Is Links golf having a revival?
Those who are following golf this season will most likely have noticed a trend emerging in Majors golf. This year, three out of the four majors are to be played (or have already been played), on links-style courses. Although links courses are often considered to be a traditionally British style of golf course, the fact that this year’s Majors circuit features two American links legs shows that links courses are making a resurgence.
The US Open which was played at Chambers Bay, Washington in June will be followed by the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits links course in Wisconsin in the middle of August. As always, the British Open Championship will be played on one of ten leading links courses around the country. This year will see the British Open return to St Andrew’s, which is widely known as the home of golf. The Masters is played at Augusta National Golf Club every year, which is not a links course. Given that there are only about 300 links courses worldwide, the fact that 75% of this year’s majors are to be played on courses of this style is very significant.
The Open at Chamber’s Bay threw up plenty of surprises as some of the world’s leading players, including Tiger Woods and Rory McIllroy, failed to deliver, and relative newcomer Jordan Speith was able to justify his position in the top 10 of the official world rankings. Many spectators are hoping that Whistling Straits will be able to offer up more of the same excitement.
Whilst links courses fell out of favour with some leading players for a while, because they are considered to be less “manicured” than many modern courses, experts suggest that the links revival is allowing players to develop a greater appreciation for the historic roots of golf. When the game first began, players were forced to spend a lot of time thinking about their ground game, because the surfaces that they worked on were far from perfect, and natural hazards had to be navigated properly if the player wanted to play a good round. Nowadays, course designers are able to incorporate natural links features into a well-kept course, without losing any of the essence of the historic styles.
If you want to try a links course outside of the US or UK, you may be interested in playing a round or two at the Lykia Links Golf Course in Turkey. This is the first links course in the Southern Mediterranean, and it offers golfers the chance to enjoy the classic Scottish style of golf course, without the classic Scottish style of weather. The location of the course means that there is usually a refreshing Mediterranean breeze to take the edge off of the hot Turkish, and to help to give the course the charm that links players are used to. Players seeking to make par will also have to master the “punch and run” style.
For those who do not fancy links golf, there are plenty of alternative courses in the area.