The golf at Highland Links is links golf. I’ve played Bandon and St. Andrews, as well as a number of burned-out western New York courses through a hot summer. My game flexes easily from high-and-soft to low-and-running. Highland Links offers you the opportunity to play low and running on most holes; on some holes, it’s the only option.re is a confluence of good and bad today. The good is my golf game rounding into form; the bad is my inability to capture images the way I wanted at Highland Links. You’ll see a few below, but the sad fact is, I culled fewer from this picturesque reserve on the outward neck than I normally do. I’m frustrated, because the photography is as important to me as the playing of the golf.
It’s common for folks to peg the ball on hole number one and expect to score low. Caution: expectations add pressure. From the tee at the short first, a wee par four, to the green of the second, a courageous two-shotter, many hopes and dreams derived from score are shattered and lost to the wind. At a links course, score is rarely a top-three element of importance. It’s the walking, the bounce, run and roll of the golf ball and the weather that makes the links experience unforgettable and true.
The third hole at Truro (the town that Highland Links calls home) reminds me of the second at the original course at Bandon Dunes. You face this massive, uphill tee ball to a par three, whose green appears as a neighbor to Heaven and you ask yourself, is this links golf? Yes, it is, just as sure as the downhill tee ball you hit on the second seemed to float forever before descending to the fairway.
A number of the holes have multiple teeing options. In my mind, the alternatives on two and eight aren’t worth playing, for the simple reason that they straighten the hole and eliminate the prudence required to judge the proper angle of play. The remaining holes (three, seven and nine are par threes; four, five and six are long holes that derive their grandeur from the land itself; one is a straightforward, par three-and-a-half) don’t require the use of distinct angles in their development.
One of the marvelous revelations of links golf to the American schooled on lush grasses and dark soil is the inability to hit a shot fat. You may decelerate, but you won’t chunk the ball. The club will bounce into the little white orb and you’ll rocket it over the green. Links golf demands that you hit down and through the ball, taking a proper divot. Whether you’re spinning the ball to a stop or playing a runner that lands a good thirty yards short of the green, the methodology is the same.
Highland Links affords an American links experience. There’s no need for pipes nor Gaelic songs. It’s a course far out on Cape Cod, about twenty minutes shy of Provincetown. It’s unlike anything else in the state, the region, nearly in the country. It stands on its own and merits a trip. If you tee off in the wee hours of the morning (or in the gloaming of the post-dinner hours) you’ll zip around the course in no time at all; you may even stay for a second go. Remember that, if physically possible, it’s in the walking.