Why Are Golf Courses Called Links?

By P.J. Chass

The term "links" dates back to the birth of golf itself on the shores of Scotland. It refers to a specific type of coastal golf course and its unique style of play.


Golf was first played on the sandy stretches of land that linked the Scottish sea coasts to the fertile agricultural plains located inland. Too sandy to be farmed, this "linksland" was ideal for golf.


Wind is one of the hallmarks of links golf. The land is exposed to fierce coastal gusts and the sandy soil is usually free of any trees to block them. Fairways play firm and fast over uneven ground. Deep pot bunkers are common obstacles in fairways and around greens.

Evolution of the Term

Over time, the term has become synonymous with golf courses in general. A course might refer to itself as a "golf links" even though it shares none of the classic characteristics of a links.


Links are typically found in coastal areas, though inland courses may be designed with links features in mind. The British Open is played every July on links in Scotland and England.


Links golf favors players who are accustomed to firm, windy conditions and have a strong ground game. The ability to execute low, running shots with feel and accuracy is vital.

About The Author

P.J. Chass has been freelance writing since 1997. His work has appeared in "The Daily Orange," "The Fischler Report," MSGNetwork.com and in several New York community newspapers. In 2008, he created Golf On Long Island, a website dedicated to public golf in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Chass graduated from Syracuse University with a bachelor's degree in journalism.
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