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How we rank the Top 100 Courses: The formula used to create our lists

September 1, 2017

Compiling our lists of the Top 100 Courses in the U.S. and the World involves lots of math—and plenty of play.

Our rankings are determined by a 100-member-strong international panel representing 18 countries. Voters include major championship winners, Ryder Cup players, architects, leading amateurs, administrators, journalists, photographers, and more than a dozen connoisseurs who’ve managed to play all of the world’s Top 100 courses. Although there are no set-in-stone criteria they must follow, GOLF lends confidence in the panel’s sense of what constitutes “greatness” in a course. Each panelist evaluates a ballot of 522 courses, and points are accrued based on how the panelists rank them. (For example, every course in a panelist’s top three earns 100 points.)

Any course that receives a “remove from ballot” vote has 10 points deducted. Architects cannot vote for their original designs, and course owners cannot vote for their properties.