Links Golf Courses

The traditional Scottish Links courses are courses set in coastal areas which refers to a links course as being a rough grassy area between the sea and land. The links soil is sandy in nature and is renowned for the fast drainage which provides a firm surface all year round even in winter time being near the coast they are often frost and snow free. Rough is penal on a links course, it is allowed to grow to knee height and very difficult to extract a golf ball without penalty.

Because of the undulating nature of this terrain links holes were shaped to take into account the natural topography and normally designed 9 out and 9 in. Wind plays a factor around links courses which do not have sheltered wooded areas and are wide open to the coastal elements

Parkland Golf Courses

Normally located inland Parkland Courses are lush and green with narrow fairways enclosed by rough and trees. If you think of a long beautiful narrow strips of grass bordered by an abundance of trees with well manicured greens at the end you have a typical Parkland Course. Parkland courses are more inclined to have artificial hazards introduced but the course architect will use any existing features provided by the topography of the chosen ground

The parkland ground type is more likely to get waterlogged because of the soil type and quite often will need drainage solutions applied. When wet the ground conditions will mean the ball will roll shorter distances and course will become waterlogged and unplayable more easily.

Heathland Golf Courses

Heathland or Moorland golf courses are generally built on higher ground. The fairways tend to to be undulating and uneven with sharp changes in elevation, the ground topography is all that is required to create hazards with a few bunkers added, they are lined with heather and gorse and even clumps situated in the middle of the fairway, trees if any are usually Fir. Because the fairways are more open they are less manicured.

The soil is sandy in nature but slow to drain due to the peaty under soil. A few of the higher courses are closed for lengthy periods during the winter due to the snow and ice. Being higher up the views from the courses can be quite breathtaking,add the local wildlife a visit to a heathland course is rewarding.

The most widely accepted theory is that the modern game of golf originated in Scotland in the High Middle Ages

The first golf courses and clubs were established in the country.The first written rules originated in Scotland, as did the establishment of the 18 hole course thereafter he modern game was spread by Scots to the rest of the world.
Source (wikipedia Golf in Scotland).

The earliest reference to golf is the purchase of a set of golf clubs by James IV from a bowmaker of St Johnston(Perth)in 1502

Where he played is not known, but it is likely to have been on the open ground called the North Inch at Perth. It is recorded that Robert Maule of Panmure played golf at Carnoustie in the mid 16th century, as a wager for drink.

Around the same time, in 1552, John Hamilton the Archbishop of St Andrews granted the right of the people of St Andrews to play golf and gather turf on the links, retaining his rights to the rabbit warrens there.
Source (wikipedia Golf in Scotland)

The Old Links at Musselburgh Racecourse is claimed to be the oldest playing golf course in the world.

Evidence has shown that golf was played on Musselburgh Links in 1672, although Mary, Queen of Scots reputedly played there even earlier in 1567. An entry in the Edinburgh burgh records for 19 April 1592 includes golf in a list of pastimes to be avoided on the Sabbath.

The parish register for neighbouring South Leith records the appearance of four parishioners before the kirk session on 7 December 1610 who "confessed they had prophaned the Sabbath be playing at the gowffe in tyme off preaching and thairfore was ordained to mak thair publict repentance the nixt Sabboth.
Source (wikipedia Golf in Scotland)

To many golfers, the Old Course at St Andrews, an ancient links course dating to before 1574, is considered to be a site of pilgrimage

There are many other famous golf courses in Scotland, including Carnoustie, Gleneagles, Muirfield, Balcomie and Royal Troon. The world's first Open Championship was held at Prestwick in 1860. Although golf is often seen as an elitist sport elsewhere in the world, in the land of its birth it enjoys widespread appeal across the social spectrum, in line with the country's egalitarian tradition.

For example, the Old Course at St Andrews is a charitable trust and Musselburgh Links is public courses. Council-owned courses, with low fees and easy access, are common throughout the country wherever demography and geography allow. Therefore, golf courses, whether public or private, are far more common in the Lowlands than in the Highlands and Islands, where shinty (a game which may share a common ancestry with golf) is often the traditional sport.

One page that explains the history of golf in Scotland starts off by stating that, "There has been much debate as to the origins of the game and, in some cases, how it was originally played, One thing is certain — the game of golf as we know it was born in Scotland".
Source (wikipedia Golf in Scotland)

When James VI succeeded to the thrones of England and Ireland in 1603 (see Union of the Crowns) a large number of his Scottish courtiers followed him to London.

Scottish noblemen played golf on Blackheath, on the hill behind the palace. Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales, the king's eldest son, was playing golf in 1606. The Royal Blackheath Golf Club traces its origins from these Scottish noblemen, thus claiming a pre-1745 foundation date. Although it is certainly the oldest English golf club, and the oldest outwith Scotland, there is no evidence that it is the oldest golf club in the world, as is sometimes claimed.

This accolade is claimed by The Royal Burgess Golfing Society of Edinburgh who date back to 1735. The first record of North American golf was a consignment of 96 golfclubs and 432 golf balls which was shipped from Leith to Charleston, South Carolina, in 1743 and on 29 September 1786 Scottish merchants established the South Carolina Golf Club in Charleston, the first golf club in the United States.
Source (wikipedia Golf in Scotland)