THE LINKS AT GETTYSBURG
Course Architects: Lindsay Bruce Ervin and Steve Klein
Year Opened: 1999
Location: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Slope: 140. Rating: 73.9
Hole-by-Hole: 1 - Par 4 394 Yds 10 - Par 4 395 Yds
2 - Par 4 395 Yds 11 - Par 4 396 Yds
3 - Par 3 187 Yds 12 - Par 3 163 Yds
4 - Par 5 510 Yds 13 - Par 4 440 Yds
5 - Par 4 371 Yds 14 - Par 5 575 Yds
6 - Par 3 183 Yds 15 - Par 3 233 Yds
7 - Par 5 600 Yds 16 - Par 4 490 Yds
8 - Par 4 323 Yds 17 - Par 4 441 Yds
9 - Par 4 396 Yds 18 - Par 5 539 Yds
Par 36 3,359 Yds Par 36 3,672 Yds
Key Events Held: The Gettysburg Championship (Futures Tour) - (2006-07).
Awards Won: Rated 4 stars by Golf Digest - Best Places to Play (2005-06),
Ranked #9 by Golfweek - America's Best State by State Public-
access courses (Pennsylvania, 2006).
HISTORY: Located just across the Maryland-Pennsylvania border on, you guessed
it, Mason Dixon Road, The Links at Gettysburg congers up memories of the Civil
War and The Battle of Gettysburg. In fact, you'll need your full arsenal to
attack this breathtaking layout.
Originally laid out by Lindsay Ervin and finished by land developer Stephen
Klein, the cousin of the owner, Rick Klein. A member of the American Society
of Golf Course Architects since 1979, Ervin has had his hand in several
outstanding projects in the Mid-Atlantic region, including Hog Neck Golf
Course and Queenstown Harbor Golf Links in Maryland.
Opened in 1999, The Links at Gettysburg received a four-star rating in just
three years in Golf Digest's Places to Play and is ranked in the top-10 in the
state of Pennsylvania for public-access courses by Golfweek.
Just recently, the course played host to the Duramed Futures Tour, the
developmental circuit for the LPGA Tour. Song-Hee Kim needed a playoff on the
final day, but she was able to overcome Jin Young Pak and win The Gettysburg
Championship in 2006. Kim closed with a four-under 68 to get to 10-under-par
206. Pak, who led by two after two rounds, managed a one-under 71 in the final
round to join Kim in the playoff, but lost on the second extra hole. Kristy
McPherson, who finished alone in third, set the tournament record 18-hole
score of 64 in the second round.
REVIEW: The course opens with a sharp, dogleg left, downhill par four. Under
400 yards in length, the first requires just a fairway metal off the tee to
set up a wedge to the green. The landing area is devoid of sand and fairly
tight, with trees and a steep slope left, so bail out right to avoid disaster.
Your approach to the green drops off severely from the fairway, so club
yourself appropriately. The large, sloping putting surface is fronted by a
creek bed and a rock wall with one trap deep and one, short and left. Just a
precursor of some of the striking holes at Gettysburg.
In contrast, the second is an uphill, dogleg-right par four, roughly the same
yardage as the opener. The fairway is quite ample, so let it rip with the big
stick for a short-iron to the green. The second shot plays across a ravine to
a green fronted by a deep bunker. The putting surface is very wide and
undulating. Make sure you take enough club to get home in two, as the green
sits above the fairway.
Easily one of the signature holes at the Links at Gettysburg, the third is an
outstanding, downhill par three featuring a spectacular red rock cliff behind
the green. A mid- to long-iron is required to negotiate the creek bed and
reach the very wide putting surface. Sand protects the entire rear portion of
the putting surface, prior to reaching the rock wall. The green is extremely
undulating, so even if your successful off the tee, a two-putt is no
The par-five fourth is most definitely a birdie hole. Just 510 yards from the
tips, the hole plays downhill as it bends to the left. A sweeping draw down
the left side will set up a mid- to long-iron to an inviting green. The long
putting surface features a ridge down the middle, as putts slope from left to
right. Long is jail, as it drops 25 feet over the green. Anything worse than
par and you'll lose a couple to the field. This hole is rated as the easiest
on the front side.
Not much to the straightaway, par-four fifth. The lone obstacle off the tee is
a fairway trap, 250 yards out down the right side. Avoid that and you're home
free for a realistic shot at birdie. The green features two massive bunkers,
one on each side and a long putting surface, sloping to the front and to the
back. Staying below the hole should give you a shot at a three.
A fairly plain par three, the sixth is just a mid-iron in length with a pair
of traps towards the rear of the green. The defense of the hole is the
massive, 7,400 square foot green that slopes from back to front. Any mishit
off the tee could result in a three-putt.
Without a doubt, the seventh is one of the hardest holes on the course and not
because of the length. The longest hole on the course at 600 yards from the
gold tees, this par five features a very difficult tee shot. From an elevated
tee, the view is spectacular, but the shot ahead is scary. The hole bends
towards the right with water on both sides of the sliver of fairway. A big
blast down the right should clear the hazard, however any type of mishit will
be wet. The fairway continues its narrow ride to the green, with mounding on
both sides and a 30-yard trap on the right side of the approach area. A common
mistake is not taking enough club for your third shot to the slightly elevated
putting surface. One trap, short and right guards the slick, back-to-front
green. Par is a great score!
Another sensational hole, the par-four eighth is a gem with multiple options.
Just 323 yards from the tips, the dogleg left features a 20-foot high red rock
wall behind the fairway and green and wetlands down the left side and in front
of the tee. Option one. Long-iron or hybrid to the right fairway, leaving a
wedge to the green. Option two. Five-metal short of the fairway bunkers, with
just a pitch to the putting surface for birdie. Finally, a big, high draw with
the driver as you go for the green in an effort for a routine three. Who said
short couldn't be fun.
The closing hole on the outward nine is a straightaway, solid uphill par four.
The multi-tiered tee box overlooks a ravine fronting the fairway that rises to
the green. A pair of fairway traps down the right side are 45 yards in length,
while a stand of trees guard the left. The fairway is undulating and rarely
features a level lie as you try to gauge your approach shot. Take an extra
club as you climb to the fairly large putting green. The surface slopes from
back to front with bunkers on either side and a grass hollow in the rear.
Birdies can be made if you stay below the hole.
Following a brief cart ride, the back is a tale of two different nines, as the
final holes feature plenty of water. The 10th is a simple dogleg-left par four
of 395 yards in length. A fairly wide fairway should accommodate even some
offline hits, however any ball missing the landing area will result in bogey
or worse. Mounds and deep rough guard both sides of the fairway and four
distinct bunkers cover the right side. A successful tee shot will leave just a
wedge to a downhill green with two large traps left and one deep. The putting
surface slopes hard from left to right and back to front, so stay below the
hole at all costs.
Although rated one of the easier holes on the course, the 11th is anything
but. Similar in length to four other holes on the course, this par four plays
downhill and doglegs to the right. Trees and out of bounds guard the entire
right side through the green, while the left side features mounding and tall
fescue. What makes this hole difficult is the water that lurks down the left
side by the landing area. A fade down the right will set up a short-iron to a
well-guarded green with sand left and right. A word of caution, any shot long
will be tree bound, as the green drops off severely.
As close to an island green as you're going to get in central Pennsylvania,
the 12th is a challenging par three with water surrounding the entire putting
surface. The green is quite wide and deep with a ridge running in the center
from left to right. A pair of bunkers in the rear will keep you honest, but
with a short- to mid-iron in hand, par should be no problem.
Another bear of a hole, the 13th is one of the longest par four's on the
course, stretching 440 yards from the tips with a pair of lakes down the left
and trees and out-of-bounds on the right. Angling from right to left, this
hole is two-fold, requiring an accurate and long tee shot to a very narrow
fairway and a mid- to long-iron to a very difficult green. The lake by the
green creeps ever so close to the putting surface, making club selection from
the fairway crucial. The green is very undulating and large, making two-
putting a chore.
The only difference between 13 and 14 is the length, as the latter is 135
yards longer and plays as a par five. Once again, two bodies of water guard
the left side, while trees and OB flank the right. The fairway is extremely
tight as the hole bends to the left. Your approach shot to the layup area is
even tighter with water left, a trap on each side and the cart path protruding
on the right. If successful, just a wedge will remain to an accessible green,
so birdie is a definite possibility.
Usually par three's are ranked as the easiest on the course, well not the 15th
at The Links. This monster is a whopping 233 yards from the back markers, 200
of which is all carry over a lake. The water runs down the left side of the
green to add insult to injury. The putting surface is very long and when the
wind is up, this could be one of the hardest targets to hit, even with a
cannon. Making par here could be an amazing feat.
It doesn't get any easier as you reach the 16th, the longest par four on the
course at 490 yards. Water down the left is the first obstacle. Then a drive
of over 220 yards is needed just to reach the fairway. No bunkers in the
fairway, but mounding right and thick rough lines the landing area. A hybrid
or long-iron remains to a slightly elevated putting surface, fronted by a red
rock bed. Two bunkers guard the entrance to the green and two stand deep. The
surface flows sharply from back to front with a ridge on the left. This is
certainly not a birdie hole, unless you're playing from the forward tees.
Bending to the right, the sleek, par-four 17th is another solid hole. Water
again reigns supreme, with 200 yards of carry over a lake and another body of
water down the entire left side of the fairway. Bailing out right is no
bargain either, as a deep fairway bunker guards the corner of the dogleg, not
to mention thick brush and fescue outside the cart path through the green. The
elevated putting surface is guarded by a double-trap in front and the green
itself is very undulating, especially deep.
The closing hole is a stellar, dogleg-right par five, featuring all of the
attributes that you witnessed throughout your round at The Links. Start out
with water down the left side off the tee and on both sides of the fairway at
the landing area for your approach. Two traps guard the corner of the dogleg
from the tee, not to mention out of bounds (poorly marked past the traps) on
the right. More water encompasses the rear of the green like a horseshoe with
a beautiful and dramatic, 30-foot red-rock wall as a sensational back drop.
What a great finish!
FINAL WORD: The Links at Gettysburg is one of the prettiest and scenic courses
in the region. Offering sensational views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, slick
undulating greens and plenty of water (14 holes have the wet stuff). The red
rock canyons and creek beds are beautiful, especially the third, eighth and
The course features five sets of tees. In fact, the tee markers are replica
copies of Civil War cannons. Yardages vary from 4,861 to just over 7,000
yards, so it's fair for all levels of play.
A few things do bother me about The Links at Gettysburg. First of all, the
yardage guide which is bolted to the cart is useless. For example...the
seventh hole yardages are not enough to make a decisive club selection off the
tee. In addition, there are no green depths in the guide.
Secondly, make sure you bring your own drinks. Does $3 for a Gatorade or
similar product sound fair? I think not, especially when you're shelling out
$80 for a round of golf.
Finally, the course conditions. The website raves about their immaculate
conditioning, however when played in the middle of August prior to the Futures
Tour event, the surroundings were less than ideal. The greens were spotty and
the tee boxes were rough. Even some of the hazards were overgrown, like the
Overall, The Links at Gettysburg is a terrific, well-conceived layout with
just a few average holes. From the Baltimore and Washington-area it's just a
mere hour away, but from Philadelphia, getting there is not the easiest of
chores, but it's worth the ride. The question is, would I drive another two
hours and play it again? Yes, but I would call first to check on aeration
schedules and course conditions.