Meet the 19 golfers who ranked Scotland's golf courses and the methodology we use to determine positions

Panel

Dan Murphy, the editor of NCG Top 100s, chaired the panel, which comprised 18 experienced, enthusiastic and knowledgeable golfers. Scroll down for a bit more on them.

Panellist visits

Our panel were out and about visiting the short-listed courses throughout the 2022 season – specifically from late March to the end of October. This has enabled us to produce an up-to-date list.

Off-course facilities

We are only interested in golf courses – the round begins when we arrive on the 1st tee and ends when we walk off the last green.

What we base our rankings on

The following categories and weighting in brackets result in a final mark out of 100 for each course.

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? 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? How much better is the best hole than the least best hole? Do all the holes feel like they belong on the same course? 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? (40)

Conditioning/presentation/greens: 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? (20)

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

Challenge and playability: When played off the correct set of tees, to what extent does the course challenge and test the skills of the elite golfer, while also being enjoyable and playable for the shorter hitter and higher handicapper? On the one hand, does it give the golfer the chance to display their skills to the limit? On the other hand, are there forced carries and excessively penal hazards that make it difficult for the recreational golfer to enjoy the course to the maximum regardless of how conservatively they play? (10)

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? (20)

Upweighting panellists’ rankings

We value more the rankings of panellists who have either played a course recently, played a course several times, or both.

x2 If the course was most recently played in the last 10 years OR the reviewer has played the course three times or more

x3 If the course was most recently played in the last three years OR the reviewer has played the course five times or more

x4 If the reviewer has played the course three times or more and most recently within the last 10 years

x5 If the reviewer has played the course five times or more and most recently within the last 10 years OR the reviewer has played the course three times or more and most recently within the last three years

x6 If the reviewer has played the course five times or more and most recently within the last three years

Example: Five panellists have played a course. Reviewers A, B, C and D each played the course once, 15 years ago. Their scores are 48, 46, 50 and 56 respectively. Reviewer E has played the course eight times, most recently this year. Their score is 70. Score: 48 + 46 + 50 + 56 + (6 x 70) = 620 / 10 = 62

Now let’s meet the NCG Top 100s panel

Dan Murphy

About: Dan is the Founder and editor of NCG Top 100s course rankings
Handicap: 4
Home club: Alwoodley
A non-Scottish course I love: The Annesley at Royal County Down asks untold questions and only takes two hours
What makes a great course in four words: Turf, angles, options, firmness

Sean Arble

About: Sean is an ex-pat from Detroit, in the USA, and a lover of characterful golf courses
Handicap: 15
Home club: Burnham & Berrow
A non-Scottish course I love: One’s handicap may be flattered at Kington, but fun will be had by all
What makes a great course in four words: Terrain, greens, features, walk

Michael Atkinson

About: Michael is a consumer brand investor, writer and speaker, as well as a co-founder of Oltomo, publisher of Golfland Scotland
Handicap: 15
Home club: Gullane
A non-Scottish course I love: Sunningdale Old – historic, beautiful, challenging, and a touch of the Highlands in the south of England
What makes a great course in four words: Setting, variety, fairness, condition

Jim Banting

About: Jim is a writer and golf journalist
Handicap: 1
Home club: West Sussex
A non-Scottish course I love: Sunningdale Old – a truly great layout that gives you options into every green and is wonderfully presented
What makes a great course in four words: Presentation, test, surroundings, design

Ed Battye

About: Ed is a lover of links golf who enjoys visiting new courses and returning to the best ones
Handicap: 5
Home club: Woodsome Hall
A non-Scottish course I love: Silloth – a golf course that transcends your typical ‘championship links’
What makes a great course in four words: Linksland, uniqueness, strategy, cadence

Phil Bedford

About: Phil’s interests include golf and beer
Handicap: 4
Home club: Wharton Park
A non-Scottish course I love: Lofoten Links, in Norway and within the Arctic Circle – a spectacular location and a fantastic course
What makes a great course in four words: Somewhere near the sea

Steve Carroll

About: Steve is NCG’s club golf editor lives and breathes the game. He is also our resident – and fully R&A qualified – rules expert
Handicap: 11
Home club: York
A non-Scottish course I love: Swinley Forest is so quirky but so good – I’d happily play there forever
What makes a great course in four words: Fun, firm, variety, challenge

Sam Cooper

About: Sam has spent the past two years playing every British links and is an associate with CDP
Handicap: 2
Home club: Royal Liverpool
A non-Scottish course I love: Blackwell – a contrast from my typical courses – as a short, Midlands, parkland layout but it has extraordinary greens and sublime routing
What makes a great course in four words: Variety, strategy, thought-provoking

Niall Flanagan

About: Niall is the general manager of Lockhart Travel Club and a former CEO of Loch Lomond Golf Club
Handicap: 9
Home club: Sunningdale Heath
A non-Scottish course I love: The Addington now that it is being put back to its original landscape
What makes a great course in four words: Landscape, definition, design, playability

Neil Gray

About: Neil is a co-founder of Golf Marketing Services and former advertisement director of Golf Monthly
Handicap: 7.5
Home club: Centurion
A non-Scottish course I love: Royal West Norfolk – a traditional, old-school links and club in a stunning location
What makes a great course in four words: Location, layout, turf, playability

Ben Hunter

About: Ben is an industry professional, describing himself as a golfing enthusiast who represents the average golfer
Handicap: 6.8
Home club: Liphook
A non-Scottish course I love: Royal West Norfolk – to me, it is golf how it should be played
What makes a great course in four words: Variation, variety, views

Dove Jones

About: A member of ranking panels on both sides of the pond, Dove is particularly passionate about Scotland’s links
Handicap: 12(ish)
Home clubs: Royal Liverpool and Crail
A non-Scottish course I love: Banff Springs, the site of my first hole-in-one on The Caldron
What makes a great course in four words: Fun, creative, challenging, inspiring

Torquil McInroy

About:
Handicap:
Home club:
A non-Scottish course I love:
What makes a great course in four words:

Craig Morrison

About: Craig is the author of 18 Greatest Scottish Golf Holes, 18 Greatest Irish Golf Holes, The Meaning of Golf, and Golfland Scotland
Handicap: 8
Home club: Mendip
A non-Scottish course I love: County Sligo, Yeats, Colt, Ruddy – that’s great company
What makes a great course in four words: Meaning, unity, rhythm, balance

George Oldham

About: Having played the game for 76 years and written about it for 40, George’s passion remains
Handicap: 18
Home club: Troon Welbeck
A non-Scottish course I love: Bamburgh Castle is merely fun golf, but the most magical coastal setting – an absolute must
What makes a great course in four words: Setting, challenge, condition, memorability

Josh Poysden

About: A former professional cricketer now in player management, Josh has played 87 of NCG’s GB&I Top 100
Handicap: 9
Home club: Seaton Carew
A non-Scottish course I love: St Patrick’s Links is modern design at its best – interesting, strategic and a beautiful location
What makes a great course in four words: Fun, memorable, interesting, unique

Mike Robertson

About: Mike is an account manager at 18Players agency and a lover of traditional golf
Handicap: 2
Home club: Crosland Heath
A non-Scottish course I love: Royal St George’s – it’s just such a testing, interesting and enjoyable course to go and play
What makes a great course in four words: Setting, turf, variation, condition

Peter Rudd

About: Peter owns a telecommunications business
Handicap: 7
Home club: Woodbridge
A non-Scottish course I love: Royal St George’s is generally regarded as England’s No 1 course, it is entirely natural and a great challenge
What makes a great course in four words: Condition, setting, architecture, playability

Greg Webber

About: Greg’s working life is as a pharmacist but he describes playing golf and visiting new courses as his non-work passion
Handicap: 5
Home club: Muswell Hill
A non-Scottish course I love: I played New Zealand for the first time last year and loved it
What makes a great course in four words: Interesting, memorable, fair, accessible

A tribute

Sadly, Top 100s panellist NCG George Oldham passed away in early January. Dan Murphy paid tribute to his friend.

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