A Complete Guide to All the Different Types of Golf Courses

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A Complete Guide to All the Different Types of Golf Courses

A Complete Guide to All the Different Types of Golf Courses

All golf courses are the same, right? Not at all! A golf course can be sorted into multiple categories, including the style of landscape, the amount of time it takes to play the course, and what sort of access people have to the course.

Read on to learn more about the different types of golf courses. Armed with this knowledge, you'll be equipped to decide which of the types of golf courses best suits your playing style.

Landscape Style

Golf course architecture is an art form. Many courses incorporate elements of the natural setting into their designs. How the architect uses or reshapes the natural terrain determines the landscape category of the course. Most American courses fall into one of three main types.

Links Course

Golf originated in Scotland, and links golf, too, has its roots in Scotland. Links courses are built on narrow sections of sandy land between coast and farmland.

Links courses work with the natural landscape of these strips of lands along the Scottish and Irish coasts. They incorporate the land's slopes and turns, and the fairways often have a natural roll to them. Wind can be a major factor in the game on a links course.

Even though purists claim that true links courses are located only in the part of the world where they originated, courses built in the links tradition are found worldwide.

Parkland Course

A manicured golf course with careful landscaping and an abundance of green grass and trees is usually known as a parkland course. The land is more tailored, so fairways are typically smooth.

Unlike links courses, which are, by definition, found in coastal areas, parkland courses are often far from the shore. Most golf courses in the United States are parkland courses.

The video below compares and contrast these two types of courses:

Desert Course

Courses in the desert are often an oasis of green amidst the area's dry, sandy landscape. Although these courses work with the natural sand dunes and other features of the terrain, their abundant grass is unnatural for the area. Much irrigation is required.

Desert courses are found only in parts of the world with a dry, desert climate.

Which type is St. George's? Built in the early 20th century, St. George's was designed to reflect the links style of courses. Architect Devereux Emmet had spent much type studying and exploring British links courses before beginning work on St. George's.

Length of Play

Unlike many sports, golf does not have a regulation field size. Differing hole lengths and challenges on each course mean that it takes less time to play some courses than others.

Executive Course

Designed for quick play, an executive course focuses on holes that can be made within a reasonably short time frame. It is ideal for executives who need to get back to the office or are on their way home after a long day at work.

Low-par holes speed up the time that it takes to play an executive course. The course leans toward par-3 holes with just a few par-4 or par-5 holes thrown in.

An executive course can have 9 or 18 holes. An 18-hole executive course is usually no higher than par 65.

For what type of players is an executive course suited? Watch the video below to find out:

Regulation Course

These are 18-hole courses that have a higher par than executive courses. The majority of the holes on a standard golf course are par 4s. The remaining holes are a mix of par 3s and par 5s.

Many regulation golf courses are known as championship courses, even if they may never host an official championship. These courses have excellent playing surfaces, and they are often par-72 courses. However, this is not an official standard, and championship courses are sometimes par 70 or 71.

Which type is St. George's? An 18-hole, par-70 course, St. George's is a championship regulation course.

Course Access

There is a fee to play at pretty much any golf course. However, some courses charge you each time you visit while others offer the opportunity to pay upfront for continual access to the facilities.

Municipal Course

Golf facilities that are owned by a city or other municipality are known as municipal courses. You pay a fee each time that you visit one of these courses. Sometimes, these are the cheapest pay-as-you-go courses, but fees may be different for residents and non-residents.

Daily-fee Course

Like a municipal course, a daily-fee course is fully open to the public. However, it's privately owned instead of being operated by a municipality.

Semi-private Course

At a semi-private course, you can pay to play each time, or you can purchase a membership. By becoming a member of a semi-private club, you may receive preferred or unlimited access to tee times.

Although this seems like a cross between a public course and a private country club, semi-private clubs don't usually offer as many amenities as a fully private club.

An offshoot of this access style is the resort course. In this setup, a resort or hotel owns a course to which guests have access, but non-guests may also be able to pay for a tee time.

Private Course

Country clubs and golf clubs own private courses. To play on these courses, you become a member of the club by paying an initiation fee and annual dues. These fees may grant you unlimited access to the club's facilities.

Most private clubs allow members to bring guests, but the general public does not have the opportunity to book a tee time. Limited access means that clubs are often less crowded than courses that are open to the public.

Private golf courses often boast additional benefits for members, such as dining rooms, clubhouses and social events.

Which type is St. George's? The top-100 golf course at St. George's Golf and Country Club is a private course, reserved for members.

Types of Golf Courses for You

Golfers are as varied as the different types of golf courses. Casual golfers may prefer to stick with stopping in at the municipal parkland course once or twice a year. Those more committed to the game will appreciate what a challenging-yet-enjoyable, championship-level private golf club has to offer.

Posted: 4/3/2018 2:13:41 PM by Brian Curtin | with 0 comments

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