A scenic view of a links golf course in Ireland


Experience the Creativity and Majesty of Links Designs  

For over 600 years, golfers have been teeing it up on windswept dunes and cliffsides to take on the singular test that links golf courses present. Born in Scotland and spread across the British Isles, links designs offer a unique experience that combines nature, history, and storytelling like no other designs in the world.  

What Makes Links Golf Course Special?  

Links golf course are named after the old “linksland” in Scotland, where the first courses were constructed. This rolling, sandy, seaside terrain proved perfect for laying out holes that followed the natural contours of the land.  

There are a few key features that define true links golf courses:  

Constructed on Linksland – These courses are constructed on the sandy, bouncy turf along the coast. You’ll often see dunes, rumpled fairways, and very few trees.

Influence of the Sea – Links designs are exposed to coastal winds and weather. Conditions can change quickly, adding to the challenge.

Creativity Required – Traditional-shaped holes are rare. Putting surfaces and fairways bend and flow with the natural features of the land. Odd bounces and uneven lies demand creativity.

History – Links courses are the oldest in the world. St Andrews has over 600 years of golf history alone! Their timeless challenge draws golfers back year after year for a bit of craic.  

Links golf courses demand imagination and shot-making skills unlike any other traditional course. Let’s look at what makes them so grand yet difficult. 

The Lure of Links Golf Courses 

There are many reasons why the links golf courses hold such a special place in the hearts of many golfers:  

The History – As the birthplace of golf, the links courses ooze history from every hole. You are playing the same putting surfaces where hickory shaft legends first tweaked their whiskers 500 years ago!  

The Challenge – The links golf courses will expose every hole in your game, while keeping you engaged in the experience. Bouncing drives, running approaches, tricky greens – a fierce test!  

The Landscapes – The dunes, sea vistas, and eccentric architecture make every links course feel truly one of a kind. Where else can you find holes between giant sandhills or perched along sheer clifftops?  

The Weather – Coastal weather can change at a moment’s notice, shifting strategies and shot requirements on the fly. Blowy winds, snappy rain, and brooding skies add to the theatre. 

The Culture – The clubhouses, caddies, food, and drink complete the links golf courses experience. There’s nothing quite like enjoying a hearty and dramatic supper at a centuries-old hotel after battling the course all day. 

Of course, the links golf course also demand some adjustment in your game. You don’t want to get banjaxed by the wind or the bunkers. But if you can master the art of links golf, you’ll have a deadly craic. 

Adapting Your Game for Links Golf Courses 

To score well on a links course, you have to embrace their unique demands: 

Creative Bump and Run – Most approach shots are played along the ground. You have to bounce and roll the ball close to flags, rather than fly it. 

Lower Ball Flight – Flighting down shots and keeping the ball beneath the wind is crucial, especially on longer holes. Take one more club and swing easy! 

Go Low Off the Tee – Tee shots must hurry along the fairway, rather than soar over bunkers. Links between turf and dunes often hide landing areas, too. 

Mastery of Sidespin – Shaping shots left and right is vital to handle uneven lies and bogey bounces. Links turf makes this type of spin easier to achieve. 

Great Short Game – The putting surfaces contain subtle breaks and run-off areas. Brilliant chipping, putting, and bunker play are prerequisites for low scoring. 

Patience – Tough conditions and bad bounces will happen, as will pressure from playing partners. Stay patient and keep your poise even in challenging weather. 

With the right attitude and adjustments, links golf courses are an unforgettable test of skill and creativity. Let’s now discuss some of the most famous courses in the entire world. They are class! 

Famous Links Golf Courses 

Here are just a handful of the incredible and historic links golf courses designs that every golfer should experience: 

The Old Course at St Andrews 

The most hallowed ground in golf, every sport lover must walk the Old Course at least once. With origins going back over 600 years, its vast double putting surfaces and strategic bunkering never get old. 

Royal County Down 

Consistently rated the top course in the UK, Royal County Down has a stunning setting with the Mountains of Mourne as a backdrop. Fast-running fairways and challenging putting surfaces test every club in your bag. 

Royal Birkdale 

Royal Birkdale is the purest of links challenges, which has crowned many Open champions since the 1950s. Feel the roar of the arena green sites while battling horizontal rains off the Irish Sea. 

Royal Lytham & St Annes 

With 200+ bunkers and undulating linksland, Royal Lytham demands solid driving and iron play. Its wee putting surfaces add to the challenge on a course that always provides drama when hosting The Open. 

Carnoustie Golf Links 

Regarded as the toughest of Open venues, Carnoustie lives up to its nickname “Car-nasty”. Deep bunkers and narrow driving zones place a premium on accuracy, while dense rough and slippy putting surfaces will torment even the best. 

Cruden Bay Golf Club 

This hidden links gem features world-class par 3s, including the famous “Washing machine” hole. Its natural beauty, blind shots, and quirky features make Cruden Bay a must-visit for links golf course aficionados. 

From the acclaimed to the obscure, links golf courses provide endless avenues of joy for those willing to embrace their unique magic. You’ll be gobsmacked by their deadly designs and sound conditions. 

Planning Your Links Golf Courses Trip 

Seeking the thrill of the links golf courses for yourself? Here are some tips to plan an amazing links golf courses adventure: 

Pick Your Spot – Focus on Scotland, England, or Ireland, depending on your main interests – history, trophy courses, pure links turf, or dramatic landscapes. 

Travel Light – Be ready for walking, carry bags, kit storage restrictions, and basic clubhouses at some courses. Check weather reports. 

Book Early – Popular venues like St Andrews book out a year or more in advance. Reserving services can help land hot tee times. 

Engage a Caddie – The links golf courses caddies enhance the experience tremendously with course management, stories, and reading tricky putting surfaces. 

Savor the Pace – The links golf courses are meant to be savoured, not rushed. Spend time enjoying the views, history, and hospitality.  

Prepare for Surprises – Odd bounces and playing conditions are part of the links golf courses. Expect the unexpected and think on your feet. 

With careful planning and an embracing attitude, a links golf course journey will provide memories that last a lifetime. The joys of battling wind, watching creative shots scurry along the turf, and making a 20-foot putt over a huge break outweigh any frustrations with kit or weather. 

If the links golf courses are on your wish list, make that dream trip happen. Once you experience it, you’ll understand its magical, timeless appeal that draws golfers back year after year, century after century.  

Create unforgettable stories and memories on the classic links of Scotland, Ireland, and England. Battle wind and weather, master bump-and-run shots, and revel in the convivial clubhouses after your round. It’s grand craic! 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is the links golf course?

The links golf course refer to course constructed on sandy, coastal terrain called linksland. They feature few trees and rolling fairways and are exposed to coastal weather. The links golf course originated in Scotland.

What are some famous links golf courses?

Some of the most famous and celebrated links golf courses include the Old Course at St Andrews, Royal County Down, Royal Birkdale, Royal Lytham & St Annes, Carnoustie, and Cruden Bay.

Why is the links golf course so challenging?

The links golf courses are challenging because of the creativity required for uneven lies, bunkers, huge dunes, and fast-running fairways. Tough weather conditions add to the test.

What are some tips for playing the links golf course?

Tips for success in the links golf courses include bump-and-run shots, low ball flights, lower tee shots, mastery of sidespin, sound short game, and patience.

How can I plan a links golf course trip?

Careful planning for weather, kit restrictions, tee times, caddies, and pacing yourself will help maximise the experience. Focus your trip on areas like Scotland, England or Ireland. You’ll have a deadly craic!


The links golf courses has captivated golfers for centuries with its unique combination of history, challenge, and charm. The creatively designed holes, ever-present wind, salty sea air, and evocative landscapes create an experience like no other. It’s a pure, imaginative test of skill and strategy. 

Playing on a links course may seem daunting at first, but its magic reveals itself to those who embrace its quirks. You’ll need to think your way around the course, adapting to the terrain and the weather. You’ll also get to enjoy the stunning views and wildlife that make the courses so special. A links golf courses trip also connects you to the very origins of the game, as this is how golf was first played in Scotland hundreds of years ago. 

If you are planning to play some of the best links golf courses in the world, you don’t have to worry about bringing your own clubs. Golf Hire Ireland offers a convenient and affordable service that allows you to hire high-quality golf clubs and accessories online and have them delivered to your hotel or golf course.  

You can choose from a wide range of golf clubs brands and models, including Callaway, TaylorMade and Macgregor. You can also hire golf shoes, balls, tees, gloves, and umbrellas. Hiring clubs has many benefits, such as saving money on baggage fees, avoiding damage or loss of your own clubs, and trying out different equipment. 

All you have to do is book online, select your preferred delivery and collection dates and locations, and enjoy your golf adventure. Golf Hire Ireland will take care of the rest. Visit Golf Hire Ireland today and get ready to experience the magic of the links golf courses with our excellent service. It’s sound craic! 

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