- Links (golf)
golfcourse, sometimes referred to as a "seaside links", is the oldest style of golf course, first developed in Scotland. The word comes from the Scots languageand refers to an area of coastal sand dunes, and sometimes to open parkland. It also retains this more general meaning in the Scottish English dialect. It can be treated as singular even though it has an "s" at the end, and occurs in place names that precede the development of golf, for example Lundin Links, Fife.
Many links – though not all – are located in coastal areas, on sandy soil, often amid dunes, with few water hazards and few if any trees. This reflects both the nature of the scenery where the sport happened to originate, and the fact that only limited resources were available to golf course architects at the time, and any earth moving had to be done by hand, so it was kept to a minimum.
Bruntsfield Linksin Edinburgh, Scotland, the course (a considerable distance from the coast) is still used for pitch and puttgolf, and boasts a sign erected by the City Council which asserts that golf may have been invented there.
The challenges of links golf fall into two categories. Firstly the nature of the courses themselves, which tend to be characterised by uneven fairways, thick rough and small deep bunkers known as "pot bunkers". Secondly, due to their coastal location many links courses are frequently windy. This affects the style of play required, favouring players who are able to play low accurate shots. As many links courses consist literally of an "outward" nine in one direction along the coast, and an "inward" nine which returns in the opposite direction, players often have to cope with opposite wind patterns in each half of their round.
Links courses remain most common in
Irelandand also in Great Britain, especially in Scotland. The Open Championshipis always played on links courses and this is one of the main things which differentiates it from the three major championships held in the United States. There are well known links courses in other countries, including in North America: Pebble Beach Golf Linksin California(on the Pacific Ocean) and Whistling Straitsin Wisconsin(on Lake Michigan) in the U.S.; and, in Canada, Harmon Seaside Links(in Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador).
Links courses tend to be on, or at least very near to, a coast, and the term is typically associated with coastal courses. However, links conditions can be duplicated on suitable ground, even hundreds of miles or kilometres inland. One especially notable example of an inland links-style course is
Sand Hills Golf Club, a much-acclaimed early-2000s layout in the Sand Hills of Nebraska.
Famous links golf courses
Ballyneal Golf & Hunt Club, Holyoke, Colorado, United States
Ballybunion Golf Club, Co. Kerry, Ireland
Bandon Dunes Golf Resort, Bandon, Oregon, United States
Carnoustie Golf Links
Chambers Bay, University Place, Washington, United States
Old Course at St Andrews
Onwentsia Golf Club, Lake Forest, Illinois, United States
Portstewart Golf Club, Northern Ireland
*Prince's Golf Club
Royal Aberdeen Golf Club, Scotland
Royal Birkdale Golf Club
Royal County Down Golf Club, Northern Ireland
Royal Dublin Golf Club, Ireland
Royal Liverpool Golf Club
Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club
Royal Portrush Golf Club, Northern Ireland
Royal St George's Golf Club
Royal Troon Golf Club
Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club
Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, Southampton, New York, United States
St Michaels Golf Club, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Hainan Boao Golf & Country Club, Hainan, Boao, PR China
Lannocks Links Course Gravely Nr Stevenage (9 Holes)National Golf Links of America, Southampton, NY
* [http://www.thelinksgolfsociety.com The Links Golf Society]
* [http://www.johnlambegolf.com Golfing in Ireland]
* [http://www.opengolfuk.com Golf Open information and Links]
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