When it's sunny outside, you've got a couple of good friends in tow, and a little extra cash to spend on a fun few hours, there are few activity options that are as fun as golf. Whether you're a serious player attempting to master his or her backswing, or a complete newbie who's just bought a set of clubs, working your way through a golf course is a great way to spend an evening.

types of golf courses

Before you pick a course to play at, however, it's important that you know all about the different types of golf courses so that you can make the most out of your experience. In this article, we'll do just that by introducing you to the three principal types of golf courses: links, parklands, and deserts.


By far the most common slang term to refer to a golf course (“hit the links”), the word links actually technically refers to a specific type of golf course. Such a golf course is one that is built on sandy land, with narrow strips of fairway. It allows the natural landscape and environment to dictate the look and layout of the course.

The consequence of this is that the roll and pitch of the fairways are consistent with the natural features of whatever geographic location the course is in. In addition, wind can be a big factor on these courses due to the fact that no artificial structures are built up to protect the course from the wind.

Most purists will pick 18 holes on a links course above any other type of course.


A parkland course, in stark contrast to a links course, is very artificial and man-made. The builders of the course will intentionally alter the lay of the land, including everything from natural vegetation to elevation changes, in order to make the course more fun.

The grass is greener and better manicured and the wind is less of a factor due to a buildup of trees on either side of the fairway. Most of the golf courses found in the United States are parkland courses, given the fact that the natural environment is rarely suitable for a links course.

Desert Course

Last but not least, we have the desert course. This type of golf course is exactly what it sounds like: a golf course built in the desert. Much irrigation is required to keep the grass green, which will stick out like a sore thumb in the presence of the rest of the area's natural environment.

Use this guide from GolfDay to find courses of all of the above three types around the US.

Different Types of Golf Courses, Explained

Now that you know the different types of golf courses out there, you know which one you would find the most enjoyment playing on. Your location may often limit you to a parkland course, but if you have the option, playing on a links or desert course can really complete your golf repertoire.

For more golf insight, be sure to check out the rest of the articles available to read on the website!