US dominates course list

Seven American courses are in the world’s top 10, according to the October issue of the US publication, ‘Golf Magazine’.

Seven American courses are in the world’s top 10, according to the October issue of the US publication, ‘Golf Magazine’.
But before anybody accuses them of bias, however, it should be pointed out that the 100-strong voting panel came from 17 different countries and included Gary Player, Justin Rose and former Walker Cup player and captain Peter McEvoy.
The three “overseas” courses that make the top 10 are no surprises – St Andrews in fourth place, Royal County Down in fifth and Muirfield at number nine.
St Andrews has dropped a spot from the last ranking, though. Augusta National moves up one, but stays behind top two, Pine Valley and Cypress Point.
The nine courses that are currently on the Open Championship rota are all on the list.
After St Andrews and Muirfield come Turnberry at 17th and Carnoustie at 22nd, followed by Royal Birkdale in 29th, Sandwich in 34th, Royal Troon in 48th, Royal Lytham in 53rd and Hoylake at 80th.
Such lists inevitably spark debates – most noisily, of course, from those clubs who do not feature or feel they should be higher.
In Scotland, for instance, Nairn and Royal Aberdeen are among those who have failed to make it, while south of the border there is no Wentworth, Formby, Birkdale’s neighbour Hillside, Royal Cinque Ports or Alwoodley.
Northern Ireland is represented not only by County Down, but also by Royal Portrush in 13th and the Republic has Ballybunion, Lahinch, Portmarnock, the European Club and Waterville.
Wales did not have a course on the last list, but Royal Porthcawl now comes in at 100th and is a new entrant like Waterville and Oitavos Dunes, venue for the Portuguese Open four of the last five years.
At 88th that makes Oitavos the third highest-ranked course on continental Europe. Morfontaine in France and Valderrama in Spain are the only two above it and that seems somewhat miserly – what about Chantilly and Golf National in France, El Saler and Golf Catalunya in Spain, San Lorenzo in Portugal, Kennemer in the Netherlands and Royal Zoute in Belgium?
The Emirates in Dubai does not get a mention either and while everybody will have their own favourites a total of 51 American lay-outs out of 100 worldwide – 47 of them in the top 80 – does seem way too many.
But, there again, so does 28 from Britain and Ireland, especially when you consider there are only six in Australia and just one – Durban Country Club in 94th place – in South Africa.
Make up your own mind. Here is the list:
1 Pine Valley (USA), 2 Cypress Point (USA), 3 Augusta National (USA), 4 St Andrews Old (Sco), 5 Royal County Down, 6 Shinnecock Hills (USA), 7 Pebble Beach (USA), 8 Oakmont (USA), 9 Muirfield (Sco), 10 Merion East (USA)
11 Sand Hills (USA), 12 National Links (USA), 13 Royal Portrush, 14 Royal Melbourne West (Aus), 15 Royal Dornoch (Sco), 16 Pacific Dunes (USA), 17 Turnberry Ailsa (Sco), 18 Ballybunion Old (Ire), 19 Pinehurst No 2 (USA), 20 Crystal Downs (USA)
21 Seminole (USA), 22 Carnoustie (Sco), 23 Winged Foot West (USA), 24 Chicago (USA), 25 Prairie Dunes (USA), 26 San Francisco (USA), 27 Kingston Heath (Aus), 28 Oakland Hills South (USA), 29 Royal Birkdale (Eng), 30 Riviera (USA)
31 Fishers Island (USA), 32 Friars Head (USA), 33 Sunningdale Old (Eng), 34 Royal St George’s (Eng), 35 Bethpage Black (USA), 36 Cape Kidnappers (Nzl), 37 Brookline (USA), 38 New South Wales (Aus), 39 Hirono Kobe (Jpn), 40 Whistling Straits (USA)
41 Olympic (USA), 42 Casa de Campo (Dom Rep), 43 Barnbougle Dunes (Aus), 44 Lahinch (Ire), 45 Portmarnock Old (Ire), 46 Muirfield Village (USA), 47 Kiawah Island (USA), 48 Royal Troon (Sco), 49 Baltusrol Lower (USA), 50 Sawgrass (USA)
51 Garden City (USA), 52 Los Angeles North (USA), 53 Royal Lytham (Eng), 54 Morfontaine (Fra), 55 Nine Bridges, 56 Woodhall Spa (Eng), 57 Oak Hill East (USA), 58 Bandon Dunes (USA), 59 New Albany (USA), 60 Southern Hills (USA)
61 Kingsbarns (Sco), 62 Medinah No 3 (USA), 63 Ganton (Eng), 64 Loch Lomond (Sco), 65 Maidstone East (USA), 66 Camargo (USA), 67 Winged Foot East (USA), 68 Inverness (USA), 69 Old Sandwich (USA), 70 Quaker Ridge (USA)
71 Shoreacres (USA), 72 Royal Adelaide (Aus), 73 Harbour Town (USA), 74 Kawana (Jpn), 75 Nanea Kailua-Kona (USA), 76 Valderrama (Spa), 77 Chambers Bay (USA), 78 Kauri Cliffs (Nzl), 79 Somerset Hills (USA), 80 Royal Liverpool (Eng)
81 Cruden Bay (Sco), 82 Walton Heath Old (Eng), 83 Ballyneal (USA), 84 Swinley Forest (Eng), 85 European Club (Ire), 86 Highland Links (Can), 87 Royal Melbourne East (Aus), 88 Oitavos Dunes (Por), 89 St George’s (Can), 90 Spyglass Hill (USA)
91 Waterville (Ire), 92 Machrihanish (Sco), 93 North Berwick West (Sco), 94 Durban (Rsa), 95 Cabo del Sol (Mex), 96 Scioto (USA), 97 Tokyo (Jpn), 98 Valley Club (USA), 99 Naruo Osaka (Jpn), 100 Royal Porthcawl (Wal)