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What is a Lynx Golf Course?

a golf course with a flag on the ground

Hello, golf enthusiasts! Today, we’re going to delve into the fascinating world of lynx golf courses. Now, if you’re scratching your head and wondering, “What is a lynx golf course?” don’t worry. You’re in the right place! In essence, a lynx golf course, also known as a links course, is the oldest style of golf course, first developed in Scotland. These courses are typically located in coastal areas, on sandy soil often amid dunes, with few water hazards and few, if any, trees.

When you hear the word ‘lynx,’ you might conjure up images of the wild cat species, but in this context, it has a completely different connotation. The term ‘links’ originates from the Old English word ‘hlinc,’ which refers to rising ground or ridge and describes the sandy dunes or undulating terrain often found on these courses. Now that we’ve set the stage let’s delve deeper into the rich history and origins of the lynx golf course.

History and Origin of Lynx Golf Course

The history of the Lynx Golf Course takes us all the way back to Scotland, where the game of golf was born. The original courses were laid out on land that was of little use to anyone, often because it was too sandy and barren to grow crops. Golfers had to contend with the natural landscape, including undulating terrain, sand dunes, and the ever-present coastal winds. These naturally occurring features gave rise to the unique characteristics that define a lynx golf course.

The term was first used to describe the course in Leith near Edinburgh, Scotland, in the 15th century. As golf began to grow in popularity, the style of the lynx course was adopted in other coastal regions of Scotland, Ireland, and England. The Old Course at St. Andrews, a classic example of a lynx golf course, is considered the “home of golf” and has been in existence since the 15th century.

The 19th century saw the expansion of golf to other parts of the world, and with it, the Lynx style of golf course was also exported. Courses started popping up in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, many of which were designed to mimic the characteristics of the original Scottish Lynx golf courses.

Characteristics of a Lynx Golf Course

So, what sets a Lynx golf course apart from other golf courses? Firstly, the location is key. Lynx courses are typically found in coastal areas, built on sandy soil, often amid dunes. This results in a firm, fast-running course with a raw, rugged feel. Unlike other golf courses, you won’t find lush, manicured fairways and greens here. Instead, the turf is often thin, and the ground underneath is hard, which can make for a challenging round of golf.

Another defining feature of a Lynx golf course is its layout. The courses are often arranged in a linear fashion, with the first nine holes extending out from the clubhouse and the second nine leading back. This layout, combined with the coastal location, means that golfers often have to contend with changing wind directions, adding an extra layer of difficulty to the game.

Lastly, a lynx golf course is typically devoid of any water hazards or trees, a stark contrast to the parkland-style courses found in many parts of the world. Instead, the main challenges come from the natural features of the landscape, such as sand dunes, gorse bushes, and the ever-present wind.

The Importance of Weather in Lynx Golf Course

Weather plays a crucial role in the lynx golf course. Due to their coastal location, these courses are often at the mercy of the elements. Wind, in particular, is a significant factor. It can change direction quickly and drastically, adding an unpredictable element to each round. On a windy day, a hole that was easy in the morning can become a nightmare by the afternoon.

Rain, too, can alter the course conditions significantly. While a heavy downpour can soften the hard ground, a light drizzle combined with wind can make the course slippery and the ball hard to control. However, it’s these unpredictable weather conditions that make playing on a lynx golf course such a unique and exciting experience.

Despite the challenges, many golfers relish the opportunity to test their skills against the elements on a lynx course. It forces them to adapt their game, think creatively, and use every club in their bag. So, if you’re the type of golfer who enjoys a challenge and doesn’t mind a bit of adverse weather, a Lynx Golf course could be just the ticket!

Lynx Golf Course vs Other Types of Golf Courses

Now you might be wondering, how does a lynx golf course compare to other types of courses? Well, there are several key differences. As mentioned earlier, one of the main differences lies in the terrain. While lynx courses are built on sandy soil and feature a rugged, natural landscape, other types of courses, such as parkland or woodland courses, are often lush, green, and manicured.

Another difference is the presence (or lack) of trees and water hazards. While these features are common on many golf courses, they are notably absent on a lynx course. Instead, the main hazards come from the natural landscape and the weather.

Lastly, the style of play on a lynx course is often different. The firm, fast-running fairways and greens encourage a ground game, where players aim to keep their ball low and let it run. On other courses, a more aerial game is often required, with players needing to carry the ball over hazards and land it softly on the greens.

Famous Lynx Golf Courses Around the World

Now that we’ve covered the what, why, and how of lynx golf courses, it’s time to take a quick tour of some of the most famous lynx golf courses around the world. Let’s start with the Old Course at St Andrews, arguably the most famous golf course in the world. This course has hosted The Open Championship a record 29 times and is renowned for its unique features, including the double greens and the infamous ‘Hell Bunker’.

Next, there’s the Royal County Down in Northern Ireland, consistently ranked as one of the top golf courses in the world. With the stunning Mourne Mountains as a backdrop and the Irish Sea on the horizon, this course offers a golfing experience like no other.

Across the pond in the United States, you’ll find the Pebble Beach Golf Links in California. While this course is not a traditional lynx course, it shares many characteristics, including its coastal location and rugged, natural beauty. It has hosted multiple US Open Championships and is a favorite among both professionals and amateurs.


In conclusion, a lynx golf course offers a unique and challenging golfing experience. From their coastal locations and natural terrain to the unpredictable weather conditions, these courses require skill, creativity, and adaptability. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or a newbie, playing on a lynx course is an experience not to be missed. So why not give it a try? You never know, you might just find your new favorite golf course!

As always, keep swinging, and we’ll see you on the course!

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