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

post #19 of 41

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 41

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 41
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 41
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 41
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 41
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 41

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 41

....."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 41
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 41
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.

post #29 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by golfcourseasart View Post
 


If you can get hold of issue three of Golf Illustrated, there's a good article on the origins of Askernish with some nice pics.

 

I came across this forum by chance and feel compelled to contribute a comment on Askernish. 'BEST' is a term that will have very different meanings for each and every golfer. However, if you were to rephrase the question and ask 'what is the purest links course in the world', then Askernish would win hands down..! This lost ghost course of Old Tom Morris was lovingly restored by Gordon Irvine and Martine Ebert and re-opened in 2008. The mandate of those who supported the restoration (including Mike Keiser of Bandon Dunes) was to present the course the way it was when originally opened in 1891. It contains none of the modernizations that all other links courses have gone through over the years. The greens run at about an 8 making an old style hickory putter with a slight loft an excellent weapon! This is a course for the purest amongst you. A golfer who wants to experience the craft and genius of Old Tom in a setting that has changed not at all in 123 years. Add it to your bucket list or, better still, enter the Askernish Open in August (see website).

post #30 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by hurley View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by golfcourseasart View Post
 


If you can get hold of issue three of Golf Illustrated, there's a good article on the origins of Askernish with some nice pics.

 

I came across this forum by chance and feel compelled to contribute a comment on Askernish. 'BEST' is a term that will have very different meanings for each and every golfer. However, if you were to rephrase the question and ask 'what is the purest links course in the world', then Askernish would win hands down..! This lost ghost course of Old Tom Morris was lovingly restored by Gordon Irvine and Martine Ebert and re-opened in 2008. The mandate of those who supported the restoration (including Mike Keiser of Bandon Dunes) was to present the course the way it was when originally opened in 1891. It contains none of the modernizations that all other links courses have gone through over the years. The greens run at about an 8 making an old style hickory putter with a slight loft an excellent weapon! This is a course for the purest amongst you. A golfer who wants to experience the craft and genius of Old Tom in a setting that has changed not at all in 123 years. Add it to your bucket list or, better still, enter the Askernish Open in August (see website).

 

Welcome to the site.  

post #31 of 41
Here's a gem I played last year, if your from the northwest of England, (or anywhere fro that matter) this is well worth the visit!
(I copied and pasted the following)
At last, Silloth on Solway Golf Club’s reputation is becoming recognised more widely,
Founded in 1892, it was originally designed by Davy Grant (with a little help from Willie Park Jnr.).
The famous Leitch sisters learnt to play golf on the Silloth links. Charlotte Cecilia Pitcairn Leitch (or Cecil as she became known), went on to be the best lady golfer in the world, winning a record four British, five French, two English and one Canadian titles. In 1910, Cecil played a match against Harold Hilton (one of the greatest male golfers of the time) over 72 holes, 36 at Walton Heath and 36 at Sunningdale. Sportingly, Hilton gave Cecil nine shots per 18 holes and found himself five holes up in the last round, with only the last 15 holes to play. Cecil, showing true grit, fought her way back and ended up winning on the 71st green 2 up and 1 to play.
Silloth has parliamentary connections too. Viscount Willie Whitelaw was the President of Silloth on Solway Golf Club until his death in 1999.
You have to make an extra special effort to get to Silloth because it is located in one of the most remote and isolated places in England, at the mouth of the Solway Firth. When you get to Silloth, it’s a surprise to see,
With heather and gorse adding brilliant splashes of seasonal colour, this is a cracking links golf course. When the wind blows, it’s unlikely that you will play to your handicap. Even on a calm day, you’ll find it tough. "It is also the home of the winds," wrote Darwin, "when I was there the wind did not blow really hard, but hard enough to make a fool of me." Finding the tight greens is no mean feat and when you do, they are tough to read with their subtle borrows.
It’s well worth the time (and the money) to get to Silloth and once you get there, you won’t want to leave. You are at one of the best golf courses in the whole of the British Isles.
post #32 of 41
Royal Cinque Ports
North Berwick
Royal Adelaide
post #33 of 41

Barnbougle / Lost Farm

Tasmania

post #34 of 41
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.

Agree. St Andrews Old Course is King. It's as if you can feel ancient spirits roaming the links. It's amazing.
post #35 of 41
Haven't had a chance to play a lot of the famous links courses but my favorite is the Old Course at Ballybunion. Just like St. Andrews (walked it one evening a LONG time ago but haven't played it) I think you can feel the spirit of golf when you are there.
post #36 of 41

If you are talking about history obviously the Old Course at St Andrews would always be top of the pile, but there are so many other wonderful links courses in Scotland & Ireland it is impossible to say which is the best due to those who have been fortunate enough to play several having their own personal favourites.

 

You could spend weeks in Scotland going up the east coast from Dunbar in the south to Brora in the north and never play a poor links course. I have never been to Ireland but am sure it will be the same there.

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