Heathland vs Links Golf Courses

heathland vs links

Do you ever find yourself driving by a golf course and wondering what it would be like to play there? Chances are, if you’re like most golfers, you’ve probably got a preference when it comes to the type of course you enjoy playing. Are you a fan of links-style courses with their rolling fairways and expansive sand bunkers? Or do you prefer the challenge of playing on heathland courses with their thick rough and well-placed hazards? While both styles of course offer their own unique challenges, they each have their own fans. So which is better – heathland or links golf? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each.

  1. What is the difference between a heathland and links golf course
  2. Why would you choose to play on one type of golf course over another
  3. How do these types of courses affect your game when you’re playing
  4. Which type of course should I play if I want to improve my game in a certain way (e.g., if I want to improve my short game)
  5. How do these types of courses affect your game when you’re playing?
  6. What type of heathland or links golf course would be most beneficial for a beginner who just wants to have fun out on the course?
  7. What type of weather is conducive to playing links golf courses?

What is the difference between a heathland and links golf course

Links golf courses and heathland golf courses are as different as night and day. The heathland style of golf course, also known as parkland, has the fairways rolling with minor undulation. The heathland design consists of closely mown turf that can extend 100 yards off the tee box and another 40 to 60 yards out of the heather rough. The heathland style golf course is mostly seen in Great Britain and Ireland.

Links golf courses are known for their seaside locations with dramatic elevation changes, rolling fairways without much heather to speak of, very few trees, light sandy soils, and heavy wind conditions. Links-style courses are also closely mown but not as closely mown as heathland courses.

There are heathland golf courses in the United States (mostly on the east coast), Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and South Africa. Links-style golf courses are all over Great Britain and Ireland with notable examples being St Andrews, Royal Troon, Carnoustie, and Turnberry (Scotland); Ballybunion (Ireland); Royal County Down (Northern Ireland); Royal Portrush (Northern Ireland), Pebble Beach (California) and Bethpage State Park’s Black Course in New York.

Why would you choose to play on one type of golf course over another?

Both heathland and links golf courses offer challenges to players of all skill levels. The heathland style course is more forgiving on the fairways and heather, while the links-style course takes precision, accuracy and a little luck.

These types of courses affect your game when you’re playing: heathland generally affects your distance control and links courses generally affect your shot trajectory and wind conditions.

Which type of course should I play if I want to improve my game in a certain way (e.g., if I want to improve my short game)?

Besides heathland versus links golf courses, which can be better than each other at different things depending upon where they are located geographically, the best type of course for you depends upon your needs. If you are looking to improve your short game heathland golf courses might be the best choice, but if you want to practice long drives links golf courses may be a better fit for you.

Who designed these two different types of courses and what influenced them in their design decisions?

Hire whoever designed your favourite course! Many heathland golf courses were built prior to World War II with architects like James Braid designing many heathland championship golf courses used today by the Open Championship including Carnoustie, Muirfield, Royal Birkdale, Royal St George’s, Sandwich among others. Links-style courses are usually associated with famous old Irish architects such as Eddie Hackett who is responsible for designing Portmarnock, County Louth and Ballybunion Old.

How do these types of courses affect your game when you’re playing?

Heathland courses are more widely found in the United States with notable heathland golf courses being Bethpage State Park’s Black Course, Baltusrol Golf Club – Lower Course, Westchester C.C. (West Course), Winged Foot G.C.’s West and East Courses, Baltusrol Golf Club – Upper Course which is home to the PGA Tour’s BMW Championship and The Barclays tournament held every year on heathland course Bethpage Black, Quaker Ridge Golf Club and Sebonack Golf Club located in New York and Trump National Golf Club: Los Angeles heathland course located near downtown Los Angeles.

Links golf courses are located in Great Britain and Ireland with notable links-style golf courses being St Andrews, Royal Troon, Carnoustie, Turnberry (Scotland); Ballybunion (Ireland); Royal County Down (Northern Ireland); Royal Portrush (Northern Ireland), Pebble Beach (California) and Bethpage State Park’s Black Course in New York. Links-style golf courses have a long history on the British Isles going back to some of Scotland’s first nine holes which were built around 1790 by golf professionals from Musselburgh heathland golf course on heathland soil just east of Edinburgh the seaside town of North Berwick heathland course.

What is the general weather like when it comes to heathland vs links golf courses?

Heated heathland climates have above average annual precipitation and heathlands are typically located in regions with low overall humidity which allows heather to thrive.

In Great Britain and Ireland heaths usually occur on standard soils, while in the United States heaths generally occur on coarse-textured marine sands such as those found at Pinehurst No. 2, Bethpage State Park’s Black Course and Shinnecock Hills Golf Club. The only type of heathland soil that has a higher water table than a sandy heath is limestone based heath.

Northern links golf courses have below average precipitation year round with heathland and links golf courses receiving less than 38 inches (97 cm) of rain annually. In heaths with poor drainage, heather cannot thrive as it normally does which will have an effect on the quality of heathland golf course that is produced.

What type of heathland or links golf course would be most beneficial for a beginner who just wants to have fun out on the course?

A heathland course has more elevated greens with sloped fairways and undulating landscape which can offer a better opportunity to improve your short game by requiring you to hit lower irons into heath green-fronted targets rather than long irons or woods from a flat lie off a hard fairway. Long drives are not as necessary but heathland golf courses are also known for heathland hazards like out of bounds heaths, heathland bunkers (sand traps), heathland water hazards including ponds and heaths which can make heathland golf courses more challenging.

Links golf courses are far more forgiving to the beginner golfer with flat fairways; small greens that allow you to get there in regulation for an easy up-and-down using your short irons or wedges. Links style golf courses have few trees so wind is not much of a factor when it comes to links course strategy. Heated heathland climates will be much more difficult for a beginner heath land golf player while heathlands in temperate climates that have mild changes in the growing season such as Scotland, Ireland and New York heathland course can be more forgiving to heathland beginners.

What type of weather is conducive to playing links golf courses?

Heated heathland climates with cool-to-warm wet summers and cool-to-cold winters are preferred for links golf courses and winter wheat and rye grasses mature enough in spring before peak summer temperatures arrive. Even though heated heaths grow heathers well they will not grow tall fescue which is crucial to the survival of links golf courses.

While links golf courses prefer warm, they also need cold winter season because that is when the links heathland grasses and heaths grow to maintain their heathland green putting surfaces.

What heathland type of golf course would be best for a golfer who wants to start taking lessons?

Heated heathlands are better suited for heathland golf players who want to take lessons as they can produce fast draining well-drained heath greens (heather fairways) which make it easier to hit your approach shots close enough for an up-and-down from the heaghs, but just as heathland links golf courses heathland courses require the golfer to make every shot count.

If you’re looking for heathland golf lessons, heathlands with heath greens are better suited as they don’t hold water and will dry out quicker after rainfall. In addition heaths don’t grow tall fescue or roughs which makes it easier to find your golf balls in a hurry.

Heathy links golf course conditions can be detrimental for heathland beginners as heathy links golf course areas have a lot of cattle that provide a big challenge chasing lost golf balls down from their heaths.

Summary

If you’re looking for a fun and challenging course, heathland is the way to go. Links courses are more difficult because they have unpredictable weather conditions that can make it hard to hit your ball. You’ll want to find out what type of golf course would be most beneficial based on your needs as a player. For example, if you’re just learning how to play golf or improving your short game skills, then a links-style course might not be ideal since there will be plenty of obstacles in place getting in the way of those shots. However, if you need some practice hitting over water hazards and bunkers without having any trees blocking your view from where you intend to land next shot – think about playing an 18 hole round.