The Gurus Course Ranking Scale (Grades)
In addition to a detailed review the Gurus assign a grade to each course they play. The Gurus Course Ranking Scale offers a brief desciption of what each grade means when a course earns it. The majority of golf courses featured on the website represent some of the best golf courses in the world so it can be splitting hairs when ranking one course above another or assigning a particular grade to it.
Grades found in The Gurus Course Ranking Scale
A+ = An elite golf course in the world with a brilliant combination of architectural merits, appealing scenery, and would be very difficult to reproduce on a different site. A course with enough variety, quality conditioning, and fun that you should make every effort possible to play it at least once in your lifetime. Only the top ½ of 1% courses in the world can lay claim to this status.
A = Among the absolute finest golfing experiences you'll ever have. You can bank on excellent conditioning, engaging hole designs, and a quality test of golf. Slight marks keep these courses from A+ stature and can often be contributed to slightly inferior property, a couple forgettable holes, or design features too often repeated at other courses the architect has built.
A- = Plan on having plenty of fun at an A- course. These courses generally score high marks in most categories but may come up wanting in a couple of others. These can often be the best course in their state/region in less populated areas. While not elite as A+ courses, these tracks are still often among the top 1% of courses in the world.
B+ = Courses in this category are really good and are worthy of building a buddies golf trip around and include some of the best public access courses around. While you'll be happy teeing it up here, these tracks miss the "it" factor they'd need to be considered truly special. A-, B+, and occasionally B courses can also include clubs you are accustomed to seeing on national magazine top 100 lists but are simply overrated and coasting on their historical stature.
B = It's tough to be disappointed at a B course unless you went in with top 100 expectations. You can expect to have a good mix of hole designs and a memorable experience. The course can score high in a couple of categories (i.e. architecture, fun, setting/views, conditioning, challenge, vibe, etc.) while lacking in a couple of others, or just post solid, but not exceptional, scores across the board. You'll be glad you played a B course, it just won't be anything that changes your life.
B- = The transition from a B level course to a C level course is significant, and B- courses have just enough going well for them to keep them at a level to feel good about. B- courses are ones you'd be happy to play again if given the opportunity but you aren't going to adjust your schedule or drop a lot of coin to do so. Public courses with this rating can feel pretty good about themselves while private courses missed the mark enough to lack greatness in any kind of discussion about the best courses in a substantial region.
C+ = Only slightly better than a C rated course, C+ tracks generally offer a good setting, good architecture, or exceptional conditioning, but only one of the three. You'll find yourself clinging to the course's best strength while at the same time wishing it offered more. This level of course is a "throw in" round for a golf trip as a good warmup track or at the end when fatigue has set in and the adrenaline has run out.
C = A solid track but nothing you are going to tell your buddies much about. These courses are generally played out of convenience because it was the closest golf facility to where you are staying on a business or family trip. These courses lack the strategy, setting, and conditioning that A's and B's offer.
C- = A basic game of golf. The majority of municipal golf courses in America will fall into this category, particularly those from the mid 20th century. Newer course designs claiming C- status have significantly missed the mark on multiple facets. Common mishaps here include courses where residential development was clearly more important than architectural design, a less than desirable parcel of ground or location, excessive and unnatural design features, or clear neglect in conditioning.
D+, D, D-, and F = An unacceptable level of golf. The course lacks in virtually every category and is thus devoid of any decent level of architecture, setting, or conditioning. You likely will only find yourself playing a course of this level during a family reunion or outing where golf isn't the real reason you are there. Golfing here should be a last resort option done out of convenience without any significant travel.