If you’re a numbers geek, watching the scores flow in from our 140-strong panel of Top 100 Courses raters feels like Christmas all over again. Who has the early lead? Are enough votes in to see a trend emerging? Who’s about to overthrow an incumbent?

It’s not dissimilar to the election coverage we’ll all see on May 21.

This time, the return of four courses in particular piqued our interest. After major redevelopments that saw them intentionally omitted from the 2020 ranking, we welcomed back Yarra Yarra, Killara, Castle Hill and the Gunnamatta course at The National [pictured], which was formerly known as the Ocean.

It was the returning course that arguably held the most intrigue. Not just because of Tom Doak’s audacious yet impressive redesign and how our panel would view it, but also because of the ‘sibling rivalry’ at Australia’s only four-course golf club.

The National’s Moonah course has held sway at the Cape Schanck club ever since it opened just before the beginning of the new millennium, but here was a genuine contender to ascend the family throne.

Yet it wasn’t to be. Not this time, at least.

The Gunnamatta received ample plaudits in returning in 15th place, but the Moonah eclipsed it by four spots (the Old course claimed 19th and the Long Island layout sits at No.57). But it begs a question that may well receive a different answer when the next ranking rolls around in 2024: which course at The National is best?

Foot traffic tells some of the story. As Rohan Clarke reported in our May issue, during the most recent financial year, play on the Gunnamatta increased by almost 8,000 rounds to 31,086 and exceeded that on both the Moonah (24,680) and Old (22,253). A novelty factor was surely at play – who doesn’t like playing a new or revamped course? – yet you get the feeling those figures will be repeated this year.

As for our numbers, among the panellists who ranked both the Gunnamatta and Moonah courses, almost one in three (32 percent) awarded Gunnamatta higher scores along with a few ties. The average points difference between the pair was 1.45 (out of 80) from those judges who scored both, which indicates a small but far from insurmountable lead.

The renovated Gunnamatta course has seen only one ranking period, and one impacted by COVID at that. The relationship between the siblings will be one to watch next time and in the future.