Golf course ranking: GB&I’s Top 100 Links 2015

Courses & Travel

Welcome to the first ever ranking list of the best links courses in the world

Ranking courses sounds like good fun (and it is), but there is also a lot of work involved.

A definitive list of GB&I’s Top 100 Links Courses has never been created before. Our goal was to create a list that bears scrutiny and earns the respect of serious and knowledgable golfers.

Top 100 lists will never be unanimous. It is a matter of judgment given that there is no such thing as one golf course being categorically better or worse than another. 

However, the fun is in debating a list. It is something we have spent many pleasurable hours doing and we hope you have too.

Our working definition of what a links course is 
“A stretch of land near the coast characterised by undulating terrain, often associated with dunes, infertile sandysoil and indigenous grasses such as marram, sea lyme, and the fescues and bents which, when properly managed, produce the fine textured turf for which links are famed.” – The British Golf Museum, St Andrews

How we ranked the courses
We all have our own ideas on makes one course better than another, be that amazing views, stringency of test, strategic value, presentation, playability, the wow factor, consistency of challenge, memorable individual holes, quality of the turf and so on.

Our panel includes tour pros, elite amateurs, greenkeepers, architects, golf writers, golf photographers and readers. To view the panel in full CLICK HERE

We trust that the balance of their informed opinions, along with ours here at NCG, has resulted in a strong list. 

Note: We were only interested in the courses. We have tried to separate the course from the off-course experience, be it positive or otherwise. For our purposes, a course begins when you step on to the 1st tee and ends when you leave the 18th green.

The Shortlist

We placed what we regarded as the best 150 links courses in GB&I into five Categories – A, B, C, Dand E. Twenty-five courses initiallywent into each of Categories A, B, C and D, with 50 in CategoryE.

Courses in CategoryA would form positions one to 25; CategoryB would be 26to 50; CategoryC 51 to 75; CategoryD 76to 100; and Category E would miss out on inclusion. 

We asked our panellists to identify which courses they believed were in the wrong group and why– whether they felt theywere too high or too low. We also asked them to inform us if they thought there were any worthy links courses that had not made it on to our shortlist at all.

The information they provided was then used by the Top 100 chairman and NCG editor, Dan Murphy, to create the list.

The list is formed by balance of opinion – courses that several panellists identified as being too low have moved up the list and those repeatedly cited as being in too high a categoryhave moved down. 

THE TOP 100 LIST (Click on each course for full ranking details)

100. Archerfield (Fidra)
99. Irvine Bogshire
98. St Annes Old Links
97. Littlestone
96. Royal Dublin
95. Dooks
94. Ballybunion (Cashen)
93. Pyle & Kenfig
92. Gullane No.2 
91. Royal North Devon
90. Goswick Links
89. Crail
88. Elie
87. Carnoustie (Burnside)
86. Askernish
85. Trevose
84. Rosapenna (Old Tom Morris)
83. Tenby
82. Donegal
81. Ashburnham
80. Murcar Links
79. Leven Links
78. Portsalon
77. Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links
76. Ballyliffin (Glashedy)
75. Castletown
74. Seacroft
73. Lundin
72. Prince’s
71. Pennard
70. Wallasey
69. Brora
68. Conwy
67. Southerness
66. Southport & Ainsdale
65. Montrose (Medal)
64. Luffness New
63. Dunbar
62. Panmure
61. St Andrews Jubilee Course
60. Moray
59. County Sligo
58. Tralee
57. Portstewart
56. Gailes Links
55. Machrihanish Dunes
54. The Island
53. Dundonald
52. Aberdovey
51. Enniscrone


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