Askernish Still No. 1 in Latest Top 50

The Top 50 has finally been updated, and Askernish Old of South Uist Island, Scotland — a ghost course — remains the top-ranked layout in the world. I’ll have more to say about the new list tomorrow, but I have told my weary staffers to take the rest of the night off, and I plan to do the same. So, until tomorrow … fairways and greens!


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5 responses to “Askernish Still No. 1 in Latest Top 50

  1. I am glad that Tiger Woods is back playing. It makes the sport thrilling once more.

  2. Michael

    why would 2 or 3 Jim Engh courses be on this list?

    • Why are you surprised? Jim Engh was Golf Digest‘s Architect of the Year in 2003, and GOLF Magazine named him one of three “key architects of the new millennium.” (The other two were Tom Doak and Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw.) Engh might be as famous as Donald Ross if he didn’t spend so much time hustling darts in Irish pubs.

  3. Steve Salmen

    Dear John,

    It was through your ranking several years ago that I learned of Askernish. Last year, my wife and I spent our first anniversary golfing there. It was a special experience that too few people will ever know. Only 500-600 visitors per year will play Askernish.

    Out of curiosity, have you ever played Durness? If not, it is right up your alley. I did this write up last year:,40850.0/

    Anyway, I just finished reading your book, “Ancestral Links” and really enjoyed it. If you happen to be going through Chicago, I’d love to have a beer with you.

    • I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed Askernish, and I’m flattered that you went there because of its Top 50 ranking. Some Americans, expecting a Scottish version of Augusta National, might be put off by the 4-on-the-Stimpmeter greens and the rabbit burrows and the tangly rough. But where else can you find a ghost course designed by Old Tom Morris, a spectacular links that disappeared, like Brigadoon, and then reappeared in the dunes nearly a century later? (FYI, Tom Doak of Pacific Dunes fame is contributing his expertise and some of his staff to help the Askernish golfers restore their course, as is golf architect Martin Ebert, who laid out the six new holes that lead to the Morris track.) As for Durness, thanks for the tip. My staff at Catch Basin is frantically rounding up all they have on it for a presentation this afternoon. If I like what I see, I’ll call our travel department and book the next flight.

      And since you were kind enough to plug Ancestral Links, I’d love to have a drink with you some time. Chicago would be good. Lochboisdale would be better.

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