What we based our rankings on and how we arrived at our conclusions for our ranking of GB&I's top 100 golf 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)

 

Our panel

Dan Murphy, the editor of National Club Golfer since 2006, and Chris Bertram, the NCG Top 100s editor, chaired our panel of experienced, passionate and knowledgeable golfers.

The shortlist

We compiled a shortlist of 200 courses from across England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. We’ve been working on the top 100 lists from the four constituent home nations over the past three years.

As a panel, we sought to include all courses that we felt had a realistic chance of making the final top 100.

We then blended the four lists together and collectively reassessed each individual course to create the GB&I list.

Courses who chose not be included

We shortlisted the following four courses who did not wish be considered for the ranking: Queenwood; Royal Automobile Club; Royal Wimbledon; The Wisley.

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 rankings cycle that began in 2017. This has enabled us to produce an up-to-date list.

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