Birkdale and beyond: the greatest golf links in the world

Links golf — on rugged sandhills linking the land to the sea — presents a particular test, where fresh winds, deep bunkers, rolling surfaces and deep rough challenges players to the end.

The list of courses on the current Open rotation includes some of the finest examples of links golf anywhere in the world.

Here’s a guide to those 10 tracks, plus some some alternative options nearby.

Venue for the 2017 Open Championship, Royal Birkdale is a powerhouse of a links with holes framed by towering dunes.

The Lancashire links, in northwest England, has been in existence since 1897 and is easily recognized by its 1930s art-deco clubhouse which looks like a liner.

The course fans seaward, with the two nines returning to the clubhouse, with flat fairways and fair greens rewarding accurate shots.

Ireland’s Padraig Harrington won the last of the nine Opens at Royal Birkdale in 2008.

Best course…

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