The strange thing about course ranking lists in golf magazines is that, while I never completely agree with the order of things, I always read them to see what the voters have come up with. If you’re like me, you do too. Which got me thinking: what are the top-ten courses on my own particular list? And what criteria would I use to arrive at my conclusions?

Generally, the first thing I look for is an attractive piece of property. The beauty of the place and the environment has to be part of the equation. After that, it’s all about the golf.

The key for me there is the feeling that I would never get bored playing that course. I could play it every day and be happy. And the more I get that feeling, the better I’m going to think it is. In a nutshell, that is how I rank courses.

Anyway, for what it’s worth – and in no particular order other than the first two – here are the best ten courses I have actually played. No, check that. What follows are my ten favourite courses, which is a slightly different list. I’m sure there are courses out there – the National Golf Links and Shinnecock Hills spring immediately to mind – that would make my top-ten either way, but if I haven’t been to them yet I’m hardly qualified to rate them sensibly. So here goes:


I know it’s pretty boring to say so – because almost every magazine rates it No.1 – but Pine Valley is my favourite course to play. It is 18 holes that are all fun to play, set on an amazing piece of property. It would never get boring and always be exciting, which is everything you want in a golf course.

All I can tell you is that Pine Valley has no weaknesses. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it.


This was the best course I had ever played until I played Pine Valley. But it remains a clear second. Cypress Point is a collection of really good holes that get better and better all day, until the 18th at least, which is a disappointing finishing hole.

Over the first six holes I was thinking, “Wow, this is fantastic.” Over the next six holes I was absolutely convinced that I was playing the best course in the world. It was incredible. Then you get to the good stuff. It just keeps getting better.