Rating criteria bad for Architecture

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    Ben Cowan

    I once had a friend tell me he didnt like a course because the holes leg too much to one way. If one believes the land dictates the routing and the best holes come from it, then so be it. He used rating criteria from one of the mags. Sorry but those criteria are too formulamatic imo.

    Craig Moore

    The land indeed should dictate the routing if not you run the risk of excessive ground work that drives up the cost of construction.
    Golf needs to be affordable and that starts with construction.

    Mike Bodo

    Ben, can you publish info on how the Doak rating system works? Reason I ask is because I see people on other forums and published articles rating courses as Doak 6’s or Doak 7’s, but have always been curious as to the criteria used to arrive at that. More important, is the Doak rating system a good or better evaluator of a courses quality than that purported by some of the trade magazines? BTW, the new site looks 100% better! 😉

    • This reply was modified 5 years ago by Mike Bodo.
    Ben Cowan

    “0-A course so contrived and unnatural that it may poison your mind, which I cannot recommend under any circumstances. Reserved for courses that wasted ridiculous sums of money in their construction, and probably shouldn’t have been built in the first place.

    1-A very basic golf course, with clear architectural malpractice and/or poor maintenance. Avoid even if you’re desperate for a game.

    2-A mediocre golf course with little or no architectural interest, but nothing really horrible. As my friend Dave Richards summed one up: “Play it in a scramble, and drink a lot of beer”.

    3-About the level of the average golf course in the world. (Since I don’t go out of my way to see average courses, my scale is deliberately skewed to split hairs among the good, the better, and the best).

    4-A modestly interesting course, with a couple of distinctive holes among the 18, or at least some scenic interest and decent golf. Also reserved for some very good courses that are much too short and narrow to provide sufficient challenge for accomplished players.

    5-Well above the average golf course, but the middle of my scale. A good course to choose if you’re in the vicinity and looking for a game, but don’t spend another day away from home just to see it, unless your home is Alaska.

    6-A very good course, definitely worth a game if you’re in town, but not necessarily worth a special trip to see. It shouldn’t disappoint you.

    7-An excellent course, worth checking out if you get anywhere within 100 miles. You can expect to find soundly designed, interesting holes, good course conditioning, and a pretty setting, if not necessarily anything unique to the world of golf.

    8-One of the very best courses in its region (although there are more 8’s in some places, and none in others), and worth a special trip to see. Could have some drawbacks, but these will clearly be spelled out, and it will make up for them with something really special in addition to the generally excellent layout.

    9-An outstanding course – certainly one of the best in the world – with no weaknesses in regard to condition, length, or poor holes. You should see this course sometime in your life.

    10-Nearly perfect; if you skipped even one hole, you would miss something worth seeing. If you haven’t seen all the courses in this category, you don’t know how good golf architecture can get. Drop the book and call your travel agent – immediately.”

    IMO, it is better using 100 point Doak scale, 6.8 is better then 6.1. Reading Anatomy of a Golf Course and keep asking questions and learning is the best way to evaluate a Golf Course. Unfortunately many of the mags are about the raters gaining access. The rating criteria doesn’t foster individual critical thinking for rater. It facilitates ticking boxes off someone or group gives you to focus on. A course should be able to be written up in a few paragraphs too.

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