Click on the menu bar under Linksland to see all the Magic Links courses in Scotland, England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales and Internationally.
Of the world's approximately 34,000 golf courses, there are only about 250 true links courses. True Links - and we present them all.
There are just over 34,000 golf courses in the world, but only about 250 of these can be categorised as genuine links courses and we have, after much searching and researching through links books, the Internet and contacts, hopefully put them all on the site. In our research we have relied quite heavily on George Peper & Malcolm Campbell and their assessments in their recently published masterpiece, aptly titled "True Links". That book was very helpful in finally agreeing on which courses can be categorized as true links courses. And hopefully we have posted them all under the "Linksland" menu, where we present them country by country. As Hickory players, we have a great passion for that. Linksland (the link between sea and land), i.e. genuine classic links courses, where golf has its roots. We present the British links courses first, starting with Scotland, then England, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Wales. The reason we start here is that about 90% of them are in the British Isles, and then we present links courses in the rest of the world. By the way, more than half of them are more than a hundred years old and here you can really walk in the footsteps of our heroes.
All courses are presented with name, city, district and the year it was founded. As well as with yards, par and designer and on about half of them we have also written a short presentation of the course. Each golf club is clickable, i.e. linked, so it's easy to get straight to its website and then you can really breathe in the magical linksland atmosphere. See the example below:
The Machrihanish Golf Club - Campbeltown, Argyll, West Coast - 1876
6.462 yards / par 70. Tape designer: Old Tom Morris
Perhaps the most spectacular opening in the world. From the tee you hit across the Atlantic onto the fairway. A light breeze makes any golfer nervous. A tough start, but the rest of the holes and the surroundings take your breath away. This gem is beautifully and naturally carved into the sand dunes of the Kintyre Peninsula, overlooking the islands of Jura and Islay. The sunsets are nothing short of dramatic and the air is pleasant due to the Gulf Stream. A hidden idyll, a sheer delight to play, stunning finishes, challenging undulating fairways and greens. And just the sounds of nature, it's so quiet you can only hear the sea and the birds. Perfection - this is Golf Heaven.
On the 19th we recommend: Haggis and if you've been playing well grab a Springbank 50 Year Old/Millennium Set, if it's raining and it's drizzly a smoky Longrow or try the 1973/First Distillation and if it's sunny grab a triple-distilled unsmoked Hazelburn/Directors Bottling or their own Machrihanich Niblick (Springbank).
As a bonus, we have added to each Scottish links course a unique and local Whisky, which can be combined with a Haggis on the 19th to complete the experience. It is by the way the good friend and also golfing Whisky expert Håkan Månsson, who in everyday life when he is not training at whisky academies like Bruichladdich, Springbank Distillery or holding whisky courses works as a Bar Master at the Grand Hotel in Lund, who helped us to choose and find really original Whisky's.
The links courses fell into disrepute between 1945 and 1995, but were given a renaissance in the mid-1990s when golfers were reawakened to links country and real golf via television and the major Open Championship events at magical links courses such as St Andrews Old Course, Muirfield, Royal St George's, Royal Lytham & St Annes, Royal Birkdale, Royal Troon, Carnoustie Golf Links and Turnberry.
All the tracks presented are of course true links, both classic and newer, and many of them we have played. A links course generally has a great deal of atmosphere and charm, great panoramic views, challenging but naturally shaped layouts, requires strategy, improvisation and usually they are extremely well maintained. In other words, they are golfing treasures and magical masterpieces, many in the list reeking of golfing history, but all with genuine links character and always giving hickory golfers completely unique experiences.
The term links, as well as genuine links, inland links, seaside links etc.. is unfortunately often used carelessly. For us, a genuine links course means that it is open and windswept, basically built on land reclaimed from the sea, so called. linksland and where the hilly sand dunes, naturally and essentially shaped the layout of the course. In making adjustments over the years, the band designers have taken great account of the variations in the coastal landscape and have endeavoured, with little intervention, to gently sculpt and create a 'naturally shaped' links course. Traditionally, the front nine holes have often followed the shoreline away from the clubhouse and from there turned the so-called. "out-and-back links". The term links has its origins in the Scottish language and refers to coastal sand dunes.
In categorising which tracks can be classified as True Links, we have also used the content of Pepers & Campbell's three ingredients as a starting point, Terrain, Turf and Weather, which must be present for a course to be called True Links. And then most of the questions below must be answered with the correct answer to be called True Links. According to Peper and Campbell, there are about 400 courses in the world that many would like to categorize as Links, but if you answer the questions in their three selection principles, they have narrowed it down to 246 True Links worldwide. As I said, there are many courses all over the world, but they are mainly classified as seaside courses, not Links, and therefore cannot be called True Links.
How close is the course to the sea? Do the fairways run hard and fast? Do the greens favor a run-on approach? How natural? Is there a freedom from trees (planted or naturally occurring?) Is the invasion of gorse and bush controlled? How light is the environmental footprint on the land?
Is there a sand base? What grasses are dominant on the fairways and greens? Is the ruff managed (creating biodiversity from flora and fauna)? How well does the course drain?
How exposed is the site to the elements? What are the typical wind conditions? Does the course play hard and fast year-round? Must temporary greens and tees be used in winter? Is the course susceptible to winter closure?
In other words, a links has no trees, in exceptional cases one or a few, is therefore naturally exposed and windswept, the soil is based on sand, is extremely well-draining and because of the lack of moisture the grass is short, but has long roots and is therefore very hardy. Many of the links courses are not watered, as a true links should have a dry, hard and firm playing surface, but greens can be "auxiliary watered". The rough is made up of an unspoilt biodiversity of flora and fauna and the grass is mostly striped and long, the fairway naturally undulating, with large, fast greens, well laid out green areas that really encourage run-on and, because of the sea winds, deep and often turfed bunkers, so the sand stays put. The course should have a hard surface all year round and it should be possible to play virtually all year round even on regular greens?
A links always offers drama, nature is constantly close and the sea winds make the course changeable day by day, bringing new gaming experiences – every round. Therefore, linksland courses are often the obvious choice for a true golfer. Real links = real golf.
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