Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Course Rating Criteria

Let me first say, that I have never played a bad golf course but there are definitely some that are much better than others. I use a six color coded system that is similar to the tee boxes at your local golf course. The forward (Red) tees would equate to the lesser quality courses and the championship (Black) tees would be reserved for those world class courses. I try to play as many upscale courses as possible, so my ratings may appear somewhat skewed to the upside. The ratings are based on when I last played the course, some being over 50 years ago, not what condition they may be in today. Conditioning, Course Design, and Shot Variety are the three main components of my basic color rating system. I do use a few more criteria for those courses that fall into the Black category to help differentiate those . I am always open to your opinion on where you think a course should be rated in its present state.

9 hole courses are noted (9) and do get a bit of a deduction compared to 18 hole courses of the same quality. Those courses that have unique onsite lodging and amenities available will get a bit of a bonus.

RED (R) - OK. If you are in need of a golf fix, there is a tee box and a flag stick to shoot at. What more can one ask for when you have a golf addiction?

GREEN (Gr) -FAIR, basic design with marginal to fair conditioning. Couple of decent holes.

WHITE (W) - GOOD, basic/decent design with fair/avg conditioning. A few notable holes.

GOLD (G) -VERY GOOD, decent design, avg/well conditioned, with some distinctive holes.

BLUE (B) - EXCELLENT, exceptional design/well conditioned or great design/avg conditioned. A must play if in the area with many memorable holes.

BLACK (Bk**) - EXTRAORDINARY EXPERIENCE, this course has or will be on some golf publication's top 200 list. Great design with a variety of playable holes of different lengths that challenges the player as to club selection and offers various options to play a shot. Several of the holes are very memorable with a strong group of finishing holes. It is very well conditioned and usually plays firm and fast (I have a bias toward Links style courses). This course most often offers the option to walk or take a caddie for your round of golf. The majority of the holes will have adequate isolation from adjacent holes, with very little if any residential impact, providing a great visual experience. Never pass up an opportunity to play a course of this caliper.

*I am an independent golf course rater not affiliated with any golf publications.*

Every time I play a new course I place a color coded pin on the framed USA map pictured above. It is an interesting topic of conversation when other golfers visit my home.

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