A look at America’s best links-style golf courses

Posted on 10. Jul, 2012 by in Sports

The British Open Championship is only a few weeks away, and if you’re like me, it’s got you itching to get out on the course. The Royal Lytham and St. Annes Golf Club in Scotland, the nation where golfing and links courses were born, will host this year’s big event. A lot of my fellow golfers will undoubtedly be in the mood for a round of golf on a links-style course after watching this year’s Open, but flying over the pond to get our fix on the Scottish fairways is less than practical.

With that, I wanted to share with you some of the best links courses in the U.S. that you can play without being a member. Private clubs are great, but if you want to get in an impulsive 18 holes, there are plenty of spectacular courses that will let you play for just a couple hundred dollars.

If you want to spend a few days in a quiet town with some of the finest greens in the world, head to Kohler, Wisconsin. Blackwolf Run and Whistling Straits each have two courses that are as majestic as they are difficult.

The Straits course, which was ranked third in Golf Digest’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses in America this year, and the Irish course at Whistling Straits are world-class links that run along two miles of the Lake Michigan shoreline. With its stone bridges and curvy terrain, you’ll forget that you’re not in Scotland. Before you go, be sure you learn from Dustin Johnson’s meltdown in the 2010 PGA Championship and respect sandtraps and wash areas at the Straits course. Oh, try not to hit the flock of Scottish Blackface sheep that freely roam the grounds.

Bandon, Oregon, is home to five spectacular golf courses, but in particular, Bandon Dunes and Pacific Dunes are most reflective of traditional Scottish links. As you probably guessed, these two courses run along the Pacific Ocean and every hole is fit for a postcard, but don’t let their beauty trick you into believing they’re easy.

A golf course reviewer from ABC said of the two links, “To play here is humbling and elating, and sometimes in the same swing. Both courses offer stern and memorable challenges.”

If there’s one links-style course in the U.S. you have to play in your lifetime, it’s Sand Hills in Western Nebraska. I haven’t make it there quite yet, but I know a number of friends who have and they said as long as you don’t mind losing a lot of balls, this is golf heaven.

GOLF.com ranks Sand Hills as the 11th best course in the world, and the website’s senior editor Joe Passov says it’s the greatest course of the last 50 years. He writes that if you’re looking for “firm turf, tons of sand and relentless wind,” you have to check out Sand Hills. While there’s no ocean or waterfronts like most links courses, these thinking-man’s holes will have you more concerned with where you should and shouldn’t take major risks.

If you’re going to be playing on one of these great courses, you’ll need to look like you belong there. We offer a great deal of golf attire like our men’s mock turtlenecks and pique polos made from fine Peruvian Pima cotton. We won’t be able to help you fix that nasty slice in your drive, but we certainly know how to make you look good when you do it.

Now that you know some of my favorite links courses in America, what do you think? Have you played any of these courses? If you have a favorite, please add it to my picks. Keep it on the short stuff.

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