My golf course rating system

At first you will pass off this system as just a poor attempt at humor. However, it has proven infallible. This rates my own personal view of a course and what is important to me. I inserted this for a reason. We all need to start being more astute in judging the golf experience. We need to look at everything from the way the course plays, to the service at the snack bar. Right now, people build whatever they want and few will criticize a big name architect or developer. I personally find many of the new courses sacrifice playability for aesthetics. Just because a course is difficult and aesthetic, doesn’t mean it is a good course.

Create a system of your own, and judge a course by what is important to you and not what the golf mainstream says.

It is a 0-100 point system and points are bad. The perfect course would get a score of zero.

1. 20 points for quality of green condition (20 being worst)
2. 20 points for quality of condition of the rest of the course
3. 1 point for every hole you find a poor design, for a maximum of 18
4. 1 point for every green you find a poor design, again, for a maximum of 18
5. If a green or hole is exceptionally bad, you can give it an additional point
6. 24 miscellaneous points. Miscellaneous points can be incurred by rudeness of the staff, pace of play, arrogance of players/members and/or course designer. Basically, anything that is involved in ruining your experience. A “course host” showing up to my car wearing plus fours and asking me if I would like to pre-hone my game at the world class practice facility, would incur about a 5-8 point penalty for me. A marshal getting in my grill for waiting too long to hit a drive, or waiting from too far away to hit the green, automatically gets the full 24 point penalty.
7. There also can be bonus “minus points” awarded. Since points are bad, “minus points” would have to result from something excellent I didn’t expect. A really hot beverage cart girl or a sign on the first tee saying, “you must play in 4 hours and/or keep up with the group in front of you.” A marshal driving up and betting me a quarter that I can’t reach the green from 280 all carry over water and waits patiently to watch me do it…would create a -25 point bonus for his facility.

Now add up all the points and see where it falls.

0-10 A course you’d pay any price to play
11-20 A wonderful course and experience
21-30 A very playable course
31-40 Kind of a pile
41-50 Pile
51-60 Major Pile
61-70 Ultimate Pile
71-80 Beyond Pile
81+ A Donald Trump golf course with a greens keeper about to be fired.

The point of this system is having fun. It’s a game. Make it simple and enjoy yourself.




  1. Smitty

    Are you going to list some of your top public courses tomorrow?

  2. Andrew

    Curious, because I was just there, how do you rate Spyglass and Poppy Hills? For me Poppy got a 20 for the greens because they were just aerated(sp?) shouldn’t they give you a break on price when they do that?

    • Monte Scheinblum

      I like Spyglass a lot and have somehow never played Poppy Hills. yes, you should get a 50% discount when the green are aerated.

  3. meateater

    I think there is a real disconnect between the golf course management industry and the average player. I have yet to meet anyone who appreciates some kid with a wet towel hanging out at the 18 green or at the cart drop off to “clean” your clubs for 15 seconds in return for a tip. They are the golf course equivalent of the notorious squeegee men in NYC, who would ambush you at stop lights and wipe your windshield down.

    Similarly, I don’t need someone to drive a cart to my car when I pull in the parking lot. I also don’t like to be forced to leave my bag at some drive up drop off area, very convenient for thieves to pull up and leave with your sticks.

    Is it too much to ask to expect not to be called to the first tee when the group ahead of you hasn’t teed off yet? Also, how about a reasonable time between groups? Seven minutes might let you book a lot of times, but it ensures the course will be backed up.

    And of course, our fave, pace of play. Why would a course want to aggravate everyone behind a slow group rather than risk annoying the slow pokes? I will not return to a course if they seem ok with >4 1/2 hour rounds. I don’t care if it is the weekend. It doesn’t take longer to play based on the day of the week.

    • seveonsunday

      Hey I used to be that kid that ambushed you on 18, and pulled a cart up to your car when you arrived at the course…

  4. Andrew

    I got that treatment at Primm Valley near Vegas meateater. It is annoying, then they ask if they can help you to your car with your clubs. What am I? A little old lady at the grocery store.

  5. Banner 12

    Good rating system Monte but it would be better if it were reversed with 100 being best and zero(or below zero) being worst. More in keeping with normal rating systems.

    • Monte Scheinblum

      See, that’s my whole point…to against what is normal. 🙂

      • Banner 12

        Anarchist! 🙂

  6. Reseller Hosting

    Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

  7. stephen

    Just thinking out loud about slow play.
    Is there any other recreational activity that we want over with as soon as possible ?
    Lets go skiing, we’ve got all morning, but lets see if we can get it done in 2 hours !!

    Also a group of single figure/scratch golfers should, by logic be quicker than a group of say 20 handicappers, they have less shots. 3-4 shots difference per hole between them @ conservatively 30 seconds per shot = something like half hour difference per round.

    • Don Lissen

      Skiing $ucks if you are spending all day in lift lines…(waiting to get uphill).

  8. Andrew in Belgium

    Surely you forgot to add one point for every minute over 4 hours taken to play and a minus point for every minute under 3:45. At many courses this would ruin the 0-100 point system as the course would achieve 150+.

  9. John

    Pebble Beach GC score 15
    I have been fortunate enough to play there four times in the last 1 and a half years, even more fortunate that I was a guest of a high roller for every round. Therefore this rating is honest in that there is no “I paid 400 bucks and the coffee was cold” sentiment in the rating. This rating is based on the first time I played there. The course conditions overall were good, not perfect so a 4, the greens were excellent so a 1 there. 10 points for pace of play, which was a dreadful 5:45. We were lead off the course when we were on 18 tee due to darkness. The iconic 18! There were 7 groups behind us that didn’t get that far. I asked the Marshall what had happened and he replied there was an unusual number of “inexperienced” players on the course that day. No apology, no rebate, nothing. For the kind of jack my buddy put up for the four of us to play I thought it was rude at best that no effort was made to rectify the situation. We were playing Spyglass the next morning so I got up early and went to the first tee at PB, found the starter and explained what happened the day before. I requested a cart so I could run out and play 18 before the dewsweepers finished their round and I would be in the way. He thought about and then said ok. He had a guy drive me out there and watched as I played the hole. It was a little weird, like he thought I was going to steal the pin or something. Anyway, I parred 18 with an up and down out of the greenside bunker and walked off in triumph to the car to go to Spyglass. Pebble is overplayed, and probably a least a little overrated golf wise. The views are spectacular, but several of the holes are pretty ordinary, not bad, just ok. The staff isn’t rude exactly, more indifferent. You’d expect a little better.

    Spyglass, on the other hand, wow. Score 0.

  10. gh

    There is the biggest gap between quality of players and quality of course at PB than anywhere else I’ve played. It takes FOREVER to finish a round. One reason, I think, is that half the players are there only for some kind of business entertainment reason. Their company or a vendor paid for the round….and it’s one of only two rounds they play all year! The fairways are worn out from all the grounders!


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