As The (British) Open Tees Off, Where Can You Play Links Golf Here?
This is a big weekend for golf fans around the world. The Open is taking place in Scotland, at St. Andrews. Here we call it 'The British Open', but the rest of the world just knows it as 'The Open'. And if you flip on your TV or phone, you'll inevitably hear or see the term "links golf". But what is links golf, and can you play it here, in southwest Michigan?
First of all, what is links-style golf? According to golfspan.com, a links golf course is a "golf course that has few trees, a lot of wind, thick grasses or thick heather, and a lot of bunkers. They are built on sandy soil and in most cases are on a coastline of a body of water. The term “links” actually has Scottish origins and means 'rising ground' or 'ridge'”. Sports-talker Dan Patrick says links golf is more about finesse than power. It's not just a matter of pulling out your driver and banging away. You've got to deal with more wind, more bunkers, more tall grass, i.e., some of the peculiarities of the layout and design of the course.
There are several links-style golf courses around Southwest Michigan that come highly recommended. In-between the immediate Kalamazoo-Battle Creek area is Stoatin' Brae, the newest addition to the Gull Lake View golf courses. It is built in one of the highest points in Kalamazoo County. If you look at an overview picture of the course, it's just says "links course".
Arcadia Bluffs is another course that gets high praise. It's north of Manistee along Lake Michigan, and the pictures just say "links golf." Arcadia would fit right in a seaside resort in Scotland.
And if you're not a golfer, see if you can ride along with one, as the scenery is well worth it.