Originally Posted by GaijinGolfer
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?