So you’d like to be on our Top 100 panel?

Am I ready to be an Australian Golf Digest Top 100 Courses panellist? Answer these true-or-false questions correctly and the answer might be yes. 

1. Now that I’m an AGD Top 100 Courses panellist I can expect to ring up any club, any time and enjoy free golf. 

2. It should be expected that the courses I play well on are naturally going to rate better in my eyes. 

3. The sign of a great golf course with strong Shot Options is one that asks me to use every club in my bag. 

4. When judging a course’s Conditioning, disregard trees and vegetation. 

5. Distinctiveness is how well I can remember the course without holes blurring into one another. 

6. I’m a woman so there’s no point in applying to be a golf-course panellist. 

Answers: 

1. False. Sorry to burst your bubble there, Freddie Freeloader, but while joining the country’s most respected course-ranking team does have its privileges (e.g. gaining access to world-renowned courses), waltzing onto any course and demanding a free slice of the action isn’t one of them. In fact, it’s left to the discretion of each individual club how they would like to treat panellist access and green fees. Whether they charge or not has absolutely zero bearing on the scores they receive. 

2. Absolutely false. And this is an important point. Panellists should never judge any course in any category by how well or how poorly a course fits their own golf game. To do so is to mark emotionally, giving high scores to places where one plays well and low scores to places where one plays poorly. That’s not what we’re looking for. We’re not running a popularity contest. 

3. False again. In fact, it’s an old cliché, used mostly by golf course critics to sound profound. It’s now almost meaningless, mainly because no two golf bags contain the same 14 clubs anymore. If you’ve got four wedges in your bag, it says little about a course’s Shot Options and a lot about your game. 

4. True. None of that applies to our definition of Conditioning, which is solely about firm and fast turfgrass. What you describe is grooming, which you may properly address in the Aesthetics category, because grooming is cosmetics, and Aesthetics is one of two categories where you do get to express emotion. If lush perfection of uniform turf excites you, you express that in Aesthetics, or in Character, if you think that’s a traditional value of golf worth upholding. 

5. False. That’s precisely not the definition of Distinctiveness. What this describes is a test of your memory. You deserve the 9.5, not the course. Distinctiveness asks how individual are the holes while retaining a collective continuity from first hole to last, plus how fun the course is. 

6. The biggest false of the lot. We’re on the lookout for more female panellists to provide scores and comments that better reflect the make-up of Australia’s golf membership population. 

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