Open Letter to Kevin Durant

4/30/2011 1 comments
Dear Mr. Durant,

I just wanted to post this open letter to commend you for your incredible performance in Game 5 against the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday. Not just because it was one of the best crunch time playoff performances I've seen this side of Lebron's 25-in-a-row against the Pistons. And not just because you seem like a decent dude, an athlete whose picture I can put up in my son's room without regret -- something exceedingly rare these days (I have a pretty poor track record in picking athletes to root for: Michael Jordan, Barry Bonds, Tiger Woods. If you turn out to be a jerk, then I may just stop watching sports altogether.)

No, I need to thank you for a reason completely unrelated to hoops. If you hadn't put your teammates on your back down the stretch Game 5, I wouldn't have played 36 holes at Ballyneal yesterday.

You see, my good friend and die-hard Nuggets fan Wyatt Halliday (cool name, huh?) convinced me to fly out to Denver for one of the home games in the first-round series between the two hottest teams in the Western Conference. It promised to be an epic series; like many others we were convinced it had to go seven games. When the series schedule was released, Game 6 was really the only option that worked in my schedule. Wyatt graciously booked me a flight and we prayed that the series would make it that far. The plan was to fly-in early Friday morning, golf down in Colorado Springs with our buddy Matt (a.k.a. "The Package"), hit the game, play another round in the Denver area and fly back to Chicago Saturday afternoon. A perfect, 30-hour golf/hoops binge.

After your Thunder went up 3-0, I was put in the awkward position of openly rooting against my second favorite team in the league. Thankfully, Russell Westbrook decided it was a good idea to hoist up 30 shots, including 0-7 from 3's, essentially gift-wrapping Game 4 to the Nuggs. What's up with that guy? He does realize that he is the point guard, right? And part of his job description is to get you the ball, right? Am I crazy for thinking that there are potential alpha-dog issues on your team -- ones that could be your downfall this year and might just, maybe-could lead to a Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson for Russ and Kendrick Perkins trade this offseason? Or is that just me trying to come up with a better alternative than Howard in Lakers purple-and-gold after he inevitably demands a trade this summer?

Speaking of Game 5...did you notice that British Open champion and former world number one player in the world David Duval was at the game and sitting in the front row in the baseline? I wouldn't blame you if you didn't recognize him, considering he looks more like an accountant or math teacher than a professional athlete, plus he was clapping traditionally instead of doing that odd, two-handed winding fist pump thing he pulled out at the 1999 Ryder Cup.

On cue, the future former-Thunder point guard was doing everything in his power to make sure I'd get to see you play in Game 6. Then the world saw the lightbulb go off in your head, when you realized a) "hey, I'm the best player on the court" and b) "this is my (insert expletive) team". In one four-minute flurry, our brilliant golf/hoops plan was up in smoke.

Well, you don't crawl your way up to five rungs below lower-level banking senior management without knowing a thing or two about contingency planning. Our Plan B was to just to head straight to Holyoke. Well, not exactly "straight" driver Wyatt missed the first exit and later missed the country dirt road you need to turn onto to get to Ballyneal. Bear in mind, he lives in Denver and has made this same drive four times before. Matt started calling him "OnStar" from the backseat.

KD, I'm not sure if you've ever touched a golf club. With your 6'11" frame and 7'5" wing-span, I'd love to see you try. If you have the bug, then you'll get the following four paragraphs. If not, then just skip to the end.

Ballyneal was still the six days from officially opening for the 2011 season. Hence, we were literally the only three people on the golf course. I can't understate just how cool it is to play on a world-class golf course and have the place to yourself. The euphoria is probably something similar to what you experienced carrying the U.S. team to the World Basketball gold medal last summer.

The course was really green from a lot of rain that week, but also still played firm and fast. The fescue turf is amazing. The greens were much slower than normal, but they are still getting them ready for opening day. When we pulled up, it was 70 degrees and blue skies. After experiencing one of the worst April's in Chicago-history, it was great to see to reunite with the sun again.

There was virtually no wind when we teed-off at 11:30. By the time we reached the tee box for the par 5 4th hole, it was really blowing. And it got progressively stronger and stronger throughout the day. The entire second round was played in a four-to-five club wind. With gusts up to 45 miles per hour, it was the windiest I had ever experienced. Given our early-season sea legs, the second round was a death march. Matt said he felt like he had just gone 12 rounds of a title fight. For the first time, I openly wondered if I could really walk 108 holes in one day. "So, I gotta do this times three?" I asked the others, moments before my orange hat flew off my head mid-swing.

Even with the wind, it was a great day of golf. I was quickly reminded why I love the game when trying to manufacturer shots to combat the brutally tough conditions. One example was on the 17th hole, which is probably the toughest par-4 on the course for me under normal conditions and a true par 5 1/2 when it's into the wind. After a mediocre drive and a full 5-iron, I was still approximately 80-yards from the front of the green. Just eyeballing the shot to the back-right pin position, one that would've been a stock lob wedge for me most days, my first thought was 8-iron. Then I quickly realized that 8-iron wouldn't have been enough. So I pulled out 7-iron and hit the purest mid-iron of my life. Man, I smoked that thing. The ball started about 20 yards left of the green, drew-in and rode the wind and landed 25-feet left of the pin. Never had I been so proud of making bogey.

KD, enjoy the pictures of Ballyneal below (it's a pretty sweet place). After you lead the Thunder to a title in a 7-game series against the (ugh) Heat, I'd be happy to host you, your brother, and that strange neighbor kid that Nike paid to stalk you out there. It's the least I can do after the gift you gave me this week.


Jim Colton

5th Hole

14th Hole

15th Green

On the 16th tee

2nd shot to par-5 16th hole

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Announcing my 108-hole Golf Marathon for Ben Cox

4/14/2011 0 comments

To my friends and loyal blog readers,

Anybody who has ever been out to Ballyneal knows the caddies are a big part of the experience.  Most are high school and college kids from the area. And "area" is defined loosely, because some come from up to two hours away just to earn a $75-$100 dollar loop and a chance to be an Evans Scholar. Over the years, seven Ballyneal caddies have earned scholarships at Colorado University through the Colorado Golf Association Eisenhower-Evans Scholarship Fund.

Since my first trip to Holyoke in 2008, I've had caddies that run the whole gamut - from caddies on their first loops to ones that who know every inch of the wild Ballyneal greens.  Either way, every experience I've had there with the caddies has been a positive one. They are simply great kids - warm, down-to-earth, helpful and hard working - consistent with just about everybody else I've ever met in that region of the country.

Getting to know the caddies and building relationships with them over the years is one of the best parts of Ballyneal.  Of course, it didn't take long for them to realize that I'm a golf-crazed maniac, and I get needled for it constantly. The caddies are constantly egging me on to play more keep chugging for 72 holes after just finishing my 54th, for example.  Last year, two caddies, Nick Flaa and Gary Nelson, threw down the gauntlet and played 100 holes in a day. Their primary motivation was just to get under my skin. My gut reaction was to immediately go out and bring the record back to its rightful owner, but scheduling, conditioning and footwear issues forced me to postpone it until 2011. Now armed with three new pairs of True Linkswear shoes and about 25 less pounds of spare tire, I'm ready to take on the challenge and raise the bar even further. Six-full rounds -- 108 holes, is my number.

During the offseason, I started to make plans to use the marathon to raise money for the local Holyoke High School golf team and the CGA scholarship fund. To give back to the kids who had meant so much to me. But unfortunately, a much more pressing need became apparent recently. One of the caddies, Ben Cox, was seriously injured in a skiing accident in March (details here). He suffered a broken femur and broken neck and is currently paralyzed from the chest down. But Ben is in great spirits all things considered and is ready to take on the long recovery process head-on. When I heard the news, I knew I had to switch the focus of the marathon. On Monday June 20th, I will be walking (at least) 108 holes of golf to raise money for Ben and his family as they begin to face this long recovery process.

If you've been out to Ballyneal and have enjoyed your time there, or have gotten any entertainment value out of this blog over the past five years, or you simply want to help, anything you can contribute on a lump-sum or per hole basis is greatly appreciated. You can e-mail me directly at and I will provide more details on how to contribute.

Also, if you want to take an active role in this fundraiser, I'm willing to host anybody who can raise $500 or more on their own to join me at Ballyneal on June 20th for what I'm calling the "half-marathon" -- 54 holes in one day. My only request is if you see a single lefty in an orange hat coming up on your group, please let him play through.



[April 14 Update: I just spoke to Ballyneal and they are generously going to pitch-in TWO FREE FOURSOMES for a day of golf in the future.  Anybody who contributes $1/hole or $100 gets an entry into the drawings.  The first foursome winner will come via a straight random drawing.  The second foursome winner will come via a pool where you guess the total number of strokes played over par over the 108 holes (you could guess under par, but you would lose). If for some reason I fall short of 108 (which unless I get struck by lightning or have a heart attack, will not happen), it will revert to straight random drawing like the other one.  Since there can only be one guess per stroke, it will be first come first served on locking in your number.

Everything will be putted out and I will be mixing up the teeing spots. The only liberty I'll be taking with the rules is for a lost ball - stroke versus stroke and distance.]

[April 14 Update #2: Dismal River has also generously donated a foursome of golf that will added as a third random drawing.]

[April 15 Update: The Kingsley Club has generously donated a foursome of golf that will be added as another raffle item.]

[April 18 Update: The Event has a Facebook Page. Even if you can't make it to Colorado in person, please click 'Attend' to offer moral support and help spread the word.]

[April 18 Update: Our friends at TRUE Linkswear have generously offered one pair of TRUE Tours and one pair of their new TRUE Stealths to raffle off to those who have made a donation.]

[April 23 Update: Hudson National Golf Club in New York has donated a threesome of golf and lunch with a member. The winners are expected to pick up the caddie fees.]

[April 30 Update:  I got the chance to visit Ben at his rehab hospital today. Getting to know Ben and his family was the highlight of a tremendous two-day trip to Denver. I continue to be inspired by their committed faith and positive attitude in the face of this devastating injury.

  Ben shared that his short-term goal is to play golf out at Ballyneal this summer, with the use of a special golf cart. If he's out of the rehab hospital in time, he's going to try to be at the marathon. If not, he's hoping to hit the first shot at an event the club is planning for him later in the summer.

  Longer term, he's planning on finishing his studies as a civil engineering studies at Texas Tech. He was on spring break when the accident occurred, and was bummed because he was doing really well this semester. Now he'll eventually have to re-take the same classes when he eventually goes back, I think in fall 2012.

  After meeting Ben and his family, I'm even more driven to make this event everything that it can be. Thanks to all that have supported and have spread the word.]

[May 6th Update: An article about Ben and the marathon event was just posted on the Colorado Golf Association's website. Check it out: "Going the Distance for a Good Cause: Ballyneal member gears up for 108-hole marathon to benefit partially-paralyzed former caddie"]

Ballyneal featured in The Met Golfer

The April/May issue of The Met Golfer features a great piece by my good friend Tom Dunne (see Tom's Out-and-Back site here) on Ballyneal and Commonground, the two Tom Doak courses in Colorado. Click on the picture below to go to the digital version of the article. If you can find the photo credit for the sweet two-page title spread, I think it's a name that you might recognize!

Ballyneal to Add a Second 18-hole Course


Holyoke, CO – Ownership at Ballyneal Golf & Hunt Club is proud to announce the decision to add a second, 18-hole course at the private club in the sand hills of northeastern Colorado. Bruce Hepner, lead design associate of Tom Doak’s Renaissance Golf Design for the original Ballyneal course, has been chosen to design the new course. Construction will begin this year.

“Ballyneal is a world-class golf course, and we expect the new course will put Ballyneal in the category of Royal Melbourne and Winged Foot with respect to the best 36-hole private clubs in the world,” says Ballyneal founder Rupert O’Neal. “Naturally, the second course will enhance Ballyneal’s appeal as a golfing destination.”

Heralded for its all-fescue playing surface and a firm-and-fast style that rewards creative play, the original course at Ballyneal will remain walking-only and will be uncompromised by the addition of the new course.

The land for the new course sits to the southeast and south of the existing 18. While the site for Ballyneal's original course reminds golfers of the Irish west coast links, the new course's land will be more reminiscent of the East Lothian linksland in Scotland

“The site for the new 18 is a quieter piece of ground, so nothing needs to be forced,” Hepner says. “My goal will be to peel away the layers and let the best golf course evolve and reveal itself. We will be seeking a similar playing surface to the existing course at Ballyneal while accommodating limited cart play on the new 18.”

Hepner, vice president and senior design associate at Doak’s Renaissance Golf from 1994, formed Hepner Golf Design in June 2010 while continuing to do contract work for Doak. Highlights of Hepner’s career include lead design associate on Ballyneal and Cape Kidnappers (New Zealand) and design associate on Pacific Dunes and Old Macdonald in Oregon.

“In the building of Ballyneal, no one spent more time here than Bruce Hepner,” O’Neal says. “He knows our land. He’s worked long hours side-by-side with our crew. He enjoys our members. He gets the Ballyneal vibe, loves that we don’t have tee markers. He will deliver what our members want – an equally exceptional, equally fun complement to what we already enjoy. Bruce has great affection for this place and I know he will pour his heart and soul into the project.”

Ballyneal is located in the sand hills of northeastern Colorado, 2.5 hours from Denver. The Ballyneal land is referred to by locals as the “chop hills,” due to the unique characteristics of its dunes. Ballyneal was Travel + Leisure Golf’s Best New Course of 2006 and currently is ranked #6 Best Modern by Golfweek, #48 in the United States by Golf Magazine, and one of Golf Digest’s America’s 100 Greatest Courses. The intimate setting at Ballyneal includes the golf shop, a fine-dining restaurant and three lodges with private suites. To learn more visit or call 970-854-5900.

Breaking down the Golf Digest Rankings

4/07/2011 1 comments

Many of you probably received your May 2011 issue of Golf Digest in the mail last week. If you made it past Rickie Fowler's bright orange pants, you probably noticed that this issue included Golf Digest's latest ranking of America's 100 Greatest Courses. You can find the rankings online here. Augusta National maintains its edge over Pine Valley for the top spot, although Pine Valley sits only .38 behind. The Alotian Club, a Tom Fazio-designed Augusta clone in Arkansas, debuted at 14th, making it Golf Digest's course of the decade for the 2000's (just edging out Pacific Dunes).

Golf Digest uses a strict formula of seven categories to differentiate between good and great. Panelists rate Shot Values, Resistance to Scoring, Design Variety, Memorability, Aesthetics, Conditioning on Ambience on a scale from 1 to 10, with Shot Values counting double in the final tally.

The category-by-category scores for the top 100 courses are usually included in print, but this time they just put them up online (here).

For the most part, the category scores are very highly correlated with each other and the course's overall score - for instance, Memorability is 93% correlated with Design Variety, 86% correlated with Aesthetics and 88% correlated with shot values. Instead of just rehashing best and worst in each category, let's look at a course's relative strengths and weaknesses as measured by a given category's contribution to its overall score. Since each score contributes 1/8th to its total score, the baseline contribution is 12.5% for each category score.

The numbers below are interesting in they help explain why a course is on the list, or perhaps why it isn't ranked higher. This may also show what a course "is all about" or "not all about" (assuming you can decipher the category definitions), relatively speaking. If a particular group of courses in a category strike you as being overrated, that probably means you think the category is less important in defining greatness, and vice versa. And perhaps courses included in a highest or lowest category along with a personal favorite are likely to be courses you'd also enjoy.

[Note: these numbers were first published on GolfClubAtlas and are shown here courtesy of Jim Colton, the original author.]

How well does the course pose risks and rewards and equally test length, accuracy and finesse?

1Hazeltine National12.76%Sage Valley11.93%
2Inverness12.71%Diamond Creek Golf Club12.00%
3Harbour Town12.71%The Quarry at La Quinta12.01%
4Pinehurst (No. 2)12.70%The Alotian Club12.07%
5Southern Hills12.67%The Club at Black Rock12.07%
6Bethpage Black12.67%Canyata12.09%
7Prairie Dunes12.64%Mayacama12.11%
8The Prince Course12.63%Maidstone Club12.13%
9Aronimink12.62%Double Eagle12.14%
10Ballyneal12.59%Cypress Point12.14%

How difficult, while still being fair, is the course for a scratch player from the back tees?

1Bethpage Black13.44%Cypress Point11.13%
2Hazeltine National13.38%Shoreacres11.35%
3Butler National13.17%Maidstone Club11.45%
4Spyglass Hill13.14%Fishers Island11.50%
5Ocean Forest13.13%National Golf Links of America11.57%
6The Ocean Course13.13%Somerset Hills11.68%
7Winged Food (West)13.08%Shadow Creek11.69%
8TPC Sawgrass (Players)13.04%Monterey Peninsula (Shore)11.73%
9Oakland Hills (South)12.99%Sage Valley11.73%
10Victoria National12.94%San Francisco11.75%

How varied are the golf course's holes in differing lengths, configurations, hazard placements, green shapes and green contours?

1Somerset Hills13.00%Aronimink11.87%
2Pete Dye Golf Club12.93%Baltusrol (Lower)12.00%
3Ballyneal12.86%Sahalee (South/North)12.01%
4Friar's Head12.85%Medinah No. 312.01%
5Crystal Downs12.85%Diamond Creek Golf Club12.02%
6National Golf Links of America12.81%East Lake12.03%
7Boston Golf Club12.78%Sage Valley12.07%
8Fishers Island12.75%The Alotian Club12.08%
9Cypress Point12.75%The Preserve12.12%
10Shoreacres12.72%Laurel Valley12.17%

How well do the design features (tees, fairways, greens, hazards, vegetation and terrain) provide individuality to each hole, yet a collective continuity to the entire 18?

1Pebble Beach13.39%Aronimink11.97%
2Cypress Point13.39%Double Eagle12.01%
3Fishers Island13.35%Olympia Fields (North)12.11%
4Maidstone Club13.23%Butler National12.11%
5Augusta National13.09%Hazeltine National12.12%
6Arcadia Bluffs13.03%Congressional12.13%
7National Golf Links of America13.02%Eagle Point12.14%
8TPC Sawgrass (Players)13.00%Sahalee (South/North)12.21%
9The Prince Course12.98%Diamond Creek Golf Club12.21%
10Shadow Creek12.88%Baltusrol (Lower)12.22%

How well do the scenic values of the course (including landscaping, vegetation, water features and backdrops) add to the pleasure of a round?

1Maidstone Club13.54%Oakmont C.C.11.82%
2Cypress Point13.49%Hazeltine National11.83%
3Fishers Island13.49%Butler National11.89%
4Monterey Peninsula (Shore)13.45%Bethpage Black11.90%
5Pebble Beach13.45%Crooked Stick11.90%
6Arcadia Bluffs13.30%Pinehurst (No. 2)11.95%
7The Club at Black Rock13.26%Winged Food (West)11.97%
8Bandon Dunes13.24%Baltusrol (Lower)12.00%
9Pacific Dunes13.23%Plainfield12.03%
10Kapalua (Plantation)13.22%Inverness12.04%

How firm, fast and rolling were the fairways, and how firm yet receptive were the greens on the day you played the course?

1The Quarry at La Quinta13.84%The Prince Course10.94%
2Double Eagle13.82%Fishers Island11.28%
3Diamond Creek Golf Club13.49%Pebble Beach11.31%
4Sage Valley13.34%Ballyneal11.51%
5Canyata13.25%Whistling Straits (Straits)11.57%
6The Preserve13.10%Maidstone Club11.61%
7Eagle Point13.10%Pacific Dunes11.62%
8Forest Dunes13.06%Harbour Town11.64%
9Mayacama13.04%Bandon Dunes11.70%
10Flint Hills13.00%Pinehurst (No. 2)11.71%

How well does the overall feel and atmosphere of the course reflect or uphold the traditional values of the game?

1The Country Club13.53%Arcadia Bluffs12.15%
2Garden City13.52%Bethpage Black12.03%
3Maidstone Club13.41%Forest Dunes12.19%
4San Francisco13.41%Forest Highlands12.28%
5Winged Food (East)13.32%Friar's Head12.24%
6Sage Valley13.29%Galloway National12.02%
7Chicago Golf13.28%Pete Dye Golf Club12.01%
8Seminole13.25%The Prince Course12.11%
9Merion (East)13.25%TPC Sawgrass (Players)12.15%
10Cypress Point13.23%Victoria National12.20%

To add a twist, now let's compare the difference in relative strength between one category and another. I think is even more telling in identifying what kind of courses you tend to favor. Looking at the courses listed, I tend to be a Shot Values and Design Variety guy versus Conditioning and Resistance to Scoring. Ask yourself if you had to pick between only playing the 10 courses on one side of the list versus another, which one would you choose?

Memorability vs. Aesthetics (Correlation: 85.9%)

I tend to get the definitions of Memorability and Aesthetics confused in my head, especially because the scores are highly correlated (have ocean, will travel). But looking at the difference in relative scores, you can see which courses are high in one but not the other. Viewed this way, it is clear that Memorability is in viewed in terms of having memorable, photogenic and/or famous holes, where Aesthetics is more geared towards the surroundings and/or backdrops.

My pick: Memorability

1.TPC Sawgrass (Players)0.93%--Diamond Creek Golf Club-0.83%
2.Bethpage Black0.86%--The Quarry at La Quinta-0.71%
3.Oakmont C.C.0.68%--The Preserve-0.71%
4.Prairie Dunes0.58%--Monterey Peninsula (Shore)-0.67%
5.Riviera Country Club0.52%--Mayacama-0.57%
6.Pinehurst (No. 2)0.49%--Mountaintop-0.57%
7.Merion (East)0.48%--Sahalee (South/North)-0.53%
8.Chicago Golf0.44%--The Alotian Club-0.52%
9.Pine Valley0.43%--Sebonack-0.47%
10.Crooked Stick0.43%--Wade Hampton-0.46%

Shot Values vs. Conditioning (Correlation: 37.8%)

Golf Digest changed the definition of Condition before the 2009 rankings to incent less watering and firm and fast conditions. Looking at the individual category rank above, it begs the question whether it's really having an impact. Most of the courses known for having the epitome of links golf in the U.S. (the courses at Bandon, Fishers Island, etc) are among the bottom 10 in relative strength in that category. Fazio owns the right side of the table below.

My pick: Shot Values

1.The Prince Course1.69%--The Quarry at La Quinta-1.83%
2Ballyneal1.08%--Double Eagle-1.68%
3.Harbour Town1.07%--Diamond Creek Golf Club-1.49%
4.Pinehurst (No. 2)0.99%--Sage Valley-1.42%
5.Pebble Beach0.96%--Canyata-1.17%
6.Fishers Island0.96%--The Preserve-0.94%
7.Whistling Straits (Straits)0.82%--Mayacama-0.93%
8.TPC Sawgrass (Players)0.76%--Eagle Point-0.80%
9.Pine Valley0.74%--The Alotian Club-0.71%
10.Pacific Dunes0.70%--The Estancia Club-0.71%

Shot Values vs. Resistance to Scoring (Correlation: 82.3%)

No big surprises on this list. A lot of shorter, classic courses on the Shot Values side. Mostly well-known brutes on the Resistance to Scoring side.

My pick: Shot Values

1.Shoreacres1.03%--Ocean Forest-0.79%
2.Cypress Point1.01%--Bethpage Black-0.77%
3.Fishers Island0.74%--The Ocean Course-0.74%
4.National Golf Links of America0.69%--Spyglass Hill-0.69%
5.Maidstone Club0.69%--Butler National-0.66%
6.Somerset Hills0.64%--Hazeltine National-0.62%
7.Shadow Creek0.61%--Oakland Hills (South)-0.54%
8.Monterey Peninsula (Shore)0.54%--Winged Foot (West)-0.51%
9.Garden City0.50%--Rich Harvest Links-0.47%
10.Ballyneal0.47%--Baltusrol (Lower)-0.45%

Memorability vs. Ambience (Correlation: 77.8%)

Ambience tends to reward classic courses that are more likely to support the traditional values of the game, probably because they played a large role in setting those traditions. Golf Digest doesn't predefine what these traditional values are, but I would assume things like caddie programs, walking only, etc.

My pick: Ambience

1.Arcadia Bluffs0.88%--Aronimink-1.20%
2.The Prince Course0.87%--Winged Foot (East)-0.95%
3.TPC Sawgrass (Players)0.85%--Peachtree-0.95%
4.Pete Dye Golf Club0.82%--Baltusrol (Lower)-0.92%
5.Bethpage Black0.74%--The Country Club-0.88%
6.Pebble Beach0.66%--Garden City-0.85%
7.Galloway National0.62%--Double Eagle-0.84%
8.Kapalua (Plantation)0.57%--Winged Foot (West)-0.84%
9.Victoria National0.50%--East Lake-0.79%
10.The Club at Black Rock0.49%--Cherry Hills-0.78%

Resistance to Scoring vs. Design Variety (Correlation: 56.2%)

This one looks very similar to the Difficulty vs. Shot Values comparison above, with many shorter, classic courses making the right side and many major championship tests included on the left. Other than Shadow Creek, I could play out on my string on the right side and die a happy man. A true murderer's row.

My pick: Design Variety

1.Hazeltine National1.04%--Cypress Point-1.62%
3.Butler National0.98%--Somerset Hills-1.33%
4.Ocean Forest0.95%--Fishers Island-1.25%
5.Bethpage Black0.89%--National Golf Links of America-1.23%
6.The Ocean Course0.89%--Maidstone Club-1.05%
7.Baltusrol (Lower)0.86%--Shadow Creek-1.01%
8.Medinah No. 30.85%--Monterey Peninsula (Shore)-0.84%
9.Winged Foot (West)0.81%--San Francisco-0.83%
10.Spyglass Hill0.72%--Ballyneal-0.74%

Shot Values vs. Design Variety (Correlation: 87.8%)

It looks like Shot Values and Design Variety are definitely my personal favorites, so what happens when you stack them up against each other? Initially, I would've considered my self a Shot Values guy, but I have to side with any list that includes Cypress Point, Crystal Downs, NGLA and Friar's Head.

My pick: Design Variety

.Aronimink0.75%--Somerset Hills-0.69%
.Medinah No. 30.55%--Cypress Point-0.61%
.Inverness0.53%--The Club at Black Rock-0.55%
.Sahalee (South/North)0.45%--Crystal Downs-0.54%
.Hazeltine National0.42%--National Golf Links of America-0.54%
.Baltusrol (Lower)0.41%--Fishers Island-0.51%
.Southern Hills0.38%--Boston Golf Club-0.47%
.Butler National0.32%--Friar's Head-0.44%
.East Lake0.31%--Shadow Creek-0.41%
.Winged Foot (West)0.30%--Pete Dye Golf Club-0.38%
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