The 10 most important numbers from our Top 100 Courses in the World

November 21, 2019

As it has for three-plus decades, GOLF’s Top 100 Courses in the World list proves that design excellence takes on many shapes and forms. A deeper dive into this year’s numbers reveals trends and tastes that alter the standings like never before — to say nothing of the way architects and developers are approaching future designs. Here are some important numbers to know as you pore over the brand-new rankings.

1Pine Valley’s 2020 ranking. This was no shocker, because Pine Valley has occupied the top slot since the inception of GOLF’s rankings 34 years ago. It’s hardly a unanimous No. 1, but 57.3 percent of percent of GOLF’s raters put Pine Valley in their top three and it’s hard to get that crew to completely agree on anything…

4 — Spots Augusta National dropped on this year’s ranking, the biggest dive of any course in this year’s top 20.

11 — Number of Top 100 courses in New York, tops (by far!) of any state. California’s next with seven, then Ohio (four), Georgia (three) and Oregon (also three, though it’s worth noting they’re all on the same Bandon property).

11 — Number of Top 100 credits for Henry Shapland (H.S.) Colt, the most of any architect on the list. The man who designed Pine Valley, Muirfield, Royal Portrush and more fared distinctly well from this list’s top (No. 1 Pine Valley) to its very bottom (De Pan, debuting at No. 88). Alister MacKenzie and Old Tom Morris (eight each) and A.W. Tillinghast (seven) each make their presences amply felt, too.

On the par-3 10th at Pine Valley, shots hit into the front right bunker (known as the Devil’s Arsehole) will still be there years later.
Laurence Lambrecht

19 — Number of courses from Great Britain and Ireland represented on GOLF’s 1987 list.

30 — Number of courses from Great Britain and Ireland represented on GOLF’s 2020 list, marking a 60 percent increase in just over 30 years.

33 — The rise, in number of spots, of Somerset Hills in New Jersey — the biggest jump of any course on the list. It’s hard to call this 101-year-old A.W. Tillinghast beauty “underrated” when it’s climbing this quickly. Plus we’d be remiss not to shout out other big climbers Swinley Forest (up 32 spots), Ballyneal (up 29) and Prestwick (up 25). Arguably even more impressive were the jumps of previously unranked Rye (Old) and Sleepy Hollow, which jumped onto the list at 67 and 76, respectively.

Prestwick is among the Top 100 Courses that rose the highest in this year's rankings.

49 — Number of courses in the U.S., the most of any region, followed by the U.K./Ireland (30) and Australia/New Zealand (10).

80.4 — Age, in years, among this year’s Top 100 members. The oldest is Prestwick at 168 years of age, while newcomer Ohoopee Match Club just turned one.

191 — Average number of courses rated in 2019 by each GOLF rater, of whom we’re all immensely jealous.

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