The Folly of Ranking Golf Courses…
For any parent reading this, I’ve got a simple question…which of your children is your favorite? C’mon…fess up. Who is it?
Tough, huh? Okay, how about we use a mathematical formula that will determine which is your favorite based upon their appearance, personality, accomplishments, etc.? Or, let’s get a big group of people to visit with your children and then based upon their impressions from that visit; we’ll let them tell us which one your favorite should be. Sound cool?
I hope not.
But, more or less, that’s exactly how the major publications pick the top golf courses, and it’s just as silly as picking your favorite child. Let me explain…
I didn’t grow up with golf. In fact, I never laid a hand on a golf club until I was in my mid-twenties. I’ve come to enjoy and respect the game an awful lot, but it’s not like I have a deep abiding passion for its history and traditions like some. Personally, I don’t give a rip about Bobby Jones, or Old Tom, or Butler Cabin or any of the other things that seem to make Mike Tirico reflexively speak in hushed tones. I’m not deriding those things. I’m just being honest. I know they matter greatly to some people, but they don’t matter at all to me. Likewise, during my tenure at CommLinks, I’ve been fortunate to play several of the most universally acclaimed golf courses. You know what…they’re all good. Even really good. But if I had to play one golf course for the rest of my life…none of these “super courses” would be the one I’d choose.
Does that make the raters wrong? Does that make me wrong? Not in any way. Some people like filet mignon. Some like rib-eye. And, there’s not a mathematical formula or panel of experts that can decipher which is the better steak. It’s all just a matter of taste. And, so is golf. There’s no right answer, and there is no wrong answer. There’s just your answer. And, that’s all that matters.
Getting back to the “favorite child” thing…here’s my standard line on the subject. Golf courses are like kids. There’s something to love about every single one of them. It’s just up to you to figure out what that is. No go out and play.
BTW – Want to know my favorite golf course? Here’s a clue…My favorite course is sandwiched between a farm and an old airfield. At low tide it smells like fish and seaweed. From the back tees, it doesn’t even reach 6,000 yards and it has a par of 69. Have a guess?