The Western Golf Alliance is a regional golf club without real estate, and therefore is not affiliated with any golf course. Our members recognize that the attributes about our club that make us one of the premier golf clubs in the western U.S. - our regional structure, our amateur membership, and our desire to advance public golf - also make us uniquely qualified to perform one of the most comprehensive assessments of public access golf courses in the country. Again this year, as is our biennial tradition, our members evaluated courses subjectively and engaged in open discussion about the inclusion and ranking of courses in each region. After we published our first rankings in 2008, we received both praise and inquiries regarding the quality of our decisions and our method for achieving the rankings. In response, the following is the method for ensuring that the Where You Can Rip It rankings represent the best in west coast golf.
Step #1: When a member plays a course, he completes a subjective evaluation based on four criteria - Excellence of the Golf Course (15 points), Staff and Amenities (10 points), Value/Price (10 points), Playability (10 points), and Overall Experience (5 points).
Step #2: On September 1, every course that has received at least three evaluations over the past 21 months is ranked within their region based on their average evaluation score, and the top 30 courses in each region are now considered nominated courses.
Step #3: By September 15, each region holds a meeting to discuss the nominated courses, where members discuss the merits of each nominated course, and receive the evaluation sheets for every nominated course and any public comment submitted by non-members.
Step #4: After initial discussion, the nominated courses ranked #16-30 are collectively debated. By the conclusion of the meeting, these 15 courses are reduced to five courses that will remain in contention. Additionally, the top 15 nominated courses from Step 2 automatically advance, thus establishing a list of 20 contending courses.
Step #5: Between the time of the meeting and October 1, the members in the region are provided a list of the contending courses ranked 11-20 (those five courses that were passed through from Step 4, and the five courses originally ranked #11-15 in Step 2). Members force-rank those 10 courses, using whatever criteria they individually deem appropriate. The force ranking responses are scored, and the top five courses remain in contention.
Step #6: Between October 1 and October 15, the members in the region are provided another list of courses, comprised of those five courses that were passed through from Step 5, and the five contending courses originally ranked #6-10 in Step 2. Members force-rank those 10 courses, using whatever criteria they individually deem appropriate. The force ranking responses are scored, and the top five courses remain in contention.
Step #7: Between October 15 and October 30, the region holds a second meeting to discuss the courses. The meeting involves two major subjects of discussion: a) Of the five courses eliminated in Step 6, which course will receive the #11 ranking from the region (Region A is allowed to select two courses, which tie for the #11 ranking)? b) Of the 10 courses remaining in contention (five from Step 6, plus those ranked #1-5 from Step 2), what is the final consensus ranking of those courses?
The results of these meetings are reported to the task force by October 31, 5:00 p.m. Pacific time.
After innumerable rounds of golf played at over 400 different courses, the result is one of the most comprehensive and complete rankings of the top 100 west cost public-access golf courses anywhere. Next time you're looking for a great public golf experience, consider the advice of the Western Golf Alliance ... and Keep It Long and Straight!!