Welcome to the NCG Top 100s. Let’s start with the big question: what is the point of another golf course rankings website?
Well, it’s up to you, the discerning reader, to decide whether our lists are more accurate than others you may have seen.
But we do believe that we are attacking the task with greater vigour than is the case elsewhere.
That’s because we know that course rankings matter. We are reminded of this every day. We work in the golf industry, we are golfers and we have long been greedy consumers – and critic – of golf course ranking features.
If you are going to take on the big lists – like England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and GB&I – you have to get it right and you have to demonstrate a robust methodology.
Our authoritative rankings are overseen by me, Dan Murphy, as well as renowned golf travel writer Chris Bertram.
Between us, we have incredible experience in golf course assessment, with a combined 50 years’ experience. Our knowledge is both unsurpassed and current.
Both have played every course that can be considered a GB&I Top 100 contender, most of them several times.
Chris’s expertise uniquely extends to Continental Europe – he has visited and played almost every course in consideration for that top 100 – and the Middle East.
We have spent much of the past 20 years pondering how to create the most credible course ranking lists.
Here are some of the fundamental pillars on which the NCG Top 100s are built:
1. Our Top 100s are up-to-date and regularly updated
Crucially, our lists offer an up-to-date opinion – because we are constantly out there visiting the courses.
We think that matters, because golf courses are living, breathing things. They change, they evolve, they develop.
2. We talk to the golf clubs
We ask what they’ve done recently, what they are in the process of doing and what they are planning to do.
If the 8th green was a bit patchy, or the style of bunkering seemed inconsistent, the club have a chance to explain why.
We’d like to offer our ongoing and sincere thanks to club officials up and down the land for accommodating us and giving up their time to tell us about their courses.
3. We only care about the golf courses
We don’t take into account clubhouses, practice facilities, catering or any of the other, many factors that collectively make up a great golf club. Not because we don’t think such things aren’t important, but because our expertise only extends to the playing experience.
For us, the ranking experience begins as we arrive on the 1st tee and it ends when we walk off the final green.
4. We play and re-play the golf courses
This sounds obvious. But it is impossible for us to produce golf course rankings lists without getting out there and playing.
It was Arsene Wenger, the former Arsenal manager, who remarked that everyone thinks they have the prettiest wife at home. We understand, and respect, how much people care about their own clubs.
In return, we hope they respect our integrity and professionalism in compiling these lists.
We don’t set out to be controversial – just to create the best lists.
It’s time to let the lists speak for themselves. We hope you enjoy them.