Why the name?
A links is the oldest style of golf course, first developed in Scotland. The word “links” comes via the Scots language from the Old English word hlinc : “rising ground, ridge” and refers to an area of coastal sand dunes and sometimes to open parkland. It also retains this more general meaning in the Scottish English dialect. It 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 example Lundin Links, Fife. The land was unsuitable for building houses due to its sandy nature and equally unsuitable for farmland due to the salt content of the turf.
Links courses tend to be on, or at least very near to, a coast, and the term is typically associated with coastal courses, 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. Even today, some links courses do not employ a greens staff, use only basic machinery such as hole cutters without boards to ensure that the hole is cut unevenly, and use grazing animals to keep the grass cropped.
Links courses remain most common in Ireland and also in Great Britain, especially in Scotland. The Open Championship is always played on links courses, and this is one of the main features which differentiates it from the three major championships held in the United States.
The style of play on a links golf course is considerably different from the style of play on other types of courses. The challenges of links golf fall into two categories: Firstly the nature of the courses themselves, which tend to be characterised by uneven fairways, thick rough and small deep bunkers known as “pot bunkers”; and secondly, due to their coastal location and lack of trees, many links courses are frequently windy. This affects the style of play required, favouring players who are able to play low accurate shots. As many links courses consist literally of an “outward” nine in one direction along the coast, and an “inward” nine which returns in the opposite direction, players often have to cope with opposite wind patterns in each half of their round.
Did you know?
Only 92 of the golf courses in Scotland (17%) are true links courses, although this includes most of the historical courses. Another 10% of Scottish courses are coastal with some properties of ‘links’ courses and moorland vegetation. Apart from links courses, the other main types of Scottish golf courses are parkland (61%) and moorland (17%).
Fancourt embodies a flawless fusion of leisure and world-class golfing. With all three of its golf courses ranked among Golf Digest’s top 20 courses in the country, it boasts a proud legacy of sporting excellence. The Links is currently No. 1 in South Africa (Golf Digest Rankings 2014/15) and was ranked 34th
The beautiful Atlantic Beach Golf Course is an 18 hole Links-style course 700 metres from the beach. With spectacular views of the sea and Table Mountain, the course winds its way through the undulating dunes.The challenging, yet fair course has been designed to be as enjoyable for the expert as it is for the weekend golfer.
The Humewood Golf Course is situated on the sand dunes on the shores of Algoa Bay, Port Elizabeth.
The fairways are exposed, undulating and wide to compensate for strong winds.
The Greens are firm and fast and the rough is thick coastal bush.