Illinois Course Follows Golfer Into Pit

A reader from Cairo, Ill., wonders if her state’s Annbriar Golf Club lost ranking points when a middle-age golfer recently plunged 18 feet into a sinkhole. “Newspaper accounts say the man was walking through a ‘pocked section,’” writes the reader, “which suggests maintenance issues.”

Cairo, by the way, is pronounced “KAY-roh,” like the syrup, and is situated at the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. For that reason, sinkholes, historically, are the least of its problems, flooding being more or less a permanent condition. No riverside course has ever cracked the Top 50, unless you count estuaries — which would be a firth.

The Country Club

The Country Club was in no condition for play, but its ratings drop was temporary. (John Garrity)

Anyway, Annbriar GC plummeted more than a thousand places due to the sinkhole fiasco, and now wallows at No. 9,752. The biggest point deduction, however, was for pace-of-play issues. (It took twenty minutes to pull the golfer out with a rope.)

Underlying the Cairo reader’s query is a larger concern: Does the Top 50 adjust the rankings when course conditions change unexpectedly?

Answer: Probably.

Some weeks ago, for example, a blizzard swept through New England, dropping two feet of snow on a perennial Top 50 layout, The Country Club. Virtually unplayable — and a high-risk venue even under the best winter conditions, due to skeet shooting on the property — TCC dropped into the Second 50, only to bounce back to No. 31 when the snow melted.

Kangaroos at Women's Open

A mob at Royal Canberra didn’t hurt the course’s ranking.

Similarly, analysts here at Catch Basin held an emergency meeting when we learned that kangaroos had overrun Royal Canberra Golf Club during the first round of the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. A spirited argument ensued, with one set of analysts calling for point deductions and an opposing group arguing that kangaroos are actually an enhancement. Asked to break the tie, I pointed out that teenager Lydia Ko had shot a round of 10-under-par 63 to take the first-round lead. “Wait for more data,” I said.

Royal Canberra remains at No. 804.

Top 50 on TV: Nothing this week, but the PGA Tour has descended upon the 103rd-ranked Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Golf Resort in Palm Harbor, Fla.  Copperhead is a favorite with tour players, but courses named after snakes generally fare poorly in consumer surveys. The most notable example is Royal Anaconda Golf Links of Manaus, Brazil, which never got off the drawing board.


March 14, 2013 · 3:35 pm

5 responses to “Illinois Course Follows Golfer Into Pit

  1. John Mullen


  2. Sinkholes are for sissies. You should try playing around hammerhead sharks (not a problem for me since I control all animals of the seas), tsunami debris, derelict shipwrecks and assorted other reefs and hazards on Atlantis golf courses. The Marianas Trench, now that’s a sinkhole they don’t winch you out of. You air-breathers over-react to everything like your little world is so important.
    All the best–Aquaman, Lord of Atlantis (and plus-1 hdcp undersea golfer)

  3. John, just when I think you have reached the epitome of satire and pure unadulterated mockery…. you produce a post like the one I just received…..from Illinois to New England and Australia to Brazil, this one is a gem for its cleverness and brevity.
    Your comments are always an enjoyable read…..brightens my day…wish I had received it this morning rather than the approach of the cocktail hour….
    Here’s a glass to you!

  4. John Mullen

    Happy St Patrick’s Day from Dublin!

    Played the island club yesterday. I thought it was fantastic. Can’t imagine why it is not ranked higher. It is a better track than Portmarnock.

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