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Sperone golf course review

Continental European Top 100: The categories, marks and factors

The marks, the categories, the factors and the non-factors in our Continental European Top 100.
 

No-one will ever agree with any Top 100 list, and this article is not trying to persuade you that X deserved to be higher and Y didn’t warrant being in the lost at all.

It just, hopefully, answers some questions about what went into deciding on the 1-100…

Some key general points

The shortlist

We compiled a shortlist of 125 courses for the panel to mark, from which the top 100 would be selected.

Off-course facilities

We were only interested in courses – the rating was from 1st tee to last green.

Price/accessibility/membership policy

None of these were factors – we were only interested in the golf course. Although we did not rank Vidauban as only one panellist has played it given its exclusivity.

Panellist’s home courses

Panellists were not be eligible to rank courses of which they are members.

Courses we didn’t know well

We only ranked courses that a minimum of TWO of our panel had played. Otherwise, we didn’t consider ourselves qualified to rate them.

How we weighted panellist marks

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 11-20 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

What the ranking is based on

These criteria created the final mark…

Architecture and design

How well designed are the individual holes, and the course as a whole? Do the holes offer choices? Is there a mix of penal, strategic and heroic holes? Note that this category was worth double the points of all the others. (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? (10)

Consistency

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

Scenery/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)

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)

Challenge

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

Chris Bertram

Chris Bertram is a specialist in all things golf courses.
He was born and brought up in Dumfriesshire and has been a sports journalist since 1996, initially as a junior writer with National Club Golfer magazine.
Chris then spent four years writing about football and rugby union for the Press Association but returned to be Editor and then Publisher of NCG.
He has been freelance since 2010 and spends the majority of his time playing golf and writing about the world’s finest golf courses.

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