The First Call Inbox

What's your course of choice?

The First Call readers share what type of course style is their favorite

Ballybunion Golf Club — Old Links
A view of the 11th hole at Ballybunion Golf Club's Old Course in County Kerry, Ireland.

Question of the week [July 17-23]: In 2020, explained the six type of golf courses — Links, Parkland, Heathland, Sandbelt, Stadium and Championship. Which type do you prefer to play and why?

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I like parkland-style courses mainly because I like definition off the tee and greens framed with bunkering. Tree-lined fairways are fine, but I don’t like to play in the middle of a forest. Bunkering to define doglegs is good. Bunkering around the greens and some fairways gives character to a lot of courses, plus provide challenges on tee shots and approaches. Although I need the distance you can get on firm and fast, my game seems to travel better on soft and lush. 

Barry Duckworth
Knoxville, Tennessee

First of all, I think the author of the article missed the mark a bit. What about desert courses? They have characteristics that are completely separate from any of the types the author mentions. Same with mountain courses. Another bone to pick — Stadium and championship courses? 

I can allow that stadium is a modern type of course with characteristics that define the type, but championship?  The author admits that that is just a big word that many course owners use that really doesn't mean anything. It definitely should not be elevated to the same status as links, parkland, etc.

Also, where do we place a highly respected new course such as Tara Iti? It's by the ocean, but it definitely doesn't have the feel of a true links course. The bunkering is more of the modern type, so which type is it? 

As to which type I prefer, I really don't have a single favorite. I love playing the links courses, but I also enjoy playing the other types as well.  Every type provides its own special flavor to your round.

John Abercrombie
Cape Girardeau, Missouri

For the money, I'll take a parkland course over every other type of course. 

I especially like playing a course where the fairways are outlined with trees. I believe it gives the course a better definition and allows you to define your tee shot better. Courses with definition off the tee box seem better in helping control my speed and tempo. 

Besides that, they are just prettier to look at. It's a beautiful walk in the park and, who knows, maybe a round of golf will break out.

Robert Fish 
Sun Lakes, Arizona

Links. Golf on sandy ground, which includes heathland and sandbelt and every other type of environment that is sandy ground that is not on the dunes next to the sea, is preferred.

Why? The ground is firm and fast, the grass is tight, and the ball bounces. The game starts in the air and the challenge and fun begins when the ball finds the ground and then makes it way over and around the hills and swales and plateaus and mounds that are between you and the pin.

Tends to be windy — 10 to 20 miles per hour is nice — but more just requires more planning and execution. And tends to be surrounded by beautiful views of the ocean.

Mark Chatfield
Houston, Texas

As a player, I prefer a tree-lined parkland golf course. The beauty of majestic, mature trees really impress me and suits my eye. Case in point, Oak Hill Golf Club in Rochester, New York, where the PGA Championship was just played. Here in Canada, my three favorite parkland golf courses are St. Georges Golf Club, Hamilton Golf Club and Kitchener Westmount Golf Club. All the mentioned golf courses are true classics and must be played.

Reid Farrill
Toronto, Ontario

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