Has It Really Been Two Years?

Yes, it has. My last golf course ranking appeared on Golf.com on July 26, 2007. Since then I have taken a golf sabbatical in Ireland, written a book about said sabbatical (Ancestral Links, New American Library), flogged my “best of” collection of golf stories (Tiger 2.0, Sports Illustrated Books), and retired from my full-time job at Sports Illustrated. It is only now, as I settle into life as a well-heeled pensioner, that I have time to resume my role as golf’s most trusted and independent course evaluator.

As before, my Top Fifty will utilize a secret algorithm developed by Cal Sci professor Charles Eppes. I still don’t understand how the algorithm works — it covers five blackboards in Charlie’s garage — but I’m told that NASA engineers are using it to schedule cafeteria hours at their Huntsville, Ala., research facility. I have also made improvements to the basement computer room at Catch Basin, my Kansas City home — including, but not limited to, upgraded software for my laptop and fresh batteries for the Bomar Brain.

I need a few more days to update the list. In the meantime, I have posted the 7-26-09 ranking in the sidebar. Please let me know if any of the listed courses have closed or otherwise lowered their standards.


Filed under golf

5 responses to “Has It Really Been Two Years?

  1. Pat Woodrum

    Welcome back. But I notice there are no Asian courses on your list. Aren’t there any first-rate courses in Japan, Thailand and China?

  2. Yes, and they’ve all opened since my last post. I’m sure that Asia will crack the Top 50 in the near future. To be honest, the last time I played golf in China there was only one golf course in the entire country — the Arnold Palmer course at the Chung Shan Hot Spring Golf Club in Guangdong Province. A young woman was my caddie and we played in a howling storm with thunder crashing all around us. I wanted to flee to safety, but my Chinese host kept saying, “Other side of mountain.” So we played on. I assumed my host knew what he was talking about until later, when an American friend, a Maryknoll missionary, smiled at my story. “The Chinese,” he said, “are a very fatalistic people.” Translation: I was lucky to be alive.

  3. John Harrity

    Nice list of golf courses, however, why are there not any New England golf courses on your top 50 list? You must have travelled to this part of the country over the years! I would like to invite you to play Worcester Country Club (Worcester MA). A true Donald Ross design and where the first Ryder Cup matches were played. We could even sneak you over to Tatnuck CC in Worcester founded in 1889 for a round. Talk about history!Great seeing Carne, and New Richmond listed. Also, great to see you writing again.
    All the best!

  4. David Henson

    Does the site of your most recent (golf) victory, i.e., Palmetto Hall on Hilton Head Island get a mention??

    Enjoyed your latest foray with blog.

  5. Malcolm Peake

    Hi John,

    Ralph copied me in on your website, it’s fascinating stuff, what about Royal County Down, and Royal West Norkolf two of my personal favourites?
    After last years Askernish Open my group of Sassenachs played a match against Askernish, the result was unimportant, WE WON, but after superb island hospitality it was decided that a return would be played at my own club Temple. Now Temple is an inland golf course, a small members club and the nearest water is the river Thames just a good 3 wood from the 10th tee. It’s going to be a culture shock for the Hebrideans, but in it’s way Temple is very special, firstly the late great Henry Cotton was club professional in the late 50’s, but secondly the course is managed in a most sustainable way. The fairways are nearly 100% natural fescue and the greens are a mosaic of bent/fescue with a little Poa, but the crowning glory is the 50 acres of wild meadow roughs containing 7 species of orchids and a multitude of other flora and fauna. Red Kite and Buzzard fly over head Roe and Fallow deer can be seen at first light, and all this is 20 miles from London/Heathrow. You must come and have a game on your next visit to the UK.

    Kind regards,


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