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what is links golf

by David Toms

For the computer golf-simulation games, seeLinks (series).

Alinksis the oldest style ofgolf course, which originated in Scotland. Links courses are generally built on sandy coastland that offers a firmer playing surface than parkland and heathland courses.[1]

The word “links” comes via theScots languagefrom the Old English wordhlinc: “rising ground, ridge”[2]It refers to a stretch of coastal sand dunes as well as open parkland;cognatewithlynchet. “Links” 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 exampleLundin Linksin Fife.[3]This more wide sense is also retained in ordinary use.Scottish English. Links land is typically characterised by dunes, an undulating surface, and a sandy soil unsuitable forarable farmingbut which readily supports various indigenousbrowntop bentandred fescuegrasses. The soil and grasses work together to produce the hard turf associated with links courses and the ‘running’ game. The hard surface typical of the links-style course allows balls to “run” out much farther than on softer turf course after a fairway landing. Frequently, players will land the ball before thegreenand let it run up onto the green instead of landing it in the more targeted-landing approach utilized on softer grounds.

Geographic location and course management[edit]

Links courses are usually on or near the shore, and the phrase is usually associated with coastal courses, frequently among dunes, with minimal water hazards and few, if any, trees. This reflects both the character of the landscape in which the sport was born and the restricted resources available to golf course designers at the time. Soil movement, for example, had to be done by hand and hence was limited, as did irrigation. Even today, some links courses do not employ a greens staff, use only basic machinery such as hole cutters without boards, resulting in a hole that is cut unevenly, and use grazing animals to keep the grass cropped.[citation needed]

Determining factors[edit]

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Although the name “links” is often used to any golf course, few golf courses contain all of the design features of actual links courses, including being constructed on linksland.citation neededThe existence of a coastal location does not ensure the presence of a links golf course.citation needed] Many notable courses recognized as links may not currently possess all of the required features (e.g.,Pebble Beach Golf Links, Old Head Golf Links atKinsale,The Ocean CourseatKiawah Island).[citation needed] On the other hand, certain courses, such as those situated hundreds of miles from a seashore, such asWhistling Straits, nearKohler,Wisconsin, on theGreat Lakes, with the exception of closeness to saltwater, may have all of the qualities of a beachfront connection.

Notable courses[edit]

Links courses remain most common inIrelandandGreat Britain, especially inScotland.The Open Championshipis always played on links courses, which is one of the key differences between it and the other two.major championshipsheld in theUnited States. The first exception to this was the2004 PGA Championship, which was played on a links-style course,Whistling Straits, located nearSheboygan,Wisconsin.[4]The2015 U.S. Openwas played atChambers Bay, a British links-style course inUniversity Place,Washington.Royal Adelaide Golf Clubis a links course inAdelaide,South Australia, and was partly designed byAlister MacKenzie, who said of the site, “A wonderful blend of sand dunes and fir trees may be seen. I have never seen a seaside course possess such magnificent sand craters, as those at Royal Adelaide.”[5]

Playing style[edit]

The specific character of links courses needs a different playing technique. The challenges links traits present fall into two categories: topography, which tends to be characterised by uneven fairways, thick rough, and small, deep “potbunkers“; and climatic, with frequent intermittent rain squalls and windy conditions caused by their coastal position and lack of trees.

The hazards on the links favor a controlled style of play. Low, even-bouncing strokes enable balls to be skipped into greens rather than high, backspin-laden flights. Windy or windy conditions need low, precise shots as well.[6]Damp conditions demand concentration and caution.

Due to the fact that many classic links courses consist of a “outward” nine in one way down the shore and an opposing “inward” nine returning, players sometimes face differing wind patterns in either half of their round.


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