OTHER golf course RANKING SITES
There has become quite an industry in recent years of ranking lists of different golf courses around the world. There are many different approaches taken and some variances in them but here is a selection of some of those which I have used before. I have attempted to do a 'poll of polls' to get a list of the top 100 in the world. You can have a look at that here.
Golf.com (part of the Sports Illustrated Group) do a survey of 100 'experts' from PGA professionals, architects, journalists and the like to come up with its list. It's a fairly uncontroversial list. Maybe a little too much love for Pebble Beach in position 7 I would suggest and a little harsh on the Europeans (the only list not to have Royal Aberdeen and Sunningdale New in for example) but pretty comprehensive and safe.
This list had been fairly sensible until the 2016 incarnation came along which seemed designed mainly to cause controversy more than anything else. Some may say that there are some inclusions purely designed to get advertising money in from far away places. How cynical.
This is quite an interesting one. 250 golf architects from around the world have picked their top 100 courses and then ranked them. There's a really nice report here you can download. It's the only recent poll I have seen that has the Old Course as position 1 and promotes North Berwick to 18. Good enough for me!
I wouldn't hesitate in recommending Planet Golf as a place to plan those high end golf trip. The author, Darius Oliver, has visited the top 100 from Golf.com and Golf Digest magazines as well as visiting many more. His 'flag' ranking system sets a high standard and the reviews will really whet the appetite for a trip. This is his personal list, nothing more and nothing less, so there are some unusual positions for sure - Augusta doesn't make the top 10, Muirfeld the Top 30.
I pretty much always use this site when going to a new area, there are thousands of reviews there from courses all round the world. They are user generated (with a few super users) and I don't think I have had a bum steer from them yet. They do a good job keeping it up to date and the lists by world, continent, country and county are interesting for sure - the ranking don't just rely on user ratings but they do impact them.
This is quite possibly the best site out there for getting insight into playing some of the best courses in the world. The experiences detailed on the blog are tremendously well documented and there are some great tips on how to make the most out of your trips if you are lucky enough to play some of these great courses. The denouement at Augusta is a must read!
UK & Ireland
As above, http://www.top100golfcourses.co.uk/ is a good place to start but there are some more resources here -
Golf Monthly is now ranking purely on a readers' panel. Personally I don't think it works brilliantly. The top of the list is fine but when you go down further it starts getting a little odd.
Todays Golfer looks a lot more sensible. It is a mixture of experts and readers and while the Trump International seems to have made a fairly spectacular debut at 7 (above Portrush and Dornoch) I can't comment on that until I play it I guess!
Given the plethora of great courses in the UK & Ireland, most rankings cover Continental Europe separately. I think these can suffer a little from going out of date and rankings finding the relativities hard but they act as a good starting points -
This list has improved hugely over the last couple of iterations and Morfontaine is a very worthy number 1.
The top100 is again a good starting point if planning a trip. It will help you find good courses in any given area and the depth is great.