Golf Basics

Golf course architecture and design

While no two courses are alike, many can be classified into one of the following broad categories:

  • Links courses: the most traditional type of golf course, of which some century-old examples have survived in the British isles. Located in coastal areas, on sandy soil, often amid dunes, with few artificial water hazards and few if any trees. Traditional links courses, such as The Old Course at St. Andrews, are built on "land reclaimed from the sea," that is land that was once underwater.
  • Parkland courses: typical inland courses, often resembling traditional British parks, with lawn-like fairways and many trees.
  • Heathland � a more open, less-manicured inland course often featuring gorse and heather and typically less wooded than �parkland� courses. Examples include Woodhall Spa in England and Gleneagles in Scotland.
  • Desert courses: a rather recent invention, popular in Australia, parts of the USA and in the Middle East. Desert courses require heavy irrigation for maintenance of the turf, leading to concerns about the ecological consequences of excessive water consumption. A desert course also violates the widely accepted principle of golf course architecture that an aesthetically pleasing course should require minimal alteration of the existing landscape. Nevertheless, many players enjoy the unique experience of playing golf in the desert.
  • Sand courses: instead of a heavily irrigated 'green', the players play on sand.
  • Snow courses: another rather recent invention; golf being played on snow, typically with an orange colored or another brightly colored ball. Can be played in Arctic or subarctic regions during winter.

In the United States design varies widely, with courses such as the entirely artificial Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, where a course complete with waterfalls was created in the desert, and on the other end of the spectrum, Rustic Canyon outside of Los Angeles, which was created with a minimal amount of earth moving resulting in an affordable daily green fee and a more natural golfing experience.



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