The GOLF Course Guide has featured a list of courses available for Green Fee Play for two decades, and coined the term 'public access' to describe these courses.
2020 Public Access Rankings Compared
Here we compare the Public Access Rankings from The GOLF Course Guide 2020 with Golf Australia Magazine Jan 2020 and Golf Digest Mar 2020 respective Top 100 rankings, from which we are able to extract the Public Access courses - see table below.
GCG Criteria: 40% Design, 40% Conditions, 20% Aesthetics
Golf Australia has introduced a method of ranking that appears to us quite unscientific - they state that each judge's top course is given 100 points, second course 99 and so on, and then the final rankings are the number of points awarded divided by the number of judges scoring that course!
GD Criteria (Updated 2018): 25% Shot Values, 12.5% each - Resistance to Scoring, Design Variety, Memorability, Aesthetics, Conditioning, Ambience.
The Guide process always adjusts for a particular judge's harshness/leniency and also discards 'spurious' numbers that are well out of line with the consensus. There is no mention of these factors in either magazine. Even more strangely,
near = near miss in overall Golf Digest Top 100 (includes Private courses)
nr = not ranked in overall Top 100 (includes Private courses)
All 3 publications named the same top 3 - all new Tasmanian links.
The GCG judges love THE DUNES and KENNEDY BAY, two pioneers of the links revival a little better than OCEAN DUNES. Golf Australia placed ST ANDREWS BEACH higher up their list, whilst Digest favoured JOONDALUP - QUARRY/DUNES. The Guide favours BONVILLE and penalises the toughness of BROOKWATER and THE VINTAGE.
We cannot understand how Golf Digest awards a 'near miss' to KOORALBYN whilst GA ignores this revamped classic completely.