WHO DECIDED THE POSITIONS?
Our panel of readers, who are ef ectively ‘Mystery Shoppers’. They visit the courses unannounced, pay the green fee and make their judgements. The list (and the Next 100) is an amalgamation of their opinions.
DO YOU ‘MARK’ EACH COURSE?
No. This is done by other rankings inside and outside golf, but at this time the panel purely rank the course using a ‘mental’ aggregate of the various factors*. A numerical breakdown might well add ballast but it’s not something I personally yearn for, at least not until every panellist has played every course and we can thus produce a valid statistical breakdown. At the moment, producing one would in my opinion be no more useful than the ‘mental’ ranking. Watch this space – although I am more keen on getting a large panel who’ve played every single course. That would, in my view, further improve our Top 100 lists.
WHAT ARE THE FACTORS* IN ASSESSING?
This seems obvious to me, but people do ask; we ask panellists to consider strategic merit, presentation, memorable holes, playability, consistency of test and visual appeal. But not anything of the course.
DO TOUR PROS OR ARCHITECTS FEATURE?
Many others use ‘celebrity’ panellists, and GW has done in the past – but I just don’t see how even the most famous Tour player or the most feted architect can add credible assistance to the ranking given they may well have played less than half of the contenders (Dougie is a celebrity, but a very ‘well golfed’ one!). The only reason the panel and I have any justification for contributing to a list of the ‘best’ courses in Scotland is because, by virtue of having played all or the vast majority of the contenders, they have the ability to compare. If you wanted a ranking of the top 100 football grounds in England, would you ask Rickie Lambert (moderately talented, played in all four leagues) or Eden Hazard (superstar, played in only the Premiership)? Or in Scotland, Celtic icon Henrik Larsson or Inverness’ Barry Wilson?
DO READERS MAKE GOOD PANELLISTS?
I believe they do. In addition to their ability to compare, I also love the fact they have paid their green fees, which removes any possible inhibitions and means they can relate to our readers – and hopefully vice versa, as they are readers themselves. Our Top 100s are lists for golfers who like to go on golf trips to the best courses, created by golfers who like to go on golf trips to the best courses. Our aim is for you to feel confi dent that what we suggest in our Top 100s will be the reality when you arrive. It’s not to say we aren’t interested in the views of famous names. In this guide alone we hear from Sandy Lyle, Colin Montgomerie and Andrew Cotter to name a few, plus feted architect Kyle Phillips.
CAN I JOIN THE PANEL?
Yes! The only proviso is you have a wealth of experience of what are regarded as the finest courses in GB&I. There are no freebies or expenses, this is a labour of love – but all panellists seem to enjoy being involved.
Top 100 Editor
The Top 100 Golf Courses in Scotland is interactive! So if you would like to know more about the golf courses featured, just click on their names!