First-ever World’s 100 Greatest Courses ranking by Golf Digest recognizes two Nicklaus courses

muirfield village

Muirfield Village Golf Club

Announced this month, two Nicklaus Design courses have been named to Golf Digest’s inaugural list of the World’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses. Muirfield Village Golf Club, located in Dublin, Ohio, outside of Jack Nicklaus’ hometown of Columbus, and site of the PGA Tour’s annual Memorial Tournament, was ranked No. 53. The Mountain Course at Spring City Golf & Lake Resort in Kunming, Yunnan Province, China, closed out the list at No. 100.

Muirfield Village Golf Club was one of 40 designs located in the United States to make the list – a fitting number since America’s 15,619 courses make up 46 percent of the estimated 34,000 global total. Since its opening in 1974, Nicklaus has worked to improve every hole at Muirfield Village, some more than once. In October 2013, Muirfield Village became the only course in the world to host the game’s three most prestigious international team events—The Presidents Cup, The Ryder Cup, and The Solheim Cup. The course is currently ranked No. 14 in Golf Digest’s biennial list of America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses, and is considered by many as the jewel in Jack Nicklaus’ sparkling design résumé. Situated on 220 acres, the championship venue is considered among the first in the world that was designed with large galleries in mind.

Spring City Golf & Lake Resort in China, which has been ranked the No. 1 course in China multiple times by one Asia-Pacific golf publication, occupies a plateau at 7,000 feet, ringed by mountains. The course is one of 20 Nicklaus Design courses to open in China over the last 20 years. Golf Digest describes the layout as “big and bold.” It features fairways twisting around fanciful bunkers, carries over ponds and canyons and roughs of native brush dotted with pines and rock outcroppings.

Golf Digest has been ranking courses for almost half a century. To arrive at the magazine’s first-ever World’s Greatest list, they compiled a ballot of the world’s best layouts and sent it to their U.S. Course Ranking panelists, their 27 international editions and their respective Course Ranking panels, and other selected people they have come to know and trust. In total, 846 knowledgeable, well-travelled golfers completed the survey, rating each course they were familiar with on a 10-point scale. Courses needed a minimum of 20 ballots to qualify for the ranking.

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