Links Golf Courses
Links Golf has often been referred to as a true test of golf. The term ‘links’ isn’t actually term specific to golf courses. It is simply a strip of generally undulating, but always sandy, terrain linking the sea and the arable farmland around the edges of the UK. As it often went unused, this was the ideal ground for sporting pioneers on the east coast of Scotland back in the 15th and 16th centuries, as they created the game of golf. Unlike the parkland golf courses, links tracks are very natural. The grasses on a links course are easily maintained and thanks to their sandy base they drain very well, this means that links courses are very rarely, if ever, unplayable due to rain. Links courses can be found all across world, however Scotland can proudly lay claim to possessing more links courses than any other country, with 100 in total.
Links golf courses look very different to your ‘typical’ golf course. Links look very pure, and golfers play to the contours of the land. Fairways and greens tend to burn in the summer months and have more of a brown tone to them, as a result of this the course tends to play very firm and fast. Links courses tend to feature a lot of bunkers. These bunkers tend to be a lot deeper than parkland courses, with many links courses boasting ‘pot’ bunkers which can be 10+ feet deep. A true links course will consist of an outward nine in one direction along the coastline, followed by an inward nine which comes back in the opposite direction.
Like every golf course, links golf can prove very challenging. One of the biggest struggles when playing links golf can often be the windy conditions. Being on the coast, the wind speeds are typically much higher than when playing on an inland course… consequently golfers are forced to adjust their game. It is often said that the game is played “closer to the ground” and since the terrain on a links course is usually very firm, players will use more bump-and-run type shots. Typically, a links golfer will have a much lower ball flight, this helps to lessen the effects that the usually violent coastal winds have on your shots. Links greens are particularly hard and fast, trying to get the golf ball to stop on the putting surface can be very tough… especially when taking the wind into consideration.
Referred to as the home of golf, St Andrews Links can be found on the east coast of Scotland. Hosting seven different golf courses, St Andrews is a golfer’s heaven. The most famous of the seven is of course, the Old Course. The oldest and most iconic course in the world, the famous Swilcan Bridge and Hell Bunker are recognised by golf fans globally. Around 45,000 rounds of golf are played on the Old Course each year, with everyone desperate to follow in the steps of many greats over the years. The Old Course is a British Open venue and has seen many iconic moments during the last 150 years of hosting the event, with past winners here including Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros and Tiger Woods.