Sunday, October 30, 2011

Golf Magazine’s 500 Greatest Golf Holes

Golf Magazine has provided regular listings as to the top golf courses in the sport, and their book also lists 500 of the best golf holes in the game. In fact, it does more than merely list them, but also includes some great photography and illustrations as well as a variety of lists such as the best golf holes by number. The Washington Times has stated that this is a golf book, “on par with no other” and the Journal Sentinal, “the definitive guide.

So, which are among the highly rated golf holes included? Among those included in the best 18:
  • The 4th at Banff Springs, 192 yard, par 3
  • The 15th at Cypress Point, 139 yard, par 3
  • The 17th at TPC Sawgrass, 132 yard, par 3
  • The 18 at Pebble Beach, 548 yards, par 5
  • The 13th at Augusta National, 510 yards, par 5
  • The 17th at St Andrews (Old), 461 yard, par 4
  • The 13th at Pine Valley Golf Club, 448 yard, par 4
  • The 12th at Southern Hills Country Club, 445 yards, par 4
  • The 5th at Bethpage, 451 yards, par 4
  • The 5th at the Mid Ocean Club, 433 yards, par 4
Those are 10 among the top 18 of Golf Magazine's best golf holes which are not ranked in a specific order. The 18th at Pebble Beach is rated as the best finishing hole in golf, which plays alongside the Monterey coastline. The famed 17th the TPC Sawgrass is also included which is a hole surrounded by water. Then there is the 17th Road Hole at St Andrews which has been one of the highlights of numerous Open Championships held there. Previous posts on Amateur Golfer provide further details on some of these holes, such as Great American Golf Holes and Famous Golf Holes.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Golf Digest's Top 10 Nine-hole Golf Courses

Nine-hole golf courses are always a good alternative to 18-hole courses, as there are some great nine-hole golf courses. Golf Digest has also ranked some of the finest nine-hole golf courses in America. These are the top 10 nine-hole courses:

1.) The Dunes Club
2.) Whitinsville
3.) Northwood GC
4.) Aetna Springs GC
5.) Sunnylands
6.) Birchwood
7.) Signal Point Club
8.) Links at Fisher Island
9.) Starr Hollow GC
10.) Pocantino Hills GC

As such, it is the highly rated Dunes Club in New Buffalo, Michigan that is ranked the best nine-hole course in America. This course is approximately 3,478 yards long, and is also a private course. It includes some great holes such as the 513 yard par 8 which has an elevated tee and small green.

A number of publications rate the Dunes Club as one of the best American golf courses regardless of hole numbers. For example, in 2001 it ranked 76 in Golf Magazine’s top 100 golf courses. While there does not seem to be a website for this course, this Dunes Club slideshow is worth noting.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Putting Tips

The golf putt, and golf putting, is an important part of golf scoring. Any golf hole will most likely need at least two putts, amounting to at least 36 putts for 18 holes. More effective golf putting, will certainly enhance golf scores. There are a few tips worth considering for improving at putting.

It is worth noting, that on the green there are really two types of golf putt: lag putting and short putts. A lag putt will be a longer putt, perhaps longer than 10 or 12 feet, aimed to be as close to the hole as possible for a short putt to finish. Then there are shorter distance putts, which can be putted into the hole.

Lag Putting:

Overall, more precise lag putts that finish up to 3 or 4 feet of the hole will likely reduce the number of putts required on the green. PGA tour player Ernie Els has said:

"Effective lag putting can turn a good round into a great one."

For Els recommends that careful attention be paid to the contours around the green and hole when lag putting. As such, it is most important to adjust the speed of a longer putt in relation to uphill and downhill slopes closer to the hole. A downhill slope will require a slightly lighter putt, while uphill putts will require a slightly firmer faster putt.

Overall, to get a good feel for lag putts, you should consider putting a number of longer putts from variable longer and shorter distances on an artificial putting green. Adjust the distance and position of the lag putts, and try to hit them within just a few feet of the hole.

Short Putting:

Shorter putts, can still be missed even up to 3 feet from the hole. They need to be more accurate that lag putts. Generally, a firm grip of the putter should avoid using the wrists when putting. While putting grips can be variable, a reverse-overlap grip has been favoured by golf pros as it keeps the wrists locked in. Another alternative is a cross-handed grip where the left hand is tucked under the right, and also keeps the wrists firm. Both grips are worth considering for golf putting.

With any putting grip, it should also be light, soft and not overly tight. Avoid a tight putting grip, which can reduce putting accuracy on the greens.

Putting clubs can be of variable design. The club heads can include markings to assist with aiming. In addition, they can be centre shafted or toe and heel putters. Overall, the hinged putter is recommended, which can assist with alignment and straight putting. If you are often putting three times on a green, then consider changing your putter. If is possible, trial any potential new putter at a club store.

So, there are a few ways that golf putting can be enhanced on the green. Reading the slope and contours with lag putts, can give a better chance of reducing putts. In addition, short putting will be more consistent with a soft but firm putting grip. Overall, two putts on the green is a good total to aim for.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Amateur Golf Website

For more details on all the latest amateur golf championships why not check out this Amateur Golf website? This website lists, and provides updates on, a variety of amateur championships if you register with them. Further to this, the website includes lots of course reviews and player rankings. The website also has featured videos. For further details, follow this Amateur Golf website link.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Golf Spreadsheets

To record your golf scores spreadsheet software applications are ideal. With spreadsheet applications such as Excel you can record your golf scores, and even add some graphs as well. If you do not already have any spreadsheet software then consider the OpenOffice freeware software suite with its spreadsheet software Calc that is comparable to Excel.

For a basic spreadsheet layout you will need 20 columns. The first column will be for the golf course names, and the remaining 18 columns will be for the golf course holes. You can resize these columns and reduce the width appropriately. A final column will then be required for the golf score totals. Include a Sum function in the first cell of the column, and this can then be dragged and copied into further cells below. Of course, you can add plenty more to this spreadsheet with cell formatting and graphs.

Or alternatively, there are a few golf spreadsheet templates worth noting. This Excel template blog has one, and this website also has a golf spreadsheet template.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

The Top 10 Golf Courses in the World

In addition to Golf Digest, Golf Magazine also rank the top 100 golf courses in the world. Here is the 2011 rankings of Golf Magazine's world top 10 golf courses:

1 Pine Valley
George Crump, H.S. Colt, 1918 Pine Valley, N.J. US 95.99

2 Cypress Point
Alister MacKenzie, 1928 Pebble Beach, Calif. US 91.06

3 Augusta National
Alister MacKenzie, Bobby Jones, 1933 Augusta, Ga. US 87.95

4 St. Andrews (Old Course)
Nature, 1400 St. Andrews Scotland 86.27

5 Royal County Down
Old Tom Morris, 1889 Newcastle N. Ireland 82.92

6 Shinnecock Hills
William Flynn, 1931 Southampton, N.Y. US 82.63

7 Pebble Beach
Jack Neville, Douglas Grant, 1919 Pebble Beach, Calif. US 80.49

8 Oakmont
Henry Fownes, 1903 Oakmont, Pa. US 77.36

9 Muirfield
Old Tom Morris, 1891
H.S. Colt, 1925 Gullane Scotland 76.22

10 Merion (East)
Hugh Wilson, 1912 Ardmore, Pa. US 75.22

This top 10 is in fact similar to Golf Digest's top 10 as it is dominated by US golf courses. Approximately half of the overall rankings are US golf courses. However, Augusta is not rated the top golf course, and instead Pine Valley takes top spot. St Andrews, Muirfield and Royal County Down are the three best non-American golf courses included in the top 10.

Again, it is interesting to note that all the golf courses included in the top 10 are older golf courses that predate 1950. They have remained the best golf courses in the game for decades, regardless of the more recent course designs from architects such as Dye and Trent Jones.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

America's Top 10 Golf Courses in 2011

Golf Digest has revealed America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses listings for 2011. Their biennial listings were first established back in 1966, and so it is one of the oldest golf course rankings. These are the top 10 golf courses in Digest's 2011 rankings:

Augusta, Ga. / Alister Mackenzie & Bobby Jones (1933)

Pine Valley, N.J. / George Crump & H.S. Colt (1918)

Southampton, N.Y. / William Flynn (1931)

4. (5) OAKMONT C.C.
Oakmont, Pa. / Henry Fownes (1903)

Pebble Beach / Alister Mackenzie & Robert Hunter (1928)

Pebble Beach / Jack Neville & Douglas Grant (1919)

7. (7) MERION G.C. (East)
Ardmore, Pa. / Hugh Wilson (1912)

8. (8) WINGED FOOT G.C. (West)
Mamaroneck, N.Y. / A.W. Tillinghast (1923)

9. (13) SAND HILLS G.C.
Mullen, Neb. / Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (1994)


As such, once again the Augusta National golf course is ranked as the best golf course in America. As the annual venue of the Masters it is undoubtedly the most famous championship golf course on the PGA Tour. At approximately 7,400 yards it is also one of the longer golf courses on the rankings.

The top 10 has not changed that much from the last 2009 rankings. Sand Hills and the National G. Links of America are two new entries into the top 10. However, aside from that the top five includes exactly the same golf courses.

The interesting thing about this top 10 is that it is dominated by older golf courses. With the exception of Sand Hills all the golf courses in the top 10 were constructed before 1950. As such, modern golf course design and architecture has not been able to eclipse these golf courses which have remained as the best in America for decades.

Another interesting point worth noting is that the list is also dominated by private golf courses. The only public golf course that makes the top 10 is that of Pebble Beach which ranks 6th. As such, Pebble Beach tops Golf Digest's America's Top 100 Public Golf Courses list. Along with St Andrews Old Course this is one of the few great PGA Tour venues that is a public course.

For further details on these rankings visit the Golf Digest website. This blog post on Amateur Golfer also covers some of the great America golf courses.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

End of Golf Poll

The first golf poll on Amateur Golfer has now closed. Although there were not a huge number of votes in the poll, the United Kingdom emerged as a clear winner with 75% of the votes. As such, it is Amateur Golfer's best European golf destination.

Can this be considered a surprise? After all, it does have some great and famous golf courses and is the home of golf. Although the golf season does well and truly end in northern parts of the United Kingdom when the winter sets in. This is not so much the case in Spain, which I voted for.