Golf World has just released its latest Top 100 Golf Courses: Continental Europe ranking – and golf course aficionados will notice some very surprising and significant changes since the list was last published in 2017.
For starters, there are 18 new entries, while Russia, Georgia and Azerbaijan are included in the prestigious ranking for the first time.
The delightful Morfontaine Golf Club in Paris retains its No.1 status from two years ago, while Utrecht de Pan in the Netherlands stays in second spot and Valderrama leapfrogs Les Bordes into third place.
In the Top 20, there are big rises for Monte Rei in Portugal, which climbs from 13th to 4th; Bro Hof Slott, which jumps 10 places to 10th, and Troia, which jumps nine places to 8th. Other high risers include Sweden’s Visby, (91 to 42), Quinta do Lago’s South Course (56 to 29), Parnu Bay (45 to 30), Lofoten Links (65 to 47) and Royal Waterloo (94 to 64).
But it’s the fallers that really catch the eye in the new ranking. Among the casualties are the renowned El Saler, which tumbles 14 places to 23rd, Hardelot’s Les Pins, which drops 15 places to 39th, Oitavos Dunes, which falls from 21st to 56th, and Penha Longa, which drops 39 places to 80th.
The rankings were also especially harsh on a number of Golf World Top 100 stalwarts, with Vasatorps, Amendoeira (Faldo), Lykia Links, Aroeira 1 and PGA National’s Lakes and Links courses falling out of the top 100.
“This is the biggest shake-up in the Continental European ranking for quite some time,” said Golf World Editor Nick Wright. “We are continually evolving our methodology to make it more accurate. Over the past year or so, we have expanded our ranking panel to include ‘country experts’ that can give us more detailed insight into individual countries. We felt that if we couldn’t get the hierarchy correct in each country, what chance did we have of getting the overall list in the right order?
“We also wanted to make the ranking more collaborative than it has been in the past in an attempt to remove the ego and subjectivity that naturally occurs when it is based around just one person’s viewpoint. We believe that, while not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, our process will get better and better every year as the panel expands in size and expertise.”
The Top 5 New Entries
Raevo Country Club, Russia (18)
Pestovo Country Club, Russia (35)
Great Northern, Denmark (41)
Oslo, Norway (54)
Tseleevo, Russia (68)
The Top 5 Risers
Visby, Sweden (91 to 49)
Royal Waterloo (La Marache), Belgium (94 to 64)
Thracian Cliffs, Bulgaria (92 to 62)
Quinta do Lago (South), Portugal (56 to 29)
Puerto de Hierro, Spain (50 to 25)
To view the latest rankings, go to www.golfworldtop100.com