Tuesday, July 9, 2013

What is a links golf course?

The British Open will be played next week at Muirfield in Scotland, one of the famous links courses in the Open rotation. What exactly is a links course?

A links golf course, sometimes referred to as a seaside links is the oldest style of golf course, first developed in Scotland, where golf originated. The word comes from the Scots language and refers to an area of coastal sand dunes.

Links tend to be 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. It is believed that the term "links" comes from the fact that the land used for golf originally was the land near the sea that was not good for farming. This land was between the sea and the farmland and thus was a "link" between the two.