September 11, 2023

What Is A Links Golf Course?

Imagine stepping onto a windswept coastal course, where the grassy fairways blend seamlessly with the rugged dunes and the crashing waves provide a mesmerizing soundtrack. This is links golf, a game that evokes a sense of freedom and adventure unlike any other.

So, What Is A Links Golf Course? In this article, we will explore the meaning of links golf, its historical origins, the unique challenges it presents, and the famous courses that have become legendary.

Get ready to embark on a thrilling journey through the world of links golf and discover the secrets to mastering this exhilarating sport.

Historical Origins of Links Golf

The historical origins of links golf can be traced back to Scotland in the 15th century. It was during this time that the game of golf first began to take shape on the rugged coastal terrain of Scotland.

The term ‘links’ refers to the sandy dunes and grassy areas that border the sea, providing a unique and challenging landscape for the game.

The freedom of links golf lies in its natural setting, where players can experience the exhilaration of the wind in their hair and the scent of the sea in the air.

The undulating fairways, deep bunkers, and unpredictable weather create a true test of skill and strategy.

It is a game that allows you to connect with nature, embrace the unpredictable, and experience the freedom of the open landscape.

Characteristics of Links Golf Courses

You’ll love the distinctive features of links golf courses. These unique courses, found mainly in coastal areas, offer an unparalleled golfing experience that is deeply connected to nature and the elements.

One of the most striking characteristics of links golf is the natural landscape it is built upon. The undulating dunes, tall grasses, and rugged terrain create a sense of freedom and adventure as you navigate through the course.

The unpredictable coastal winds add an exciting challenge to your game, requiring strategic shot-making and precise club selection. The firm and fast playing surfaces, typically made of sandy soil, provide a true test of skill and creativity.

Links golf courses also offer stunning views of the surrounding coastline, immersing you in the beauty of nature.

The Unique Challenges of Links Golf

Navigate through the undulating dunes, tall grasses, and rugged terrain of a links course to experience the exhilarating challenge of coastal golf.

Links golf is a unique form of the game that offers a true test of skill and strategy.

Here are five reasons why links golf is unlike any other:

  • Unpredictable winds that can change direction and intensity with every hole.
  • Firm and fast fairways that require precise shot placement to avoid treacherous bunkers and hazards.
  • Natural hazards such as deep rough, gorse bushes, and pot bunkers that demand creativity and shotmaking.
  • Strategic course design that rewards strategic thinking and punishes wayward shots.
  • Stunning coastal views that enhance the overall experience and provide a sense of freedom and escape.

Embrace the challenge and freedom of links golf as you navigate the untamed beauty of the course. Get ready to experience a game like no other.

Famous Links Golf Courses Around the World

Links Golf Course

Famous links golf courses around the world offer a unique and challenging experience for avid golfers. These courses are often set in coastal areas, featuring sandy dunes and natural vegetation. The design of these courses takes advantage of the natural landscape, making for a truly unique golfing experience.

St. Andrews

The legendary St. Andrews in Scotland is often considered the “Home of Golf.” It’s one of the oldest golf courses in the world and has hosted numerous major championships. The course is known for its large double greens and iconic Swilcan Bridge. Playing at St. Andrews is like taking a step back in time, immersing yourself in the rich history of the sport.


Ballybunion Golf Club in Ireland is another iconic links course, renowned for its stunning ocean views and challenging layout. The course features towering dunes, narrow fairways, and small, undulating greens. The natural beauty of the Irish coastline adds to the allure, making it a must-visit for any serious golfer.

Pebble Beach

Located in California, USA, Pebble Beach offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. While not a traditional links course, its seaside location and open layout give it a links-like feel. The course is famous for its cliffside holes, particularly the par-3 7th, which is one of the most photographed holes in golf.

Related: Should You Really Spend Money on Pebble Beach?

Royal County Down

Situated in Northern Ireland, Royal County Down is famous for its “bearded” bunkers, which are lined with marram grass. The course offers a stern test of golf against a backdrop of the Mountains of Mourne. It’s a course that requires strategic play and precision, making it a favorite among skilled golfers.


Muirfield in Scotland is another course steeped in history. It’s one of the courses on the Open Championship rota and is known for its unique layout, which changes wind direction every few holes. This adds an extra layer of complexity, requiring golfers to continually adjust their strategy.

Each of these courses offers a unique set of challenges, shaped by their natural environments. Whether you’re teeing off on a windswept dune at Ballybunion or navigating the historic fairways of St. Andrews, links golf provides a thrilling escape from the confines of everyday life.

Tips and Strategies for Playing Links Golf

When playing on a links course, it’s essential to consider the wind direction and adjust your shots accordingly. Links golf is all about adapting to the elements and making strategic decisions to navigate the challenging terrain.

Here are some tips and strategies to help you succeed on a links course:

  • Embrace the wind: Use the wind to your advantage by shaping your shots and adjusting your club selection.
  • Keep it low: On a windy day, hitting the ball low can help you control its flight and reduce the impact of the wind.
  • Play the bump-and-run: Instead of relying on high, lofted shots, utilize the firm fairways and greens to play bump-and-run shots that roll along the ground.
  • Use your imagination: Links golf requires creativity and the ability to think outside the box. Be open to unconventional shot selections and improvisation.
  • Trust your feel: Links golf rewards feel and touch. Trust your instincts and rely on your ability to gauge distances and read the greens.


In conclusion, Links Golf provides an unparalleled experience that will test your skills and ignite your passion for the game.

As you step onto the hallowed turf of these historic courses, you will be transported back in time, feeling the whispers of golfing legends who have walked the same fairways before you.

The rugged beauty of the coastal landscapes will captivate your senses, as the wind howls and the salty sea air fills your lungs.

With the challenges of unpredictable weather and cunningly placed hazards, links golf will push you to your limits, demanding creativity, precision, and resilience.

Embrace the adventure, embrace the links, and discover the true essence of this timeless sport.

About the author 

Linda Parker

My name is Linda Parker, I’ve been around golf since I was born, and I’ve been golfing since I was four years old!

I’m here to share my love of the game with you, so please do let me know if you have any questions!

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