Since 1965, Golf Digest has produced biennial rankings of "America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses". The courses are voted on by a panel of several hundred golf experts. The magazine also produces lists of the best new courses, the best golf resorts, the best courses in each U.S. state and best American golf courses for women. Before the "Greatest" rankings were introduced in 1985, Golf Digest produced lists called at different times America's 100 Most Testing Courses and America's 100 Greatest Tests of Golf.
The top ten on the 2020–21 list are as follows:
In 2010, Golf Digest produced its inaugural ranking of "America's Top 50 Courses for Women". In creating the ranking, the magazine used nominations and evaluations by its panel of over 100 female raters as well as the woman-friendly criteria established by the editors. Those criteria included: at least one tee less than 5,300 yards; at least two sets of tees with USGA slope and course ratings for women; run-up areas to most or all greens and minimal forced carries for those playing from the forward tees.
Alongside the "100 Greatest Courses" ranking, and using the same methodology, Golf Digest publishes a list of "America's 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses". In this context, "public" means a golf course that is open to play by the public, as opposed to a private club—not necessarily a course operated by a governmental entity.
The top ten on the 2019 list, published in May 2019, was as follows:
Of these courses, the only one that is operated by a governmental entity is Bethpage Black.
In addition to its national rankings, Golf Digest also ranks courses at a state level.
"100 Best Golf Courses Outside the United States"Edit
The magazine also compiles a list of the leading courses outside the United States. This is created using information from national golf associations, plus votes by the same panelists supplemented by some additional ones with international knowledge.
In 2007, the most represented countries were Scotland with 14 courses in the top 100, Canada with 10, England with 10, Canada with 9, and Australia and Republic of Ireland with 8. The top 10 were:
In April 2014, Golf Digest was widely criticized when, after neglecting to picture a female golfer on their cover for six years, they chose to picture model Paulina Gretzky in a revealing outfit as their May 2014 cover. The move was "particularly frustrating" to LPGA golfers.[excessive citations] LPGA Tour Commissioner Mike Whan issued a statement echoing the concerns expressed by LPGA players. In the October 2014 edition, U.S. Women's Open winner Michelle Wie appeared on the cover.
In May 2016, the magazine again featured a female celebrity in the cover, Paige Spiranac (who was, at the time, a professional golfer), which was criticized by veteran golfer Juli Inkster.