The people's Top 18

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The people's Top 18

Postby thurman » Fri Oct 14, 2011 9:52 am

Years ago, when Moe and Ron were at their statewide golfing peak, the Top 18 was a pretty good reflection of where to play in the state and one of the major subjects of debate on the site. Every now and then someone will still make reference to it, but it seems to have mostly become something of a forgotten corner of the site.

We, the people, can bring it back.

I propose that over the winter, we rank the Top 18 courses in KY here on the forum and get them ready for an early spring unveiling. Here's how the process will work:

1. We'll collect course nominations. Any course that anyone feels is a potential Top 18 course can be entered, as long as it's available to public access.

2. We'll figure out what criteria we want to evaluate these courses on (this is the real trick. We can't just have people list their own Top 18, because few of us have played all the contenders and that would give a huge advantage to courses within 30 minutes of Louisville or Lexington. We'll rank on specific criteria, similar to how Golf Digest and other magazines do their ratings).

3. Each course will get its own thread in which anyone who has played it can offer their ranking. This should give us lots of stuff to debate and discuss (hence the reason for doing this over the winter, as it'll give us a chance to keep the site active with a little discussion and argument).

4. Once every course has been evaluated, I'll compile the results as a numeric score for each course and we'll have our new People's Top 18, a definitive guide to the best courses to play in 2012.

Simple enough. The point of this thread, then, is to accomplish task 1 and 2. If you think a course should be nominated, mention it in a reply post (we'll go ahead and automatically include everything currently in the Top 18, and I'll add Picadome and Griffin Gate to that list).

We also need to figure out our rating criteria. Golf Digest uses the following categories on a 1-10 scale: Shot Values (counts double), Resistance to Scoring, Design Variety, Memorability, Aesthetics, Conditioning and Ambience.

I'm voting we use a 1-5 scale instead, because it's a little more condensed and easier to define (1-poor, 2-below average, 3-average, 4-good, 5-exceptional). I also think categories like "shot values" and "ambience" may not be appropriate because they're so hard to define. I like the idea of keeping resistance to scoring, design variety, memorability, aesthetics, and conditioning. What categories should we add to replace shot values and ambience? What other categories would you want to add or eliminate (or combine into one)?

Basically, tell me how you'd like to have us rank courses.
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Re: The people's Top 18

Postby cobra » Fri Oct 14, 2011 10:13 am

Great idea. My observation of golfers has been that some are really into dissecting courses and "shot values", etc., while others just have a general thumbs-up or thumbs-down mentality. A simple 1 through 5 scale would cater to the latter, while a complex scheme would satisfy the former. I don't know how you'd reconcile the two. All I can tell you is that I look at golf courses like I look at women's chests. I don't need numbers, details, and descriptions to augment my appreciation...all I need is a few glances to know what I think and whether me likey. So I'd be in favor of a simpler rating system.
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Re: The people's Top 18

Postby chrislindy » Fri Oct 14, 2011 1:51 pm

cobra wrote:Great idea. My observation of golfers has been that some are really into dissecting courses and "shot values", etc., while others just have a general thumbs-up or thumbs-down mentality. A simple 1 through 5 scale would cater to the latter, while a complex scheme would satisfy the former. I don't know how you'd reconcile the two. All I can tell you is that I look at golf courses like I look at women's chests. I don't need numbers, details, and descriptions to augment my appreciation...all I need is a few glances to know what I think and whether me likey. So I'd be in favor of a simpler rating system.


We get to rate boobs?! I'm in!

Seriously, though, I agree with cobra.

Seriouslier, though, boobs.
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Re: The people's Top 18

Postby Docugs » Fri Oct 14, 2011 1:58 pm

I don't agree with just the Public tracks only being included in this list. You can get on about any course in the state if you take the time to work at it with the exception of a few courses. Old Stone can be played, Big Blue can be played, Valhalla, can be with some work. Idle hour may not be, but I know it can be done.

I think day to day condition should be a big factor.
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Re: The people's Top 18

Postby wilma » Fri Oct 14, 2011 4:22 pm

And once you have done all these things, and made your ranking list, I will tell you how badly you messed up by NOT JUST ASKING ME!

Why do you try to make this difficult? Two simple rules. 1.Doug is God. 2. Ask Doug.

I know you have heard a version of this from me before. Sadly, every so often I obviously need to remind you.

Doug

PS: 'shot values' is a question begging term if I ever have read one. GCA reeks of it, and no one can define it succinctly. If I learned one certainty from GCA, it that course architecture evaluation is VERY subjective.[ SCOTUS Judge asked how to define obscenity "No objective terms, but I know it when I see it".] Golf courses too!
125yd hole out for Eagle at #7, Stonelick Hills, with a 9-iron. 6/13/06. 115yd Hole out for Eagle on #9, Stonelick Hills. 10/22/08.
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Re: The people's Top 18

Postby A-Dub » Fri Oct 14, 2011 5:53 pm

I don't know that I necessarily agree with including privates. Yes, many of us are able to find ways to get on at private courses and we enjoy sharing about them, but I don't know if its really the essence of this site. Maybe you make two separate lists and one "grand" list to compare the two, but I don't think they should necessarily be compared either. Private courses have a connotation that they are better in many instances, even at the lower level of private courses. I am afraid that could skew the voting. Someone might say Keene Run is better than Kearney just from the way their view is of private courses, when we all know that is likely not the case, whether we have played there or not. There is a place for ranking the private courses on this site, but this site kind of exists as info for the traveling golfer, and I'm not sure ranking the private courses in the state with the publics caters to that. If jf from Michigan comes on here and looks at the top 18 with 11 private courses listed, he really isn't getting a lot of help. That's my thought on that.

I'm pretty simple in ranking courses, so I like the 1-5, and no I don't know what to add to it. Shot value might be a difficult one, but I feel ambience is a valid one that we could make valid ratings on. I think it should be in there. It's kinda like the guy that goes to Weissinger, he may like different things and think the barn is pretty cool, but the next guy like me may be not get anything from that and prefer a place like Kearney.
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Re: The people's Top 18

Postby thurman » Fri Oct 14, 2011 7:12 pm

I want to respect the original intent of the Top 18 as much as possible with this. Moe and Ron always treated GKL as a site about public golf, and the Top 18 always focused on public tracks. I agree with Dub that there's a place on this site for debating privates, but I don't think they belong in a "people's Top 18."

Doug, the Golf Digest definition of shot values actually is pretty simple. It's something to the effect of "How well does the course test all aspects of a players game while providing risk/reward opportunities?" So basically, does the course extract an equal penalty for being an erratic hitter as it does for being a short hitter as it does for lacking a short game as it does for being a poor putter... and so on and so forth. And, while doing so, does it give players opportunities to take risks to gain some sort of reward. Perhaps for GKL we just do two categories to take its place:

1. How much risk/reward is evident?
2. How well does the course test all facets of a player's game? (this one could also let us dump "resistance to scoring" as a category by itself, as it sort of covers that one too)

Also, after a quick look at the Moe and Ron criteria for evaluating Top 18 candidates, I noticed that they included drainage and avoidance of "ran out of room" holes. With the goal of staying true to the original intent of the Top 18, we should probably include a category that takes stuff like this into account.
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Re: The people's Top 18

Postby JP » Fri Oct 14, 2011 11:00 pm

Can we get back to talking about boobs...

Seriously though, I like the idea that thurman proposed. I think ambiance is definitely a good category. While it's true we won't all agree I think there will be enough of a general consensus. For example I'll choose a course that will surely not make our list: Canewood. While it's a decent enough little course it has about 0 ambiance (I guess that would be a 1 on our scale). I don't what this would fall under but it also suffers IMO from the fact that it feels like 3 or 4 different courses. There's no uniformity to the design and it feels like several different courses in one. Now I'm not knocking the course. I have a friend who lives there and I enjoy a couple of rounds a year there. The GD criteria seem pretty reasonable and 1-5 is also good.

Ixnay on the inclusion of privates. While several of you guys have the connections to play them often. Many of us don't and A-Dub's point about the traveling golfer is a good one as well.
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Re: The people's Top 18

Postby Docugs » Sat Oct 15, 2011 1:29 am

Fine then just change the name of the website, It needs to be Ky. Public golf links. It looks like everybody is getting too hung up on what the site started out as. Well guess what it isn't the same, there is only a hand full of members that actually post on here, And I would guess that traffic is probably down too. The site has to grow in some way, and just doing what has been done in the past just doesn't work.
If you are doing lists mainly for the guy who comes down from Michigan, fine but I bet we don't get that much traffic anymore. Hell many of those guys that come down here and play the lexington area get to play Big Blue and that doesn't get to be on the list. No Keane run isn't better than Keaney hill, but if you go by condition then they are neck and neck, Keane's greens are much better condition and faster.
If we are doing a site for the travel guy then you need to put all the southern IN. courses in the mix and maybe the ohio tracks in the list. Chariot run and some of the others would be way up the public list then.

Again do as many lists as you want, but lets be real, the site isn't what it used to be, and only a hand full of of people,really still post anymore. why not make a list showing the true caliber of golf in the state, and you can make the list as long as you want, and show how hard it is to get on each course, Private vs. public etc.


I just looked through the top 18 and none of it applies the last reviews were 09, 05 for cherry blossom, and 03 listed for waisioto winds, So none of this really is up to date.
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Re: The people's Top 18

Postby JP » Sat Oct 15, 2011 7:45 am

"These are the best 18 public golf courses in Kentucky...we golf Kentucky"
Last edited by JP on Sat Oct 15, 2011 8:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The people's Top 18

Postby BSS » Sat Oct 15, 2011 7:56 am

Counter to Doc's view, I think the list should only be courses that you don't have to "work" to get on. I've played a lot of golf and I'm not a member anywhere, so I have no clue where I would even start to get on all but 2 private courses in the state. That's just because I know members of those two. Doc I'm not sure if you're a member of a private or not, but if you are I think your perception of how to go about getting on a private might be a little different than us that aren't members.

I don't think the vast majority of golfers want to have to work to find a way to get on a course. If it takes anything more than a phone call for a tee time and giving them the cash for the green fee....they shouldn't be included.
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Re: The people's Top 18

Postby cesmal » Sat Oct 15, 2011 9:15 am

Two lists. One public and one private. I agree in general with BSS, but I have been able to play several privates, like Polo Fields, Audubon, Cardinal Club, Persimmon, Valhalla, Olde Stone, Hurstbourne and Hunting Creek and i would like to see how these stack up with others. With Groupon, Social Living and the various charity scrambles available, a lot of these private courses can be played.
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Re: The people's Top 18

Postby thurman » Sat Oct 15, 2011 4:49 pm

I'm not opposed to ranking private courses, I just don't think they belong on this list. I also don't think that the system I came up with works well for private courses on this forum. The whole system is based on the idea that four or five people, minimum, will offer a vote on each course and that gives us a pretty good average of where that course should fall. Idle Hour is a great course, but no more than 2 or 3 people on here have played it. Ditto Lex CC, and many other highly-regarded privates in the state. I'm just not sure we'd get a very good representation of those courses on 1 or 2 peoples' votes. I also don't think we can rate every private contender in the state, which would make our list incomplete and pretty disposable.

This isn't a new problem, by the way. Idle Hour claims they'd be on the Top 100 lists if they only gave enough rater play. We're not the only group that can't rate privates accurately because of a small sample size. If someone wants to come up with a system for rating privates, go for it. I'll add ratings of all the ones I've played and be interested to see the outcome. But I won't be crunching private course numbers myself.

But it brings us back to the original question: What other courses need to be nominated for this ranking besides just the Top 18 and Picadome and Griffin Gate? No love for Gibson Bay? What about those of you who have played KY Dam Village or Doe Valley? Should they be in the running? Anyone have a "hidden secret" or longshot course that they'd like to put into the race? I'll take nominations until November 1st.
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Re: The people's Top 18

Postby JP » Sat Oct 15, 2011 5:22 pm

Gibson Bay definitely should be one that we rate. I would guess enough of us have played that one to get a fair representation. I do worry about some of the courses such as Mineral Mound and Wasioto. I'm sure they are great courses and I really want to play them both but I have a feeling that those of us that may be rating these courses haven't played those 2. At least I don't think more than 2 or 3 have but maybe I'm wrong.
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Re: The people's Top 18

Postby Docugs » Sat Oct 15, 2011 6:03 pm

Idle hour is about two ratings shy to have enough to be ranked from what I was told this summer by my Buddy who rates for golf digest.
JP I have played Waisioto, I don't know where I would rate it. I still think you have to rate the southern In. courses on this list too. Enough people have said they have no problem getting on Big Blue So that should be on the list.

But who is going to vote on these? It should be people who have played the most courses and have played them this summer. Foreleft should be one.
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