What we based our rankings on and how we arrived at our conclusions for our ranking of England's top 100 courses

England’s Top 100 Courses

What we based our rankings on (these criteria created a total final mark out of 100)

Architecture and design

How well designed are the individual holes, and the course as a whole? Do the holes offer the golfer choices? Is there a mix of penal, strategic and heroic holes? (20)

Conditioning/greens/ presentation

How good is the turf to hit off? How good are the greens to putt on? Does each hole play in the same way as the others? (10)

Consistency 

How much better is the best hole than the least best hole? Do all the holes feel like they belong on the same course? (10)

Scenery/surroundings/ambience

How attractive a place to play is this course? (10)

Playability

Is the course enjoyable and playable for the shorter hitter and higher handicapper? (10)

Challenge

To what extent does the course pose a challenge and test the skills of the elite golfer? (10)

Variety

Does the course test all facets of the game or is it asking the same questions repeatedly? Is the golfer’s ability to play a variety of shots with each club in the bag duly rewarded? Does the course become predictable? (10)

Routing

How does the course flow? Are tees generally close to the previous green? Does the course ‘fit’ into its surroundings? Are long and short holes interspersed evenly? (10)

Charm/distinctiveness/memorability

Does the course inspire affection and live long in the memory? How reluctant are you to leave and how much do you want to return? (10)

NCG Top 100s England

Our panel

Dan Murphy, the editor of National Club Golfer since 2006, chaired our panel of 14 experienced, passionate and knowledgeable golfers. Click here to meet them.

The shortlist

We compiled a shortlist of 163 courses before the season began, from which the top 100 would be selected. As a panel, we sought to include all courses that we felt had a realistic chance of making the final top 100. As we pledged to visit each course in the shortlist during the 2017 season, we tried to weed out courses we considered unlikely to make the grade.

Courses who chose not be included

As well as the 159 courses that feature in this list, we also shortlisted the following four courses: Queenwood, Royal Automobile Club, Royal Wimbledon, Wisley

Each politely advised us that they did not wish to be considered for this top 100, for various reasons.  We are entirely respectful of their decision and list them here only because you might otherwise have wondered why they do not appear in the list.

Panellist visits

We guaranteed that at least one member of our panel would visit each short-listed course during the 2017 season – specifically between the clocks going forward in March and back again in October. This enabled us to produce an up-to-date list.

Our panellists were available for discussion before and after the round with club officials.  Our panellists filled in feedback forms there and then after making a visit.

Off-course facilities

We were only interested in golf courses – the round began when we arrived on the 1st tee and ended when we walked off the last green.

Price/accessibilty/membership policies

None of these were factors – we were only interested in the golf course.

Home courses

Panellists were not be eligible to rank courses at which they were a member.

Courses that should have been on the shortlist

In hindsight, the following courses may or may not have made our final top 100 but should certainly have been considered:  Cleveland, Formby Ladies, Leckford, Seaford, Weston-super-Mare, Yelverton

Whose opinions counted?

All panellists who had played a course submitted a ranking. However, we valued more the rankings of panelists who had either a) played a course recently, b) played a course several times or c) both.

Upweighting rankings

When a panellist ranked a course, the opinion was given the following weighting:

X1

Played the course 1 or 2 times but not in the last 20 years

X2

Played the course 3 or 4 times but not in the last 20 years OR played the course 1 or 2 times most recently between 11 and 20 years ago

X3

Played the course 5 or more times but not in the last 20 years OR played the course 3 or 4 times most recently between 11 and 20 years ago OR played the course 1 or 2 times most recently between 4 and 10 years ago

X4

Played the course 5 or more times most recently between 11 and 20 years ago; OR played the course 3 or 4 times most recently between 4 and 10 years ago; OR played the course 1 or 2 times most recently within the last 3 years

X5

Played the course 5 or more times most recently between 4 and 10 years ago; OR played the course 3 or 4 times most recently within the last 3 years

X6

Played the course 5 or more times and most recently within the last 3 years