Generally speaking, I think that "Top" lists are generally a bunch of horse-pookey that are generated for the sole means of producing artificial "news" that generates traffic (because traffic equals revenue) and because they are presented as authoritative when in reality it's just another subjective opinion. Such is the latest Golfweek "Top Municipal Courses In America" list -- just another opinion, and one that makes me wonder if it is well-informed or, as we say in less polite company, something they pulled out of their collective rear ends.
Here's what they have to say about themselves:
"Golfweek magazine, the most authoritative, authentic and independent publication in golf, will release its second annual Golfweek's Best Municipal Courses list as part of its upcoming May 23 issue. The newest addition to the magazine's extensive collection of rankings, the 2009 Golfweek's Best Municipal Courses list features the nation's top 50 government-owned layouts that have raised the bar for public golf in the United States."Just a wee bit self-serving on their self-image, I suppose, but fair enough on their criteria. And looking at their list, I see obvious and deserved choices -- Bethpage, Torrey Pines, Harding Park, Pinon Hills and others, but what makes the list specious in my eyes are the ones that they have left off -- some equally obvious choices that make me wonder if their judges had a tight travel budget or if they even left home in the first place.
Consider this: the Triad Area of North Carolina is hip- deep in city-operated golf courses, and in fact the area's "munis" boast some renown -- Tanglewood's Champions Course, in Winston-Salem, is a Robert Trent Jones track that has hosted a Major -- the PGA Championship. It also is a consistent staple in the Golf Digest's Top 25 public layouts and was voted the #1 public course in the state by North Carolina Magazine. An impressive resume, to be sure, but not good enough for Golfweek's Top 50 munis?
High Point has Oak Hollow, a Pete Dye course that wraps around Oak Hollow Lake and is a test of your golf game like only Pete Dye can offer. How many Pete Dye tracks can you play for uder $40 on the weekend?
The most glaring oversight, however, has to be Greensboro's Bryan Park, a golf and conference center whose centerpiece is their Champions Course, one that apparently is not good enough for Golfweek but is good enough for the USGA to host an amateur major championship there next year, the 2010 Public Links Championship. Go figure.
The Publinks is not the first big event that Bryan Park will have held. They've had the NCAA Women's East Regional, the Atlantic Coast Conference Men's Championship, and the North Carolina Mid-Amateur Championship. On top of that, the annual Bryan Park National Collegiate, featuring 18 of the top women's collegiate teams, and the J.M. Bryan Amateur, with 120 top amateur players from the East Coast are also played there.
As you can guess, it's a top golf course in the region. But not good enough for Golfweek, I suppose. But good enough for the USGA, and that's one organization in golf whose opinion matters when it comes to rating courses.