Thank you to everyone who participated in stage one of the 2020 BuffaloGolfer.Com ranking of the best courses in Buffalo-Niagara. The time has arrived to rank the top 15 golf courses in two divisions: public and private. Before you click the links below, please read carefully the tenets of proper golf course ranking. Resist emotional attachment to a golf course, and discard elements that reference something other than the golf course.
Stage one gave us all the opportunity to consider what BEST means in ranking. Now it is time to put our learning into practice. Good luck!
Golf course rankings emerge from logic. While randomness on a golf course is fun, enlightening, and memorable, it does not denote BEST. Our task here is to order these golf courses from 1st Best to 15th Best. Please be discerning and thoughtful in ordering your selections. Here are guidelines to help you determine order of BEST:
1. Variety and interest of layout: Golf course has combination of doglegs and straight holes. Employs some sand and water, but does not choke the course in hazards. Where possible, uses elevation change to alter pace.
2. Flexibility of layout: Golf course is able to welcome and challenge beginning, intermediate, and advanced golfers, with a variety of distances, angles, and decisions.
3. Conditioning and appearance of layout: Golf course should play somewhere between soft (over-watered) and hardpan. Fast and firm is trendy for links and links-style courses, but we are not a sand-based region. Fairways and greens should be receptive to decently-struck shots. Basic hygiene (garbage cans, bathrooms, food cart, halfway house) should be top-shelf in all areas.
4. Psychological/Spiritual impact: This is a vague category, we understand, but it allows us to bring setting, fun, and penality (not penalty, penality) under one heading. A BEST golf course should have an element of fun, but not silly and easy. Its setting should inspire to a degree, but we understand that some properties are simply prettier than others. Finally, a golf course should not be so penal that it destroys your psyche. A basic tenet to use is, can the hole be played from tee to green on the ground? The balance of forced carries, and the length of them, is crucial.
On a parting note, no matter how much you love the “vibe” of a specific course, remember that “vibe” is about people, the bar, the food, the pool, but is NOT about the layout.
Use note paper, if necessary, before filling out the bubbles to ensure that you do not select a course more than once. Thank you for your thoughtful analysis.