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Golf 101: Different Types of Golf Courses

Golf 101: Different Types of Golf Courses

Putting and sending the ball to a certain target is an underlying format of many sports, be it basketball, baseball, soccer, or golf. Aside from many other peculiarities of the game play, the setting in which sports are played also distinguish them from each other.

Among all the games, golf has unarguably the most extravagant, extensive, and detailed field of play. One can acknowledge the enormity of a golf course by the fact that dozens of basketball courts and baseball stadiums can be enfolded in a regular golf course.

Moreover, all golf courses are not the same and can be classified on the basis of several characteristics. For all those newbies going to foray into the realm of golf, it will be important to understand the difference between different golf courses. If we go into the details golf courses classification, then there are three distinct ways to tell them apart.

  • Size
  • Design
  • Accessibility

Let’s discuss each of this classification in detail.

Classification of Golf Course on the Basis of Size

Golf courses are classified according to different sizes. However, size doesn’t mean here the area on which a golfing facility has been built.  The size of the golf course is based on the number of holes and par rating. There are five different sizes of golf courses where you can satisfy your penchant for the game.

18-Hole Course

A regular golf course, which is referred whenever someone talks about the game, is an 18-hole facility. It consists of 18 holes in total and a mix of par rating. Majority of holes in a standard golf course are rated par-4, but par-3 and par-5 holes are also present on an 18-hole golf course.

Par ratings are set according to the terrain that surrounds a hole. Par-5 holes often have tricky trough around, while par-3 ones are relatively easier than the regular par-4 holes. 18-hole golf courses are spread across hundreds of acres of land and majority of the professional games are played there.

9-Hole Course

9-hole golf courses are just the contracted form of regular (18-hole) golf courses with fewer holes but with the same mix of par rating.


Executive Golf Courses

Executive golf courses can be comprised of 18 or 9-holes. But, they are shorter in size as compared to regular ones because of their lesser accumulative par-rating because executive golf courses usually have more par-3 holes. Executive golf courses are primarily built to offer quick games to ‘executives’ in their tight schedules.

Par-3 Golf Course  

These golf courses are shorter in size than the executive golf facilities because all holes have the same par-rating of three. Par-3 courses can be 9 or 18 holes both.

Pitch-and-Putt Courses

These are the shortest golf courses out there. As the name suggests, one can only play pitching and putting game there. Par ratings are usually not assigned to these golf courses. Pitch-and-putt golf courses are perfect for those part-timers who just want to entertain themselves with little golf flicks or the professionals who want to perfect their chipping and putting game.

Classification of Golf Course on the Basis of Design

 Golf courses can also be classified according to their aesthetic features, geographical location, and architectural design.

Link Courses

A link golf course is constructed along a coastline on a sandy platform. Greens of link courses are usually slow because of the protruding coastal grass. It is interesting to note that link courses are not regularly watered. Usually, rains take care of their flora. Numerous sandy bunkers are also a part of link course. It is said that the game of golf was developed along the coastline of Scotland. So, it won’t be wrong to say that golf born on the first link course.

Parkland Courses

A common image of a golf facility we are familiar with is a parkland course. It is decked with regularly maintained lush greens, manmade depressions and elevations and water hazards in the form of small lakes and ponds. A regular parkland golf course is spread over 100 acres of land. They are named as such due to their close resemblances with parks (large patches of green, trees and lakes etc).  Most of the championships and PGA tours take place on parkland courses.

Desert Courses

From a bird’s-eye view, a desert course looks like some splashes of green on the sandy and rocky canvas. In the majority of desert courses, only fairways and putting greens have manicured grass patches. Otherwise, the ‘roughs’ of usual golf courses are not present there. However, a mix of sand and cactus can be found instead of rough greens.

Desert courses are high-maintenance facilities because of their exigent geographical setting. Therefore, most of the desert courses are only found in petrodollar-rich Middle Eastern countries.


Classification of Golf Course on the Basis of Accessibility

Golf courses are also classified as per their accessibility.

Public Courses

Usually administered by a respective municipality, these golf courses are open for general public with minimal or no fee. Everyone with a knack for golf can satisfy their passion there. However, public golf courses don’t offer many amenities.

Resort Courses

Golf courses are also built as an amenity of a large resort facility with hotels, restaurants, spas, and pools. Aside from offering their services to members and guests, resort golf courses often have daily fee model in place to improve their ROI.

Private Courses

Private golf courses are standalone facilities, solely built to provide golfing services on a commercial basis. Some private golf courses offer their services like gyms i.e. through monthly or yearly memberships, while others offer a mix of membership and daily fee.

Golf Accessories are Required Everywhere

It doesn’t matter if you play on a windy, sandy coastline or an inland lush freeway, you will need golf accessories everywhere. So, prepare a set of golf clubs no matter which type of golf course you are heading to play. To beginners, we recommend starting from private or public golf courses before getting a full-time membership of a state-of-the-art golfing facility. 


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