Set out across a former steeplechase course and polo grounds on the southeast perimeter of Newmarket racecourse, the 18-hole layout at Links Golf Club dates back to 1902. Colonel Stafford Vere Hotchkin redesigned the course in the 1930s and not a lot has changed since then.
There’s a training track named the Gallops surrounding the course and on a couple of holes (at the 7th and 15th) the tee shot has to fly the white rails before reaching the fairway. On several other holes (such as the 15th and 16th), the railings designate out of bounds along one side of the fairway.
The bunkers might not be as deep as those designed by the Colonel at Woodhall Spa but there are plenty of them and golfers will do well to avoid having to play a sand shot at some point during their round here – the full fairway-width bunker in front of the green on the left doglegged 16th is a particularly interesting old-fashioned specimen.
The club is affiliated to the Cambridgeshire Area Golf Union, despite its location in Suffolk, so that’s why the course is assigned a position in our Cambridgeshire Best in County rankings.
Although this is a solid course in its own right (redesigned in the 1930s by Colonel Hotchkin of Woodhall Spa fame), it is the location of the course which makes it an extra special golfing experience. It is built adjacent to the Newmarket horse race course and is completely surrounded by a training course known as the "Gallops". This wonderful quirkiness is epitomised by holes 7 and 15 which have their tees built the other side of the Gallops i.e. you drive over the Gallops horse track from a substantially raised tee which makes the holes interesting and providing views of the surrounding countryside. Both these holes are strong par 4s and would be excellent holes even without the spectacular drives. The white railings of the Gallops provides the perimeter to holes 6, 15 and 16 and is also visible on holes 2, 3, 13, 14 and 17.
In addition to holes 7 and 15, other standout holes are:-
1 - par 5 (524 yds) - drive requiring a carry of 150 yards over the Gallops with good bunkering all the way up the hole making the lay up less straightforward.
6 - par 4 (401 yes) - relatively straight hole with the Gallops on the right and a row of trees placed to the left of the green.
12 - par 3 (175 yds) - green surrounded by bunkers including a cavenous one in front of the green
16 - par 4 (385 yds) - dog leg right to left with a bunker across the full width of the fairway.
In summary, a thoroughly enjoyable course and worth a visit.