On my drive up there we were caught in a complete traffic stop on I-71. This was about 20 years ago or so. Complete unmoving stoppage of traffic for 6+ hours. What was the cause you might ask? Turns out a policeman in Columbus OH had shot and killed his girl friend then led police on about an 80 mile high speed chase up I-71, ran out of his car, got into a shootout with State Troopers in a nearby woods and ended up offing himself. Once I heard on the radio what was going on, and it became more apparent that I was going to miss my one and only chance to play this great course, I remember yelling out the window (don't judge I was around 20 years old then) "Just shoot the bleeper already!!" It took me a full year to get over missing out on that one.

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#53 SilverBullets

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 03:12 PM

View PostSmiterOfPv1x, on 21 March 2017 - 08:18 PM, said:

Sadly only one, Muirfield Village in Dublin OH. I've played Longaberger too, but I doubt it's still ranked in the top 100. Probably makes the public list but not overall in the US. It's gone downhill some but is still a fantastic course. Muirfield Village is tough. Super course but I'd hate to see what my handicap would be if I was a member and used this course to maintain it. It doesn't set up well for my style of play. I'm a bomber that struggles with accuracy and other than a streaky round here and there can't putt worth a darn.

Funny story (if you like darkish humor), I had a tee time to play (at the time it was top 50 don't know if it's still on the list as I didn't look it up) Firestone. On my drive up there we were caught in a complete traffic stop on I-71. This was about 20 years ago or so. Complete unmoving stoppage of traffic for 6+ hours. What was the cause you might ask? Turns out a policeman in Columbus OH had shot and killed his girl friend then led police on about an 80 mile high speed chase up I-71, ran out of his car, got into a shootout with State Troopers in a nearby woods and ended up offing himself. Once I heard on the radio what was going on, and it became more apparent that I was going to miss my one and only chance to play this great course, I remember yelling out the window (don't judge I was around 20 years old then) "Just shoot the bleeper already!!" It took me a full year to get over missing out on that one.

haha that stretch of 71 between Cleveland and Columbus is never fun.  I have been sitting in dead stopped traffic while some part of that freeway was closed more times than I care to recall.  I remember one time coming home from a race at MidOhio and it was just stopped.  Same kind of situation, hours on end.  Cars turned off, people hanging out on the road out of their cars.  It was awful.  A SUV filled with college spring breakers had flipped and ejected people across the freeway.  We watched the chopper land on the freeway.  It was awful.

MVGC is not the place to attack from the rough all day long lol.  The good thing about that place in regards to handicap, is an 85 is about the equivalent to a 79 at most tracks lol.
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#54 snowdayz

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 10:42 PM

The top 100 I've played are:

#4   Shinnecock Hills
#5   Oakmont
#6   Merion (east)
#7   Pebble Beach
#9   Sand Hills
#10  Winged Foot (west)
#11  Fishers Island
#12  Crystal Downs
#16  Country Club
#17  Oakland Hills (south)
#18  Pacific Dunes
#20  Oak Hill (east)
#22  Whistling Straits
#23  Los Angeles C.C. (North)
#24  Riviera
#26  Shadow Creek
#28  Gozzer Ranch
#29  Prairie Dunes
#30  Pinehurst #2
#31  Olympic Club  (lake)
#32  The Honors Course
#33  Peachtree
#34  The Golf Club
#35  Southern Hills
#36  Bandon Dunes
#37  San Francisco G.C.
#38  Bethpage (black)
#39  Baltusrol (Lower)
#41  Sebonack
#43  Victoria National
#44  Erin Hills
#47  Old Macdonald
#49  Spyglass
#51  TPC Sawgrass
#52  Camargo
#53  Kinloch
#54  Interlachen
#56  Old Sandwich
#57  Scioto
#59  Dallas National
#61  Baltusrol  (upper)
#62  Winged Foot (east)
#64  Somerset Hills
#67  Kittansett Club
#68  Arcadia Bluffs
#70  Bandon Trails
#75  Congressional (blue)
#76  Quaker Ridge
#77  Plainfield C.C
#79  Olympia Fields (north)
#81  Valhalla
#88  Rich Harvest Links
#89  Inverness
#92  Blackwolf Run (river)
#97  Flint Hills

Well over half the 100, in my personal opinion I believe each course has its unique characteristics and special things that will make it unique to one person and not so much to many others.  We all have our own personal taste and what one person might not like another will adore greatly.  So with that I give my own top 10 from just the courses I listed above.

#1   Fishers Island
#2   Shinnecock Hills
#3   Merion
#4   Oakmont
#5   Pebble Beach
#6   Los Angeles C.C.
#7   Peachtree
#8   Sand Hills
#9   Camargo
#10 The Country Club

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#55 nix

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 10:14 AM

none


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#56 3 Jack Par

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 12:06 PM

View Post3 Jack Par, on 29 November 2016 - 12:06 PM, said:

#13 - Crystal Downs CC (O - but still very cool)
#15 - Muirfield Village GC (P)
#65 - Arcadia Bluffs GC (O)
#97 - Valhalla GC (P)
Added 4 more last weekend!
18 - Pacific Dunes (U - I'd put it ahead of both Crystal Downs and Muirfield Village
36 - Bandon Dunes (U)
47 - Old MacDonald (P)
70 - Bandon Trails (U - there is no way Arcadia Bluffs should be ranked higher)

Such an amazing collection of courses in one place!

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Posted 29 March 2017 - 02:49 PM

i've only played one on the list and that is The Honors.  the new superintendent is putting a big time effort in making the course better to make his statement not that it was bad before.  i tend to like courses away from houses, more of a walk through nature.

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#58 Argonne69

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 10:51 AM

I played Wolf Creek (41) on Saturday. I'd rank it as my favorite desert golf course, and probably one of the most visually interesting courses I've ever played. Next up, Monterey.

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#59 kmak

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 12:35 PM

A total of 23, but 9 of the top 10 and 13 of the top 17.  Favorites are PV, Merion and Oakmont.

1 Pine Valley
2 Augusta
3 Cypress Point
4 Shinnecock
5 Oakmont
6 Merion
7 Pebble Beach
8 National Golf Links
10 Winged Foot west
13 Seminole
14 Chicago Golf Club
15 Muirfield Village
17 Oakland Hills
34 The Golf Club
39 Baltusrol lower
49 Spyglass
57 Scioto
61 Baltusrol upper
66 Shoreacres
72 Maidstone
76 Quaker Ridge
86 Double Eagle
89 Inverness

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#60 teejaywhy

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 07:55 AM

View Postraynorfan1, on 07 December 2016 - 11:38 AM, said:

...
The other thing that I've come to realize is that a lot of the best places have a certain subtlety about them that can be difficult to pick up in a single round. I've been lucky to play one top 100 course quite a lot, and it has a hole on it that I always felt didn't belong in the same class as the other 17. One day I played it with the head pro, and I was complaining about how it wasn't really up to snuff. He then went on to demonstrate that I just didn't really understand the hole from an architecture perspective, and was actually being "tricked" into playing it in a way that created a lot more risk (and relatively little reward). Since then, I've come to appreciate that hole - but it took 20+ rounds and instruction from the pro to get there. Most visitors to the course are going to play it once and walk away thinking it's just an unfair hole that doesn't belong.

A great observation! It has been my belief that the best courses do take time to reveal themselves, offering cerebral challenges in addition to testing physical skill.  It seems the trend in modern golf design eschews the thinking part of the game, instead, offering a simple serial test of shotmaking. Blended with the popularity of the lush green presentation and resulting soft conditions, the game has evolved into one requiring a purely aerial attack.  When a golfer's experience is limited to this style of one-dimensional golf,  it can be confusing when presented with a course that asks for some thought, suggests the use of the ground to influence the movement of the ball, or where to get the ball close to the hole, one needs to play away from the hole.


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