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NCG Top 100s Wales methodology

How did we put together our NCG Top 100s: Wales list

Ever wondered how we get through the process of making our Top 100s lists? Here’s how…

 

A lot of work goes into compiling the NCG Top 100s lists, and below is the methodology of how our Wales list for 2024 came to be.

The 40 courses that have made the NCG Top 100s: Wales list encompass all that is great about Welsh golf. From seaside links courses, to championship venues, and moorland delights, there is something for everyone on the list.

But how did we get to this stage? Plenty goes on behind the scenes, with course tours, hundreds of rounds played and plenty of written work as well.

Read on to find out our methodology for the NCG Top 100s lists…

The Panel

Dan Murphy, the editor of NCG Top 100s, chaired the panel, which comprised 18 experienced, enthusiastic and knowledgeable golfers.

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.

What do we base our rankings on?

We are only interested in golf courses – the round begins when we arrive on the 1st tee and ends when we walk off the 18th green. We do not take anything off course into account, whether that is the practice facilities, the clubhouse and service or the pro shop.

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 points)
  • 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 points)
  • Surroundings – How attractive a place to play is this course? (10 points)
  • Challenge & 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 points)
  • 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 points)
golf courses in wales

Upweighting Panellists’ Rankings

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

This is how we include that in our scoring system:

  • x2 – If the course was most recently played in the last 10 years OR the reviewer has played the course 3 times or more
  • x3 – If the course was most recently played in the last 3 years OR the reviewer has played the course 5 times or more
  • x4 – If the reviewer has played the course 3 times or more and most recently within the last 10 years
  • x5 – If the reviewer has played the course 5 times or more and most recently within the last 10 years OR the reviewer has played the course 3 times or more and most recently within the last 3 years
  • x6 – If the reviewer has played the course 5 times or more and most recently within the last 3 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 + (6×70) = 620 / 10 = 62

You’ve now seen the Wales list… Were there any courses that missed out? Would you make any changes? And do you agree with the NCG Top 100s methodology? Let us know your thoughts with a post on X, formerly Twitter!

Matt Coles

Matt Coles

Mention a European country, and Matt will tell you which resorts make the National Club Golfer Top 100s: European Resorts list. He might even throw in who designed the golf course and how many rooms the hotel has got at each one…

Matt got into the game of golf from a young age, following his old man to the local golf club. He fell for the sport, and now can’t seem to go a day without thinking about how to improve his game (Thanks Dad!). Matt has been a member of Howley Hall GC in Leeds since 2020, and is just about managing to maintain a single-figure handicap. He likes to remind people that he once broke 75, but won’t tell people that it was on a shortened course during the winter.

He moved to Leeds after graduating from the University of Central Lancashire with a First Class Honours degree in Sports Journalism. Matt joined NCG after almost five years travelling the world with the Professional Squash Association, working on events in all four corners of the globe.

Matt currently plays a Cobra King LTDx driver and RadSpeed 3-wood. TaylorMade monopolise the rest of his bag, with a SIM UDI, M5 irons and both Milled Grind and HI-TOE wedges, along with a Monza Redline putter. He uses a Vice Pro Plus golf ball, because he’s a bit different…

Away from golf, Matt is a Manchester United fan, and a keen runner, having ran the Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon (his first and possibly last), in May 2023.

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