When it comes to golf course design, there are two distinct regional styles that dominate the industry: links courses and parkland courses. Both offer their own unique challenges and rewards for golfers, and understanding the differences between the two can help you improve your game and appreciate the history and evolution of golf course design.
So what exactly are links and parkland courses, and what makes them so different?
Links courses are typically found in coastal areas, and are characterized by their natural terrain and sparse vegetation. These courses are built on sandy soil, often with a natural dune landscape, and are subject to the weather conditions of the surrounding area.
The main challenge of links courses is the wind, which can be a major factor in the direction and speed of your shots. The uneven terrain and natural hazards also require precise shot-making and strategic course management. Links courses often have small greens, which can be difficult to hit and require precise putting skills.
Parkland courses, on the other hand, are typically found inland and are characterized by their lush vegetation and well-manicured fairways and greens. These courses are often surrounded by trees and other natural features, which can provide both challenges and rewards for golfers.
The main challenge of parkland courses is the accuracy required on approach shots, as the small greens are often well-guarded by bunkers and other hazards. The well-manicured fairways and rough can also provide a challenge for golfers who struggle with accuracy off the tee.
While both links and parkland courses offer unique challenges and rewards for golfers, it’s important to understand the differences between the two and tailor your game accordingly. Links courses require precise shot-making and strategic course management, while parkland courses require accuracy and precision on approach shots and off the tee.
Whether you prefer the natural terrain and weather conditions of links courses, or the lush vegetation and well-manicured fairways of parkland courses, understanding the regional styles of golf course design can help you appreciate the sport even more.
So next time you’re on the course, take a moment to appreciate the beauty and history of the course design, and adjust your game accordingly to tackle the unique challenges that each course presents.