This content is for subscribers only.
Join our club! Become a subscriber to get access to the latest issue of Australian Golf Digest, plus exclusive content and videos only available with a digital subscription.
Top 100: Compare The Pair - Australian Golf Digest Top 100: Compare The Pair - Australian Golf Digest

How Cape Wickham overthrew Royal Melbourne West, by the numbers

If you’re feeling aggrieved at the usurping at the top of our ranking, cover your heart for a moment and instead digest this with just your head.

The numbers didn’t lie. Whichever way we viewed the scores provided by our judging panel, Cape Wickham Links successfully completed the overthrow. While Royal Melbourne’s West course beat Cape Wickham in four categories, the West’s overall set of scores didn’t quite stack up. Wickham finished either first or second in six of the seven criteria versus four for RM [upper panel].

Aesthetics was the key. Cape Wickham smashed the field in that criterion (the second-highest score nationally was 9.17). Elsewhere, in the categories where the West course was superior, the King Island layout was right behind it, whereas the reverse scenario wasn’t always true.

Meanwhile, 13 members of our judging panel scored both courses in the two-year ranking cycle that spanned March 1, 2022, to February 29, 2024. Of those, seven ranked the King Island course higher with two more panellists giving the same score to both. The average scores of just this baker’s dozen gave Cape Wickham the edge by a full point [lower panel].

Sometimes raw numbers don’t paint the full picture, which is why we picked apart the two sets and analysed them in multiple ways. Even when we discarded outlier scores experimentally – a common statistical practice – Cape Wickham maintained its edge.

You might not agree with the outcome (or perhaps you do?), but whether viewed via head or heart, the swap at the top has legitimacy under our evaluation criteria according to our judging panel.