We played The Links at Gettysburg on Sunday, August 26, 2018. The course is a one hour drive from Montgomery County, MD, and a couple of miles east of the famous Pennsylvania battlefield. There are six sets of tees that make this a fun and playable experience for golfers of all abilities. We challenged ourselves from the whites which play at 6,277 yards with a rating/slope of 70.5/136.
This course is known for its beautiful scenery and excellent conditioning and did not disappoint. The architect did a great job fashioning several holes out of the local red rock and presenting them as mini-cathedrals surrounding the greens. They use a lot of hard red sand in their bunkers, which looks a bit unusual but is fine to play from. As the course is located in the rolling countryside, there are many elevation changes but none too severe, and we didn’t find any holes that were tricked up or unfair. The course is also bordered by some very large and beautiful homes, but you don’t feel as if they are on top of you.
From the whites, most of the par-4s are under 400 yards and if you are hitting your driver well, you can score. Greens are bent-grass and were rolling medium fast and very true. There is significant mounding and sloping on the putting surfaces that make chipping and putting from above the hole ill-advised. The rough was cut at medium height and didn’t kill your chances to recover from a stray shot.
From a ball striking perspective the front nine plays fairly easy with the reachable par-5 4th hole offering a great scoring opportunity at 457 yards. The back is more difficult. On this day, I was fortunate enough to hit #4 with a six-iron and drain my eagle putt. After going out in 1-under 35, I managed a birdie on the par-4 10th hole and followed with a couple of pars. Just when I thought I was rolling, I ran into the buzz saw at 13, 14, and 15. These three straight holes bring water into play all down the left side – on every shot. If you fight a hook, you are in trouble. My big miss is a pull hook and I had not seen one all day. But with all that water left, and a strong wind blowing in my face, #13 got in my head and I pushed a drive into trouble and carded a triple. The par-5 14th was playing 531 yards into the same wind and I left a couple more shots right but managed to salvage par. The par-3 15th finally gobbled up one of my big misses into its leftward watery grave and left me with a deflating double on the card.
With no water left on the remaining three holes, I managed to right the ship and finish strong with a par-birdie-par run for a 2-over 74.
- #1 tee shot. We got a lot of conflicting advise on what to hit at this blind downhill short par 4. From the white tees, you need about 210 yards on your shot. Don’t take more else you will go through the fairway into trouble. I didn’t take enough club and left myself with a longer approach into this green that is protected in front by a steep stone wall.
- #4 tee shot on the short 457 yard par 5. Hit it over the pine tree on the left, closest to the fairway. My tee shot was aimed at the middle of the fairway and I pulled it a bit only to see it roll to the extreme right side of the fairway. Everything bounces and rolls right.
- #8 tee shot is a precision placement play. The hole has trouble short and an elongated fairway bunker long that abuts a rock cliff. Hit it 180 yards from the white tees and you’ll have something between 80 and 110 yards in from the middle of the fairway.
- #11 tee is a 345 yard gentle dogleg right. The wind was blowing left to right and I took 3wd which was a good play. Looks like driver may be too much here.
- #13-15, as previously mentioned, try to block out the water left 🙂
- #18 is another short par-5 but has water in front challenging you to go for it. On the tee shot, aim slightly to the right of the pump house. There is ample room past the water to land your shot but it’s mostly rough. If you can fade one in, you can follow the contour of the fairway, which you cannot see well on your second shot. If you don’t have a good yardage, layup left for an easy wedge shot third.
Value (4.0 out of 5.0)
The regular weekend rate to play is $79 before 11 a.m. We played between 11:00 and 2:00 p.m. when the rate drops to $59. They offer a senior discount of $44 which we played on. This includes your cart but range balls $5.00 are extra. At the regular rates, the quality of this course justifies the price. At the senior rate, the value is outstanding.
Facilities (3.5 out of 5.0)
There is a 16 station driving range with mats and grass tees. Next to the range is a small practice area for chipping and bunker work. Back by the clubhouse are two medium small putting greens. The surfaces are beautiful, but if the course gets busy, crowding might be a small issue. Behind the clubhouse and pro shop, and overlooking the 18th green, there is a grill where the attendant fixes your burgers and drinks. There was some music going softly and a bit of a festive atmosphere when we finished our round. Seemed like a great 19th hole spot.
Customer Experience (4.0 out of 5.0)
There was one club attendant at the bag drop and he took our bags and loaded us promptly upon our arrival. The pro shop staff was very professional and got us checked in quickly and our starter and on course marshal were friendly and helpful, although we could have used some better advice on the first tee on how to play the hole. They tell you to hit it 160-190 yards, but take 210, as I have indicated above. There was ample cold drinking water on the course and the beverage cart hit us up two or three times during the round. We played as a twosome and while going off at 11:12 a.m. didn’t have to wait on any shots, nor did we get pushed by anyone from behind. It was a truly relaxing and delightful day on the course.
Overall Rating (3.75 out of 5.0)
The Links at Gettysburg provided excellent conditioning, value, and a fun day. The one-hour drive from the Washington D.C. area is well worth the trip. I will be back.