What is Scottish links golf?

Answered by Antonio Sutton

Scottish links golf is a traditional style of golf that originated in Scotland and is known for its unique characteristics. The term “links” refers to an area of coastal sand dunes, which provide the natural terrain for these courses. The word “links” is derived from the Scots language and is also used to describe open parkland.

The defining feature of Scottish links courses is their location along the coast, typically on sandy soil. This sandy terrain gives the courses their undulating and unpredictable nature, adding an element of challenge and strategy to the game. The coastal location also means that links courses are often exposed to the elements, with wind being a significant factor that players must contend with.

One of the key aspects of links golf is the absence of trees and the presence of natural hazards such as tall grasses, sand dunes, and bunkers. This open layout allows for more strategic shot-making, as players must navigate around these natural obstacles rather than relying on trees and man-made hazards. The lack of trees also means that wind can have a greater influence on the ball, requiring players to adjust their shots accordingly.

In addition to the physical characteristics of the courses, links golf also has a rich history and tradition. Many of the oldest golf courses in the world are links courses in Scotland, with some dating back hundreds of years. These courses have hosted numerous prestigious tournaments, including The Open Championship, which is considered one of the major championships in professional golf.

Personally, as a golf enthusiast, I have had the opportunity to play on a few Scottish links courses, and the experience was truly memorable. The rugged beauty of the coastal landscape, combined with the unpredictable nature of the terrain and the ever-present wind, made for a challenging and exhilarating round of golf. I found myself constantly adapting my game to the conditions, carefully selecting clubs and considering the wind direction before each shot.

The absence of trees also added a unique dimension to the game, as I had to rely more on my shot-making skills and creativity to navigate around the natural hazards. The tall grasses and sand dunes provided a visually stunning backdrop, but they also required precision and accuracy to avoid getting into trouble.

Scottish links golf is a revered and cherished style of golf that offers a distinctive and rewarding experience. Its rich history, natural beauty, and challenging conditions make it a favorite among both professional and amateur golfers. Playing on a Scottish links course is a truly unforgettable experience that every golfer should have the opportunity to enjoy.