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What is the best links course in the world? - Page 2

post #19 of 28

My brother and group from our club played both County Down and Portrush in the spring and I can't get a consensus from them about which one they liked best. They loved them both. My brother says County Down is his favorite golf course in the world, not just links, and he's pretty much played everywhere.

 

The best I ever played, IMO, is Pacific Dunes in Bandon.

post #20 of 28

St. Andrews and its not even close.  Until youve actually played there, you have no idea what an amazing setting it really is.

post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by phan52 View Post

My brother and group from our club played both County Down and Portrush in the spring and I can't get a consensus from them about which one they liked best. They loved them both. My brother says County Down is his favorite golf course in the world, not just links, and he's pretty much played everywhere.

 

The best I ever played, IMO, is Pacific Dunes in Bandon.

I agree with your brother. I played both courses last week and RCD is my favorite course in the world (links or parkland). Portrush is great but I would not put it in my top ten. For me, RCD even edges out my previous top five: Cypress, Pine Valley, Augusta, St. Andrews Old and Lahinch.

post #22 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by VOX View Post

I agree with your brother. I played both courses last week and RCD is my favorite course in the world (links or parkland). Portrush is great but I would not put it in my top ten. For me, RCD even edges out my previous top five: Cypress, Pine Valley, Augusta, St. Andrews Old and Lahinch.

You've played Cypress and Augusta? Lucky you! I don't even have them on my bucket list as I am sure to be disappointed. Just knocked two more off the bucket list this year though, Oakmont and Bethpage Black.

post #23 of 28
Don't forget Barnbougle Dunes and Lost Farm down here in Australia. I have played Carnoustie, Troon, Birkdale, Turnberry and Lytham in the UK and these Aussie courses run them close despite not having the aura. Love to get to Bandon, Pebble and the LI courses sometime.
post #24 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by GaijinGolfer View Post

St. Andrews and its not even close.  Until youve actually played there, you have no idea what an amazing setting it really is.

 What exactly is it about links courses in general or St. Andrews in particular that people gush so much about?  I've seen plenty of photos and televised tournaments of the Old Course and it honestly looks like a boring goat track.  Didn't some early American pros call it that and wasn't it Sam Snead who, flying over it, said "Oh, it looks like there used to be a golf course down there"?

 

The whole "tradition" and "origin of the sport" only gets you so far.  There's nothing about that course that pleases my eye - the multi-colored brown and green fairways and greens demonstrating too little watering, the lack of trees, nothing but bumps, curves and deep bunkers.  There's no natural aesthetic to it.  My dad played St. Andrews and said it was one of the ugliest golf courses he's ever seen. 

 

Links courses are to natural beauty what interstates through Kansas and Nebraska are to scenic routes.  Endless fields and prairies are boring. 

 

Now don't get me wrong, I am not contending that St. Andrews or any of the other famous links courses are easy - I know that the combination of terrain and mother nature blowing in make most links courses very challenging, to say the least.  But hard isn't automatically interesting.  Early this fall I played a course that had a lot of links-styled holes on it and both my friend and I acknowledged that it was a difficult course (some holes unfairly so, without local knowledge, with hidden water right behind greens), but we both hated it more because it was just boring and ugly than because it was a steeper challenge of golf than our games could easily handle, with a rating of 73.1 and a slope of 126 (I don't really pay much attention to course slopes and ratings, so I have no good idea of how tough that course really is compared to most others on paper; in person, it's damn hard.  Despite a lot of pretty good shots, I only managed a 101.  The following week, I played a woodland course that was a more challenging course, with a rating of 74.8 and a slope of 135 from the whites, I shot a 100 (originally thought it was a 101 before I realized a local rule gave me a free drop), and the weather was cold, windy, with sprinkles all day.  I loved that wooded course, even though it ate more of my balls than the links holes the previous weeks, because it was so pretty and the holes were framed so nicely by the trees. 

 

Notwithstanding the $100 difference in greens fees and the general greater estimation in the eyes of the golf world, If some one gave me a choice of which of the two professional major courses in Kohler I could play for free, I'd much rather play the wooded Blackwolf Run course (either of them) than the supposedly superior links-style Irish course of Whistling Straits.

 

So I don't get it.  Why do people think links style courses are so wonderful?

post #25 of 28

You have to remember what Bobby Jones said about St Andrews (he walked off after 10 holes his first time) . he said "the more you study it the more you love it, and the more you love it the more you enjoy it". No links course is really attractive because the green is more brown, and there are no trees and you cant land a high lob shot and expect it to stick. It's a bit like having a grumpy old professor who knows it all but you have to keep asking him to get the answers - he aint goin to hand them out. Maybe the dishy young superstar prof has the goods but it can be too obvious. Subtlety is the key! 

post #26 of 28

....."A top score of 100 has been awarded to just 15 courses: seven in the UK (Carnoustie, Muirfield, the Old Course at St Andrews, Royal Birkdale, Portmarnock, Sunningdale New and Royal County Down), six in the US (Cypress Point, Torrey Pines South, Augusta National, Pine Valley, Bethpage Black, and Oakmont),and two in Australia (Kingston Heath and Royal Adelaide)."

 

Royal Adealide Golf Club.

Architect....Alistair McKenzie....."One finds a most delightful combination of sand dunes and fir trees..a most unusual combination even at the best seaside courses. No seaside courses i have seen possess such magnificent sand craters as those at Royal Adelaide"  Dr Alistair McKenzie.

nuff said a1_smile.gif
 

post #27 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wisguy View Post

 What exactly is it about links courses in general or St. Andrews in particular that people gush so much about?  I've seen plenty of photos and televised tournaments of the Old Course and it honestly looks like a boring goat track.  Didn't some early American pros call it that and wasn't it Sam Snead who, flying over it, said "Oh, it looks like there used to be a golf course down there"?

 

The whole "tradition" and "origin of the sport" only gets you so far.  There's nothing about that course that pleases my eye - the multi-colored brown and green fairways and greens demonstrating too little watering, the lack of trees, nothing but bumps, curves and deep bunkers.  There's no natural aesthetic to it.  My dad played St. Andrews and said it was one of the ugliest golf courses he's ever seen. 

 

Links courses are to natural beauty what interstates through Kansas and Nebraska are to scenic routes.  Endless fields and prairies are boring. 

 

Now don't get me wrong, I am not contending that St. Andrews or any of the other famous links courses are easy - I know that the combination of terrain and mother nature blowing in make most links courses very challenging, to say the least.  But hard isn't automatically interesting.  Early this fall I played a course that had a lot of links-styled holes on it and both my friend and I acknowledged that it was a difficult course (some holes unfairly so, without local knowledge, with hidden water right behind greens), but we both hated it more because it was just boring and ugly than because it was a steeper challenge of golf than our games could easily handle, with a rating of 73.1 and a slope of 126 (I don't really pay much attention to course slopes and ratings, so I have no good idea of how tough that course really is compared to most others on paper; in person, it's damn hard.  Despite a lot of pretty good shots, I only managed a 101.  The following week, I played a woodland course that was a more challenging course, with a rating of 74.8 and a slope of 135 from the whites, I shot a 100 (originally thought it was a 101 before I realized a local rule gave me a free drop), and the weather was cold, windy, with sprinkles all day.  I loved that wooded course, even though it ate more of my balls than the links holes the previous weeks, because it was so pretty and the holes were framed so nicely by the trees. 

 

Notwithstanding the $100 difference in greens fees and the general greater estimation in the eyes of the golf world, If some one gave me a choice of which of the two professional major courses in Kohler I could play for free, I'd much rather play the wooded Blackwolf Run course (either of them) than the supposedly superior links-style Irish course of Whistling Straits.

 

So I don't get it.  Why do people think links style courses are so wonderful?

See the course. PLAY the course.

I have played Oakmont twice in my life. I played it 12 years ago when it had all the trees. The holes were framed a lot by the trees and it detracted from the hazards and natural contours of the holes. I found myself more concerned with staying away from the trees than playing the golf course. It also could have been in better condition.

 

I played it again this summer and there is one tree in the interior of the golf course and it is not in play. The course was so much more interesting because now the bunkering and the natural contours of the course were there to see more clearly. It was much more playable (and I don't mean easier) and it was in perfect condition because the sun and air can now regularly get to the turf. While it is not a links course in the true sense, it plays much like one and the golf course that is there today is light years better than the one that had thousands of trees.

post #28 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wisguy View Post

 What exactly is it about links courses in general or St. Andrews in particular that people gush so much about?  I've seen plenty of photos and televised tournaments of the Old Course and it honestly looks like a boring goat track.  Didn't some early American pros call it that and wasn't it Sam Snead who, flying over it, said "Oh, it looks like there used to be a golf course down there"?

 

The whole "tradition" and "origin of the sport" only gets you so far.  There's nothing about that course that pleases my eye - the multi-colored brown and green fairways and greens demonstrating too little watering, the lack of trees, nothing but bumps, curves and deep bunkers.  There's no natural aesthetic to it.  My dad played St. Andrews and said it was one of the ugliest golf courses he's ever seen. 

 

Links courses are to natural beauty what interstates through Kansas and Nebraska are to scenic routes.  Endless fields and prairies are boring. 

 

Now don't get me wrong, I am not contending that St. Andrews or any of the other famous links courses are easy - I know that the combination of terrain and mother nature blowing in make most links courses very challenging, to say the least.  But hard isn't automatically interesting.  Early this fall I played a course that had a lot of links-styled holes on it and both my friend and I acknowledged that it was a difficult course (some holes unfairly so, without local knowledge, with hidden water right behind greens), but we both hated it more because it was just boring and ugly than because it was a steeper challenge of golf than our games could easily handle, with a rating of 73.1 and a slope of 126 (I don't really pay much attention to course slopes and ratings, so I have no good idea of how tough that course really is compared to most others on paper; in person, it's damn hard.  Despite a lot of pretty good shots, I only managed a 101.  The following week, I played a woodland course that was a more challenging course, with a rating of 74.8 and a slope of 135 from the whites, I shot a 100 (originally thought it was a 101 before I realized a local rule gave me a free drop), and the weather was cold, windy, with sprinkles all day.  I loved that wooded course, even though it ate more of my balls than the links holes the previous weeks, because it was so pretty and the holes were framed so nicely by the trees. 

 

Notwithstanding the $100 difference in greens fees and the general greater estimation in the eyes of the golf world, If some one gave me a choice of which of the two professional major courses in Kohler I could play for free, I'd much rather play the wooded Blackwolf Run course (either of them) than the supposedly superior links-style Irish course of Whistling Straits.

 

So I don't get it.  Why do people think links style courses are so wonderful?

Links courses are about strategy and the lay of the land. Many like St. Andrews are not naturally beautiful but then again courses like Royal County Down are among the most beautiful in the world. Golf was originally about placing your shots in the correct part of the fairway not about bombing it as far as possible. On a course like St. Andrews you have to avoid the penal fairway bunkers and the gorse in the rough. That means you have to think your way around the course. The greens decide the course of play. Take the Road Hole for instance. The safe tee shot is to the left, avoiding the OB. But then your approach has to avoid the highly penal road hole bunker. By the way these courses are all about the natural aesthetic. The lay of the land is what's important, not how some architect artificially shaped that land.

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