take our links golf very seriously at Top 100 Golf Courses. So much
so that at the start of 2017 we decided to create what we thought
might be an interesting one-off listing of top links courses around
the British Isles called
Top 100 Links Courses of Britain and Ireland 2017.
We also at that time provided background notes entitled Our Interpretation of “Links” and Geology and geography of links golf courses to broaden the discussion. Then we produced a follow up article called The 240 “Real Links” courses of Britain & Ireland which provoked a good response from readers.
Three years later, we decided to take this project a step further by publishing a Top 100 links chart that will now be updated every two years, the same as all the other listings that we revise biennially. The latest version of those rankings can be found below.
In January 2021 we created a version two "Real Links" list The Real Links Courses of Britain & Ireland v2 and also built a new page titled Links Courses of Britain & Ireland which groups together the 197 links courses that we feature in our various ranking categories.
Some golfers may well question why we’re so obsessed with the type of golf course that comprises less than 1% of the worldwide total of thirty thousand. Well, in the prologue for the book True Links, the following passage encapsulates much of what we think about how the game of golf should be played:
“Links golf is the game distilled to its core virtues. To walk beside the sea with a brisk breeze on your cheek and the firm, sandy turf beneath your feet is to experience golf not only as it was hundreds of years ago but arguably as it should be today – a simple, beguiling game in no need of embellishment.”
Donald Steel, in Classic Golf Links of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, also knows where we’re coming from when he writes in the introduction to the book: “many believe our traditional links are the only true form of expression and that everything else is second best. Their love of them amounts almost to a passion. Nowhere in the world is there anything else that compares; indeed, nothing that comes close.”
The author goes on to say: “a study of British and Irish seaside links remains the finest way to understand the principles of golf course architecture… They show the thinking behind placement of bunkers. They expound the virtues of positional play… They reveal the importance of the proper angling, shaping and contouring of greens… They underline the vital need for architects to possess those abstract qualities you cannot teach – imagination, attention to detail and eye for the land.”
Our Top 100 Links Courses of Britain & Ireland rankings were last updated in
December 2019. Click the link to read the story.