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Saturday, 19 November 2016

Links Golf

I played Jerry Pate's Kiva Dunes today in a wind high enough to result in a small craft warning. It's a grand course. And it is a links course. But still, compared to the British links courses, I find it pales. Too much evidence of the hand of man in the design, and forced carries and bunkering that would make it an extremely difficult and unpleasant test for a high handicapper. I'm of the view that a great course must not just be a great test of golf, it must also be enjoyable to play for all level of golfers. 

There is golf, and there is British links golf. British links golf will always be the best kind of golf to play and, for my money, the Open will always be the best one to win. Now, I realize that my opinion doesn't amount to much, so I thought I'd share what Walter Hagen had to say on the subject. in his book, The Walter Hagen Story, the Haig had this to say:

    "For the second time the British links had defeated me. Here in America we have developed the finest of man-made courses in the world, but the real test of a golfer is a seaside links in the British Isles. Situated close beside the ocean, beset with rolling sand dunes and winds that whip off the channel and the seas, conditions change with the tide. The hazards are far greater than meet the eye. At Deal I had played shots where the wind picked the ball up and almost slapped it back in my face. At St Andrews I learned that distance was secondary to placing the ball accurately. I learned, also, that in order to be at the top of the golf profession, I must be able to play any course in the world in par."

The Haig learned to play links golf well enough to win four British Opens.