Rudo completes the World Top 100 “Ever” list

22 August 2016 Respond to this article

Rudo completes the World Top 100 “Ever” list

The car park at Burnham & Berrow Golf Club was nearly empty. It was 07.30 am on a sunny late spring Monday morning. I pulled up alongside a car where the occupant was intently studying his smartphone. I knocked on the driver’s window. “Rudo?” “Keith?”

After years of email exchanges and multiple phone calls I finally met the man who was attempting the impossible. Paul Rudovsky was in Somerset, England, on the final leg of a most audacious undertaking – to play the “World Top 100 Ever” list.

Rudo's on the final leg of an epic adventure

Now, let me fill in a few details. World ranking lists have been around for some time – long before the Top 100 website was conceived and long before the Internet was born.

Golf Magazine produced the first World ranking list (a Top 50) in 1979, but according to the late Tom MacWood the inaugural list was allegedly produced forty years earlier in 1939. Around ten years ago, MacWood created the “Tom MacWood Spoof” list, as Paul calls it – it was most definitely another list that had to be conquered. I’m very pleased Rudo decided to tackle MacWood's list because Burnham and Berrow remains unranked by any other World Top 100 publication – and so the planets had aligned for our Somerset meeting.

Many of you will be familiar with Paul’s blog – Rudo’s Golf Travels – where he chronicles his golfing exploits: “This looked to be a tough trip. From May 17-27, a span of 11 days, my itinerary called for 16.5 rounds on 16.5 courses (one of which was a nine holer and proved to be the best of the lot), plus 6 flights within and between Great Britain and Ireland, France and Sweden (actually Copenhagen, Denmark), and some 1000-1200 miles of driving.”

Needless to say, our time spent together at Burnham & Berrow was short – Paul had to run to catch a flight to Dublin straight after our Somerset round. “Me thinks B&B is a superb course, but I have a sense that St. Enodoc is the best of the courses in Southwest England.” It’s hard to argue with a man who has played the lot.

During the short drive back home to Devon, I reflected on Paul’s impending achievement. Chasing lists is not everyone’s cup of tea, “six straight nights in six different hotels” is hard work and Paul is not a spring chicken. Most lists are bound to include courses that do not float the boat. “No more wandering around the countryside to play courses, just because they are on a list.” But the reality is, if they are on the list, they simply have to be ticked off and confined to the “rear view mirror”.

“Prior to leaving for England on May 16, I had planned and booked trips to Barbados and Canada to cover three of them, and a few days after my return I was able to book a trip to Nova Scotia and a round at Brae Burn (in the Boston area). By mid June I had booked Skokie in Chicago for June 28…so everything looked to be in place.”

Left to right, Ben, Pat and Rudo

Paul finished playing the World Top 100 Ever list in Nova Scotia. [Cabot] “Cliffs is a very very interesting golf course. Designed by Coore and Crenshaw, it is only 6764 (par 72) yards long from the tips…but as it is very exposed to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the wind makes it play longer. It consists of 6 par 3’s, 6 par 4’s and 6 par 5’s…a highly unusual mix of holes.”

“The round was so much fun. Playing my last of 295 courses with Pat [Paul’s long-suffering wife] was so extraordinary. She has been so so great through all this (not that she didn’t speak her mind a few times). And playing Cliffs with Ben…the creator of this place. As the saying goes: ‘it can’t get any better’.”

“After the round concluded Ben presented me with a Cabot Cliffs hole flag signed with a special note. To be framed with some photos commemorating this special day.”

Playing the World Top 100 Ever list involved conquering 317 courses (including the MacWood Spoof list) in 37 different countries. An eye-watering number of air miles later, only one person in the entire world can say “I’ve done it” and now “the New Golf Life Begins… Return to Great Ones”

Congratulations Rudo – you’re one of a kind.

Keith Baxter
Editor-in-Chief
Top 100 Golf Courses

Comments in italics are extracts from Rudo’s Golf Travels blog.