What is a links golf course?

If you have been getting into golf, it’s likely that there are all sorts of terms you need to learn in order to understand the ‘banter’ in the golfing world. Whether you’ve heard about it through a friend or on TV, it’s likely that a ‘links golf course’ has popped up on occasion. 

In short, a links golf course is a golf course located by the shore, where the soil is sandy and there is no vegetation there other than tall sea grass.

At Greenswing, our niche is golf, down to the ‘tee’! This is why we thought it would be appropriate to inform you on the topic we’re best at. Without further ado, let’s get into ‘what is a links golf course?’

What is a links golf course? 

A links golf course refers to the soil and terrain upon which the golf course is set. A links golf course is located along the seaside, consisting of sandy soil and doesn’t contain much vegetation other than tall seagrass and gorse. As opposed to other golf courses, a links golf course will develop golf holes with its natural terrain. Links golf courses were the first to originate as the earth was easy to mould. Course designers were often limited in terms of what they could do as they didn’t have the resources to move the earth. This made links golf courses so popular, as they were already naturally formed for the game of golf. The layout of a links golf course is also unique due to the first 9 holes going out to the farthest point away from the clubhouse and the other 9 bringing you back towards the clubhouse. 

What is a links golf course, when it first originated? 

There are a few different theories of how the game golf first came around, the most popular being that it came around at the same time that Julius Caesar was in reigning in Scotland. It was in 1457 when golf was recognised by the Scottish parliament. The game was recognised due to King James II banning it due to the game being too distracting to the Scottish soldiers preparing for battle against the English! 

Why is a links golf course called links? 

The term ‘links’ evolved from an old English word ‘hlinks’ meaning ridge or rising ground. This word relates perfectly to golf as a links golf course is situated on the hilly lands on the coast of the UK. The land on links golf courses now is sandy, rugged and windy, which leaves little tree growth and grasses. All of these qualities represent a links golf course. 

What are the benefits of a links golf course? 

A links golf course can completely test the ability of a golf player. This is due to the harsh weather conditions and the design of the golf course, which makes it ideal for advanced players. Although a links golf course is one of the hardest courses to play, it is also the oldest, compared to other courses such as parkland and desert. In a links golf course, the player is forced to work against the natural elements of the course. A golfer is forced to come up with creative ideas and work with unpredictable circumstances. All of these different factors can be a benefit to many if they wish to test their ability to play, although it isn’t recommended for a beginner. 

Where can I play on a links golf course?

There are only a few true links golf courses around the world, 246 to be exact. As it originated in the UK, this is where most of them are found. However, you can also find them in New Zealand, Australia and North America. Many golf courses claim that they are links golf courses, although this isn’t always true. Just because a golf course is located on the coast, it doesn’t mean it is a links course. A true links course has to involve all of the elements we have discussed to be classed as a true links course. 

Thank you for reading our blog ‘What is a links golf course’. If you’re looking for a more sustainable way to play golf, take a look at Greenswing today.  

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