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Behold, New England’s Top 100 Public Courses


New England Journal of Golf, the only dedicated golf magazine serving the entire six-state region, has published its annual ranking of New England’s very best golf courses accessible to public play.

Sugarloaf Golf Club in Carrabassett, Maine, again finished first in the ranking; Putnam Country Club in Putnam, Conn. came in at No. 100. In between – and in order of quality – are the finest daily-fee, resort, semiprivate and municipal golf courses in Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.

The only ranking ever assembled specifically for New England, The Top 100 headlines the Spring 2003 issue of New England Journal of Golf (NEJG), now available on newstands in all six states.

Readers can view the complete NEJG Top 100 online, along with full magazine coverage. But the top 25 looks like this:

1. Sugarloaf Golf Club, Carrabassett, Maine
2. Taconic Golf Club, Williamstown, Mass.
3. Farm Neck Golf Club, Oak Bluffs, Mass.
4. Belgrade Lakes Golf Club, Belgrade, Maine
5. Crumpin’-Fox Golf Club, Bernardston, Mass.
6. Country Club of New Seabury (Ocean), Mashpee, Mass.
7. Waverly Oaks Golf Club, Plymouth, Mass.
8. Pinehills Golf Club, Jones Course, Plymouth, Mass.
9. Red Tail Golf Club, Devens, Mass
10. The Equinox/Gleneagles Golf Club, Manchester, Vt.

11. Richter Park Golf Course, Danbury, Conn.
12. Fox Hopyard Golf Club, Old Lyme, Conn.
13. The Ranch Golf Club, Southwick, Mass.
14. The Balsams Golf Club, Panorama Course, Dixville Notch, N.H.
15. Kebo Valley Golf Club, Bar Harbor, Maine
16. Rutland Country Club, Rutland, Vt.
17. Owl’s Nest Golf Club, Campton, N.H.
18. Pinehills Golf Club, Nicklaus Course, Plymouth, Mass.
19. Shaker Hills Golf Club, Harvard, Mass.
20. Okemo Valley Golf Club, Ludlow, Vt.
21. Samoset Resort Golf Club, Rockland, Maine
22. Green Mountain National Golf Course, Killington, Vt.
23. Stow Acres Country Club, North Course, Stow, Mass.
24. Portsmouth Country Club, Portsmouth, N.H.
25. Waterville Country Club, Waterville, Maine

“We quadrupled the size of our course-rating panel for this year’s NEJG Top 100, and readers will notice that things were shaken up considerably,” said David DeSmith, editor-in-chief of NEJG, which is published six times annually from its North Yarmouth, Maine headquarters.

“Thirteen courses debuted this year; some opened during 2002 but others played their way in, according to our panelists, through renovation, improved maintenance standards and good, old fashioned maturity,” said DeSmith. “So many new courses opened during the past three years. The good ones are that much better with a couple seasons under their belts.

“When courses move up the list, others fall. That’s the unfortunate truth,” DeSmith continued. “Our list might ruffle some feathers but The NEJG Top 100 remains, more than anything else, mind-boggling testimony to the quality of golf here in New England. We have aimed to provide a meaningful ‘hit list’, if you will – a reference guide for avid golfers in all six states, and for people visiting New England. We like to think of the NEJG Top 100 as the definitive roadmap. Because of the depth and class of public golf here, there are no wrong turns.”

New England Journal of Golf’s panel includes club and touring pros, architects and superintendents, NEJG staff and fellow journalists, golf association personnel and noted golf hounds. To qualify for The NEJG Top 100, courses must have met three units of criteria: 1) They had to be located in one of the six New England states; 2) They had to be open for public play as of Dec. 31, 2002; and 3) They had to offer at least 18 holes. All the courses considered for The NEJG Top 100 were evaluated on the basis of:

• Overall design
• Test of golf/difficulty
• Variety of challenge and design
• Scenic value/environmental factors
• Course conditioning

According to National Golf Foundation statistics, there are more than 720 golf courses that are generally open for public play in New England. “Our Top 100 merely skims the cream from the crop,” DeSmith added. “We rank them as a reader service. To list them alphabetically would be less controversial, to be sure, but it would also be far less interesting and useful to New England golfers.”

New England Journal of Golf is the only dedicated golf magazine serving the entire six-state region. As does every issue, NEJG’s Early Spring 2003 edition includes six separate, in-depth sections devoted to the respective golf scenes in each of the six New England states.

In addition to its Top 100 coverage, the current NEJG includes results of an extensive reader’s poll on New England’s best public courses; a detailed round-up of the spring’s hot new golf equipment; the first entry from NEJG’s newest regular columnist, NHL legend Ray Bourque; a preview of June’s CVS Charity Classic in Rhode Island; travel features on the scenic Route 7 corridor, New York State, and Canada’s string of Grand Resorts; a Q&A with this year’s “Open Doctor,” course architect Mark Mungeam; the ghostly tale of eternal guests at The Balsams; the latest from Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Paul Szep; plus news, opinion and photography.

For subscription information, call NEJG at 207/829-6760, or visit the website at www.nejg.com.