What constitutes a top golf course? It’s a question that teases professionals and amateurs alike. Experts and novices tend to have their own opinions about how to distinguish good from great.
It’s a pertinent question because – since launching as a monthly digital publication in July 2017 – we feel it’s time New Zealand Golf Digest tackled a comprehensive course ranking of our own.
We are planning to publish a list of New Zealand’s Top 50 Golf Courses in 2019. And we need your help.
We’re offering you the chance to join our panel of judges. You would need to hold (or have held) a single-figure New Zealand handicap and have sufficient time to play and evaluate a minimum of 20 courses across a two-year cycle.
The purpose is to tell Kiwis and international visitors where to find outstanding golf across New Zealand.
What does it entail? Judges will be asked to score courses they’ve played and submit those scores for compilation of the final ranking. Panellists will be expected to cover their travel expenses and arrange tee-times with clubs. We intend to allow clubs to offer complimentary green fees if they choose, but only that.
So how does it all work? Well, comparing a parkland course in Auckland with a seaside coastal layout in Otago could be a bit like comparing apples with oranges. That’s why we’ve decided to adopt the formula used by Golf Digest affiliates across the world.
Our panellists will be asked to play and score courses on the following seven criteria:
How well do the holes pose a variety of risks and rewards and equally test length, accuracy and finesse?
Resistance to scoring
How difficult, while still being fair, is the course for a scratch player from the back tees?
How varied are the holes in differing lengths, configurations, hazard placements, green shapes and green contours?
How well do the design features provide individuality to each hole yet a collective continuity to the entire 18?
How well do the scenic values of the course add to the pleasure of a round?
How firm, fast and rolling were the fairways, how firm yet receptive were the greens and how true were the roll of putts on the day you played the course?
How well does the overall feel and atmosphere of the course reflect or uphold the traditional values of the game?
To arrive at a course’s final score out of 80, we total its averages in the seven categories, doubling Shot Values. Overall, it’s a daunting task and full of responsibility given the influence it will have on New Zealand golf.
So if you think you have what it takes and would like to be considered as a judge for New Zealand’s Top 50 Golf Courses, please email your contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org.