“Have you seen the Fall issue of LINKS?” asks a reader from Arrow Rock, Mo. “They’ve got a Top 25 list of the world’s best golf resorts, and their list is alphabetical. What do you think of that?”
Here’s what I think of that: It’s dumb. You can’t have a top-25 list with a 26-letter alphabet. That’s unfair to Zoute, Belgium, home of the Harry S. Colt-designed Royal Zoute Golf Club, and even more unfair to China’s Zhuhai Golden Gulf Golf Club, which features 27 holes designed by Colin Montgomerie. It would have been better for Links to use the 18-letter Hawaiian alphabet — especially since their list includes two Four Seasons Resorts (Hualalai and Lanai at Manele Bay), the Ritz Carlton Kapalua Resort and the St. Regis Princeville Resort.
Actually, closer examination reveals that their alphabetical list is simply a presentation device, not an actual ranking. And they’ve left themselves plenty of wiggle room by playing around with the resort names. The Resort at Pelican Hill rightly follows Pebble Beach and Pinehurst on the Links list, but had they shortened the name of the luxe Newport Beach, Calif., hideaway to “Pelican Hill,” it would have overtaken Pinehurst, alphabetically speaking.
Despite its obvious shortcomings, I sent the Links resort rankings downstairs to Owen Upshot, our director of opposition research. Owen worked on it for a couple of days and came up with a true alphabetical ranking of the resorts, based solely on the hard data supplied in Brian McCallen’s supporting article. Here are the results:
1. The letter “F” (Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge; Fancourt South; Four Seasons Resort Hualalai; Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay; Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita) 5.00
2. The letter “R” (Resort at Pelican Hill; Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain; Ritz-Carlton Kapalua) 4.00
3. The letter “B” (Bandon Dunes Golf Resort; The Boulders Resort; The Broadmoor) 3.00
T4. The letter “G” (The Greenbriar; The Gleneagles Hotel) 2.00
T4 The letter “I” (Inn at Palmetto Bluff; International Casa de Campo) 2.00
T4. The letter “P” (Pebble Beach Resorts; Pinehurst Resort) 2.00
T4. The letter “S” (Sea Island Resort; St. Regis Princeville) 2.00
T8. The letters “A,” “K,” “L,” “O,” “T,” and “W” (The American Club Resort; Kiawah Island Golf Resort; The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs; One & Only Palmilla; Turnberry Resort; Wynn Las Vegas) 1.00
That leaves 13 letters on the outside looking in. (Are you reading this, Mauna Lani? Are you planting another rank of rose bushes, Cordevalle? Are you happy, Homestead?) Or if they aren’t looking in, they must at least be considering name changes. How about The Fabulous Nemacolin Woodlands Resort? Or The Renowned Eseeola Lodge at Linville Golf Club.
Meanwhile, The Top 50’s inaugural ranking of golf resorts is in development here at Catch Basin. I can’t give you a date for its release — there’s been an unexpected glitch in the Bomar Brain’s addition software — but I promise you this: There will be no alphabetical ranking or similar cop-out. Our ranking will be precise to the fourth decimal point.
Top 50 on TV: Nothing this week, but congratulations to 42nd-ranked Hillcrest Country Club on last week’s member/guest tournament. The celebrity-laden field included former NFL Pro-Bowl receiver Carlos Carson and our own Atlantic Coast Ratings Coordinator, Dave Henson. Seeing Hillcrest’s rising and plunging fairways for the first time, the perspicacious Henson said, “I can see why they call it Hillcrest.”
That’s why we pay him the big bucks.