Pros Reveal Their Favorite Links Courses

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Rory McIlroy: "Perhaps accurately called golf’s rightful home, St. Andrews tops my list for links courses. For me, it’s the layout, undulations, quirky holes and just so much history. The Road Hole, No. 17, is probably my favourite, but a good round can quickly become undone here. The town of St. Andrews really sets the tone, too. There’s just such a great atmosphere about the place -- golfers, spectators and a great student population as well." Pictured: Rory McIlroy and his father and playing partner Gerry McIlroy pose for a photograph on the Swilcan Bridge on the 18th hole during the second round of The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at The Old Course on October 2, 2009.
2 of 13 Courtesy of Waterville Golf Links
Graeme McDowell: "Waterville might be my favorite links course. It’s a great track with rugged dunes and beautiful views of the mountains and Ballinskelligs Bay. You just feel like you’re on another planet, cut off from the rest of the world, out there on the southwest tip of Ireland. And they serve a great pint of Guinness." Pictured: Waterville's No. 16, called "Liam's Ace."
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Ernie Els: “It’s got to be Muirfield. To me, it’s the fairest of all the courses on the Open rotation, with everything right there in front of you. It’s the kind of golf course where you can’t hide -- you have to drive it well, hit your irons well, have your short game working nicely and manage your game and your emotions. It reminds me a bit of Lytham. But where Lytham goes out and comes back, Muirfield moves in different directions on almost every shot you play. It’s just a wonderful design. The par-3s are unbelievable. Each and every hole is a little bit different. There’s left to rights, right to lefts, it all happens out there. It is the perfect links test." Pictured: The par-4 8th hole at Muirfield.
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Arnold Palmer: "I'd pick Royal Troon as my favorite links course. I won the Open there and played particularly well that week." Pictured: The 123-yard, par-3 8th hole known as the 'The Postage Stamp' at the Royal Troon Golf Club. Palmer won his second-straight claret jug at Troon in 1962.
5 of 13 Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Nicolas Colsaerts: "Fancourt (Links). Why? First because I hold the course record there! It’s linksy and on an unbelievable piece of land. It’s a Gary Player design, and he did a wonderful job mixing some short holes and some very long ones. You don’t really see one hole from another, which is great." Pictured: Colsaerts putts on the 17th green during the final round of the Volvo Golf Champions at The Links at Fancourt on January 22, 2012.
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Harris English: "I really loved playing Muirfield last year at the British Open, perhaps because my expectations weren’t that high. With links golf, you can hit good shots and get bad bounces. But not so much at Muirfield -- there’s a premium on ball striking." Pictured: The par-4 18th hole and clubhouse at Muirfield.
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Mark Calcavecchia: "Royal Troon is my favorite links course because I won the Open there in 1989! I loved the course at first sight. Every hole just fit my eye." Pictured: A general view of the 'Postage Stamp,' par-3 8th green with the town of Ayr behind.
8 of 13 Fred Vuich
Ben Curtis: "I love links golf, and Carnoustie is a great test all around. The last three holes -- a bruising par-3 and two long par-4s -- make for a rugged finish, especially because of the burn that runs through everything. It’s a tough, tough stretch. In a way, because of the trees on the couse, you almost feel like you’re not in Scotland."
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Jeong Jang: "Royal Birkdale, obviously because I won there at the Women's British Open in 2005."
10 of 13 Mark Newcombe / www.visionsingolf.com
Stacy Lewis selected St. Andrews, where she won the Women's British Open in 2013 by two strokes over Na Yeon Choi and Hee Young Park. Pictured: The 18th green and the clubhouse at the Old Course at St. Andrews.
11 of 13 AP Photo/Matt Dunham
Henrik Stenson: "Of the British Open courses, I most like Birkdale. It’s a little bit less bumpy and fiddly than some of the other Open venues, like St. George’s, which is my least favorite out of the Open courses because you can hit it down the middle and end up in the rough. I like Birkdale because if you hit it in the fairways, it stays on the fairways." Pictured: The 11th green at Royal Birkdale during the 2008 British Open.
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Trevor Immelman selected St. Andrews. He finished tied for 23rd at the 2010 British Open held there. Pictured: The approach to the par-5 14th hole on the Old Course at St Andrews.
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Brittany Lincicome won the 2010 Women's British Open at Royal Birkdale but selected the Old Course at St. Andrews as her favorite links course. Pictured: The green on the par-4 15th hole 'Cartgate (In)' which shares its green with the 3rd hole (left) on the Old Course at St Andrews.