The Top 40 Public Golf Courses: Methodology

The rules of golf: how we ranked the courses.

The 2013 New Jersey Monthly golf course rankings are based on a vote by a panel of 21 local golf experts. Each panelist was asked to rank his or her 20 top public courses in New Jersey. These could include publicly owned courses or privately owned daily-fee courses. Private-membership country clubs were excluded. The panelists also were asked to rank their three top courses in 14 categories, such as Most Challenging and Best Par-5 Hole. All votes were cast on a secure web page. Panelists were asked to vote only for courses they had played within the last five years.

New Jersey Monthly tallied the votes as follows: To arrive at the list of the 40 best courses, each first-place vote was given a value of 40 points. All other votes in the category were given inverse weighting: a second-place vote was worth 19 points; third place, 18 points; down to 20th place, 1 point. The final list of 40 best courses is based on the total points earned by each course. (The top-rated course, Ballyowen, earned a total of 319 points.) Ties were broken based on the highest ranking a course received on the individual ballots. The list of top-10 county courses and the top courses by region were drawn directly from the overall top-40 ranking.

A similar inverse point system was used to rank courses in the 14 individual categories. However, in these categories, we allowed the ties to stand. Also, in the category of Best Conditioned, we created separate lists for publicly owned and privately owned courses—recognizing that the latter often have the benefit of larger maintenance budgets. The lists of best-value courses are based on the panel votes and additional research by the editorial team.

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