A top 100 list is something so fleshed out in the world of golf that it can be difficult to really separate a list from another. At Beyond The Contour, we simply asked one question: what is the best golf course? In rating criteria, this could be translated to subcategories such as a “Walk in the Park” test, or perhaps “Difficulty” among other categories of use. The only point we made clear, at least for now: 18 hole golf courses only. In the future, we will look to include 9 hole golf courses in rankings such as this, whether that be its own list, or a separate list.
Our advantage, being a smaller website with the idea of a select panel, gave us the flexibility to recruit some of Canada’s most well-travelled golfers. We asked them, “where does this golf course rank,” and in a spreadsheet, they put golf courses they have played into a category:
- Top 10
- Just Missed: 101st-125th
- Outside the Top 125
Aside from the top 10, where each individual placing affects where the course finishes, a course ranked 11th and 19th would equal the same: 15th, the average of the tier or was put into. Likewise for the other tiers, with quite a high number given to courses that someone left outside the top 125 if they have seen it (note: anything a panelist had not seen did not factor into the math).
To make the process work, panelists checked off the courses they have seen in the Top 200 in Canada.
From there, math takes over. More weight in the algorithm is given to someone who has seen more courses of the top 200. So for example, if one panelist has seen 125 of the top 200 and rates X course in the 11-20 slot and Y course in the 21-30 slot, and a second panelist has seen 75 of the top 200 and rates Y course in the 11-20 slot and X course in the 21-30 slot, panelist 1 pulls X course higher and y course lower than panelist 2 rated it. For our math fans:
- Course X: (125*15) + (75*25) / (125+75) = 18.75
- Course Y: (125*25) + (75*15) / (125+75) = 21.25
Course X is closer to 1.000, so it would be ranked higher in our top 100.
Continuing, the averages across each panelist who saw the course, with a minimum of 3 ballots (of a total of 18 panelists), spit out the top 100 list, which is presented on our website.
Additionally, panelists were not limited to only ranking courses from the top 200. If there was a course they felt was of merit, they were free to write a course in. In total, over 230 courses were judged.
The panel itself, as previously mentioned, is comprised of some of Canada’s most well-travelled individuals and some newcomers with some exciting opinions on golf courses. Many of whom have requested to stay anonymous for a various reasons. Regardless, golf architects, journalists, esteemed club professionals, people who have played the top 100 in the country, and others who extensively travelled comprise the Beyond The Contour panel. The common theme? They all have keen eyes for good golf architecture.
Of course, a newcomer on the block is bound to be seen as the outcast, yet our goal as a collective is to not be brash or attempt to disparage against well-established lists such as Top 100 Golf Courses, Golfweek, SCOREGolf, or Golf Digest. Our goal is to bring a new perspective to an already credible discussion, providing a unique opinion and showcase many of Canada’s golf courses. This is key for us, given a handful of our panelists currently represent other lists. Yet our criteria is completely different, and as such, we hope represents a fresh perspective on Canada’s golf landscape.
Want to apply to be a panelist? Think we got the methodology or the top 100 wrong? Let us know below!