Links golf—courses consisting of sandy, wind-blasted dunes lining ancient coastlines—is not for the faint of heart. But, with the right mindset, this battle with the elements is a bold and beautiful thing. Cabot Cliffs in Nova Scotia—Canada’s newest golf treasure—is a must, but here are five more links courses to consider.
Shiskine Golf & Tennis Club, Isle of Arran, Scotland
Peppered with blind shots, quirky holes, crazy slopes and stunning sea views, the 12-hole layout at Shiskine is a relic and a treasure. (Six holes were abandoned during the First World War and were never restored.) It’s also one of the only courses in Scotland’s Top 100 that will cost you less than £30 to play.
Osprey Valley Golf Club, Caledon, Ont.
True, the seaside setting here is somewhat lacking. But, if you want to take inland links-style golf for a test drive, a round on the Heathlands Course at Osprey Valley will do the trick. With pot bunkers, stone walls, fescue-capped dunes and a wide-open feel, this is a stellar inauguration to the old-world game.
St. Enodoc Golf Club, Church Course, Cornwall, England
This awesome ancient links on England’s Cornish Coast is capped with all the quirks that make links golf great. Beautiful seascapes, massive dunes, an old church and what is rumoured to be the biggest bunker in Europe (it’s approximately five storeys high) yield an unforgettable experience.
Old Head Golf Links, Kinsale, Ireland
The setting at Old Head—a remote, cliff-lined peninsula complete with a historic lighthouse clutching the rocks—is idyllic, and then some. The course is a visual stunner with 10 holes that line the wave-smashed perimeter. Upscale? Indeed. The green fee at high season is €240. A night in the Presidential Suite? €525.
St Andrews Links Trust, St Andrews, Scotland
With seven courses making up the trust, including the one-and-only Old Course, stealing time for non-golf “games” can be a tough proposition when visiting the birthplace of golf. But, with world-class attractions such as St Andrews Cathedral, St Andrews Castle and St Andrews Aquarium, the wee game certainly has some sturdy competition.