A links is the oldest style of golf course, first developed in Britain. The word "links" comes via the Scots language from the Old English word hlinc : "rising ground, ridge" and refers to an area of coastal sand dunes and sometimes to open parkland. Linksland is typically characterised by dunes, an undulating surface, and a sandy soil unsuitable for arable farming but which readily supports various indigenous browntop bents and red fescue grasses, that result in the firm turf associated with links courses and the 'running' game. It also retains this more general meaning in the Scottish English dialect. It can be treated as singular even though it has an "s" at the end and occurs in place names that precede the development of golf, for example Lundin Links, Fife.
Geographic location and course management
Links courses tend to be on, or at least very near to, a coast, and the term is typically associated with coastal courses, often amid dunes, with few water hazards and few, if any, trees. This reflects both the nature of the scenery where the sport happened to originate and the fact that only limited resources were available to golf course architects at the time and any moving of soil had to be done by hand, so it was kept to a minimum. Even today, some links courses do not employ a greens staff, use only basic machinery such as hole cutters without boards to ensure that the hole is cut unevenly, and use grazing animals to keep the grass cropped.