Golf course rankings remain hugely popular and there was great rejoicing in Irish clubs recently with nine courses included in the biennial biennial Golf Digest World’s 100 Greatest Courses rankings.
First published in 2014, the list has had an Irish No 1 for the past five editions and it’s been the same club each time with Royal County Down topping the list yet again.
This list is compiled by 350 panelists who live beyond the US borders and no fewer than 25 countries made this year’s ranking with Scotland (17), England (13) and Ireland (nine) amongst the most featured countries.
Royal County Down was ranked number one ahead of Tara Iti in New Zealand and Scotland’s Royal Dornoch with Alister MacKenzie’s West Course at Royal Melbourne fourth and Kyle Phillips’ updated version of Tom Simpson’s 1927 classic Morfontaine in France up two places to fifth.
Hirono in Japan is sixth and Muirfield seventh with the Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush in eighth place.
The Old Course at St Andrews is down three places to ninth with Cabot Cliffs in Canada up one place to 10th,
But there are six more Irish courses in the magical top 100 with the Old Course at Ballybunion down one place to 18 and Lahinch now 41st from 31st though it is arguably even better than ever.
Waterville moves up 15 places to 60th ahead of Portmarnock while the Old Head falls to 85th and County Sligo makes its overdue debut at 91st while Pat Ruddy’s magnificent links at The European Club jumps two spots to 93rd.
Th e 2022 Golf Digest World Top 100
(2020 ranking in brackets)
1 Royal County Down (1)
8 Royal Portrush (8)
18 Ballybunion (17)
41 Lahinch (31)
60 Waterville (75)
62 Portmarnock (40)
85 Old Head of Kinsale (68)
91 County Sligo 91 (--)
93 The European Club (95)