Easy Come, Easy Go - Such is the Nature of Rankings

· Golf,Top 100,Golf Digest

One of the challenges of chasing down the courses on rankings lists that are refreshed every year or two is keeping up with the changes. I knew that would be something I'd need to work out when I decided to dive into this effort. 

I first assembeled my list of target courses -- The Greats, as I call them -- based on rankings lists from Golf Digest, Golf Magazine and Golfweek that were current as of spring 2021. Those lists of private and public courses had been published between 2019 and 2021, and they made up a pretty amazing list of courses to play. 

But as of September 2021, we have our first refresh. Golf Digest has recently published their updated rankings of the Top 100 Public Courses in the U.S. And while most of the list carries over fromt he 2019 edition (albeit with some major and minor shifts in rank position), there are 16 newcomers to the 2021 list:

  • Arcadia Bluffs (South) in Arcadia, MI
  • Black Diamond Ranch (Quarry) in Lecanto, FL
  • Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course in Stateline, NV
  • Firestone Country Club (South) in Akron, OH
  • Grizzly Ranch in Portola, CA
  • Kingsmill Resort (River) in Williamsburg, VA
  • Ozarks National in Hollister, MO
  • Pinehurst No. 4 in Pinehurst, NC
  • Rams Hill in Borrego Springs, CA
  • Sheep Ranch in Bandon, OR
  • Spring Creek Golf Club in Zion Crossroads, VA
  • The Bull at Pinehurst Farms in Sheboygan Falls, WI
  • The McLemore Club in Rising Fawn, GA
  • The Pfau Course at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN
  • TPC Colorado in Berthoud, CO
  • Yale Golf Course in New Haven, CT

Among the newcomers to Golf Digest's 2021 list, Arcadia Bluffs, Firestone, Ozarks National, Pinehurst No. 4, Rams Hill, Sheep Ranch and The Pfau Course were already on my target list as they appear on current public course rankings from Golf Magazine and/or Golfweek. But that still makes for 9 newcomers to my list.

Of course, for Golf Digest to add new courses to their list, they had to make room. And that means that a number of courses fell off their list. I'm going to keep those legacy courses among my target list of greats, however. Some appear on the lists from Golf Magazine and/or Golfweek anyway. And it just makes sense since I began this effort in earnest in early 2021 to aim to play every course that makes one of these rankings lists until I've played them all. I'd be surprised if at least some of these courses don't make their way back into the rankings sooner or later anyway.

What do you think of Golf Digest's new Top 100 Public Course rankings? Leave a comment below or email me at shawn@iputtaround.com, and let me know!