The great links courses of the U.K. are built on the sandy soil that “links” the farmland with the sea. Some of their common characteristics include broad rumpled fairways, massive dunes, pot bunkers, large sloping greens, lots of fescue and stunning views of the water. Other than a handful of ocean-side courses in North America, such as Cabot Links and Bandon Dunes, most of what we call links course are inland but they can still exhibit a “links” style.
Absent an ocean and the ever present wind, inland links courses can provide a glimpse of Scotland and Ireland if the design is appropriate and the course is maintained to play firm and fast. A good links design will include many of the same characteristics as their U.K. cousins and firm fast fairways will allow the ball to trundle an extra 30-50 yards after a well hit drive and encourage players to hit shots along the ground, such as bump and run approaches to greens.
Lots of local courses grow fescue but that doesn’t automatically make them a “links” style golf course. However, there are a number of local courses that deliver the feeling and flavour of a true links experience.
In honour of the Open Championship, we present the Top 10 Links Courses in Southern Ontario: