GCMA members manage 62% of the UK & Ireland’s best golf courses

Now in its sixth edition, and released every two years after an exhaustive judging period, Golf Monthly magazine’s list of its Top 100 golf courses is much anticipated by golfers and club managers alike, and we are delighted that 62 of the 100 courses are managed by members of the Golf Club Managers’ Association. 

8 of the top 10 courses in the rankings that is billed by GM as the only list of its type to be “compiled by golfers, for golfers” have members in post, including Royal County Down, St. Andrews Old Course and Royal Birkdale. Out of only four new entries, three – Trump International Links, Parkstone (pictured) and Close House – can also boast a GCMA member at the helm.

Whittling down around 3000 golf courses to just 100 is quite a task, but one that the magazine’s assessment panel has mastered thanks to a set of criteria that has evolved over the years with the list now being compiled using a precise range of assessment methods that judge a course on much more than just design. In fact design accounts for just one third of the score, reflecting the desires of golfers, who value an exceptional all round experience when they visit a golf club, meaning the role of the golf club manager is more important than ever.

The development and modernisation of the assessment criteria is highlighted by the inclusion of a club’s website as a “facility” alongside practice facilities, changing rooms and catering.

Responsible for 10% of the marks available, it demonstrates the potential for a golf course to punch above its weight with a professional manager, who is abreast of industry developments, in charge.


Courses are assessed on:

  • Quality of Test and Design
  • Condition and Presentation
  • Visual Appeal
  • Facilities
  • Experience


GCMA CEO Bob Williams said:

It is no coincidence that nearly two thirds of the UK and Ireland’s top 100 golf courses are managed by a member of our association. Our education programme, information library and networking opportunities help prepare golf club managers or secretaries to professionally manage their golf clubs, and enable both the manager and the club to fulfil their potential.

With course design responsible for just 35 marks out of a possible 100, golf club managers are responsible for the majority of factors that can make or break a course’s ranking. Indeed, managers who oversee course redesigns have the opportunity to improve their course’s score even further.

During the Autumn round of meetings held locally by each of the 16 GCMA regions, many of the clubs on this list were represented by a manager or secretary looking to continue to learn about the industry. GCMA membership offers the chance to network with a variety of different clubs, which is something we know that managers at every level really value.”

Gary Peddie, Parkstone GC’s General Manager, told us:

I have been a GCMA member for eleven years and in that time have attended many networking events at which I have always sought to glean snippets of information from Secretary/Managers of some of the country’s leading Golf Clubs. From golf course design to F&B to VAT, there are always opinions, knowledge and methodology to be shared. The GCMA has been the perfect vehicle for me in driving Parkstone into the Top 100 in UK & Ireland.

Find out more about becoming a GCMA member here, or explore Golf Monthly’s Top 100 Courses.


By Mike Hyde

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