Links, Golf Term


Golf is a sport that is rich in terminology, and one of the key terms you'll often hear is “links.” In golf, the term “links” refers to a specific type of golf course that is characterized by its location, layout, and unique features. Let's dive deeper into understanding what makes a golf course a links course.

  • Definition: A links golf course is typically built in coastal areas, mainly found in Scotland and Ireland, but they can be found in other parts of the world as well. These courses are built on sandy soil near the sea, providing a unique golfing experience.
  • Location: Links courses are typically found in natural coastal landforms, such as sand dunes or grassy plains. The proximity to the sea not only affects the course's appearance but also influences its playing conditions.
  • Layout: The layout of a links course often follows the natural contours of the land. Unlike parkland or inland courses, links courses tend to offer a more rugged and undulating terrain. Some famous links courses include the Old Course at St. Andrews and Royal County Down.
  • Features: Links courses are known for certain distinctive features that set them apart from other types of golf courses. Here are a few notable features:
  • Bunkers: Links courses usually have numerous bunkers that are strategically placed throughout the course. These bunkers often have irregular shapes and rugged edges, making them challenging for golfers to navigate.
  • Windswept: Due to their coastal locations, links courses are exposed to strong winds that can significantly affect gameplay. The wind direction, speed, and consistency can vary throughout the course, making it a vital factor to consider while playing.
  • Fast and Firm Ground: Links courses have a firm and fast playing surface, mainly due to the sandy soil and natural drainage. This characteristic allows the golf ball to roll farther, impacting shot distance, strategy, and club selection.
  • Vegetation: Links courses often have native grasses, heather, gorse, and other natural vegetation. These features not only contribute to the course's aesthetic appeal but also serve as hazards and obstacles for golfers.

Playing on a links course offers a unique and challenging golf experience. Golfers often need to adapt their playing style and club selection to account for the wind, uneven terrain, and fast greens. The skillset required to excel on a links course can differ from that needed for traditional parkland or desert courses.

While not every golfer has the opportunity to play on a links course, understanding the concept can help enhance your knowledge and appreciation for the game. Links courses hold a special place in golf history, and learning about their characteristics can deepen your understanding of the sport's origins and traditions.

Next time you hear someone mention playing on a links course, you'll have a better understanding of what it entails and why it's such a unique golfing experience.

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