The biennial Golf Digest list of the best U.S. golf courses is just out, and Augusta National has supplanted Pine Valley as No. 1. This came as a surprise even to the editors who assembled the list, since critics had been lambasting the course for being too difficult (and boring) during recent Masters tournaments, and all the votes had been counted long before last week’s course-flattering event. But the votes, cast by those 46 of the magazine’s 900 raters who were actually able to get on the Augusta, Ga., course at some point over the last eight years and were therefore eligible to evaluate it, were the votes, and numbers never lie.
Numbers do differ, however. The tally of votes by raters for the Golfweek magazine lists, published last month, crowned Cypress Point in Pebble Beach, Calif., as No. 1 among classic courses and Sand Hills in Mullen, Neb., as No. 1 among modern courses (those opening after 1960). Pine Valley, in Pine Valley, N.J., ranked No. 1 on the last Golf magazine list (from 2007; a new one is due in the October issue). And on Zagat’s just-released survey, Bethpage Black on New York’s Long Island is the No. 1-rated course and Pebble Beach Golf Links, also in Pebble Beach, is the No. 1 “most popular.”