Crusaders Games

Microsoft Course Designs

Microsoft produced some great original real courses available for the game of Links. Some were older courses redesigned or reworked specifically for Links 2003 and contain improved textures compared to the older convertable courses. The newest ones are available either from within the Links 2003 game or the Championship Courses add-on pack. Whilst some of these are below the standard of the newer APCD courses, here are my favourite courses from Microsoft based on visuals, playability and general design quality.

1. Oakmont – Microsoft

Oakmont is a US woodland course which is ranked 5th on the golf digest ranking list. This version of the course is the best autumnal designs that is available for the links game and looks completely stunning. The light grass texture is smooth and the bunkers have good edging. This course even has some wild grass areas, often an area overlooked when released by microsoft. This is one of the favourites to play of any available.

2. Cabo Del Sol – Microsoft 

Cabo Del Sol is a Mexican desert cliffside course which features expansive sand areas and sea views. Some of the best holes use the cliffs to form part of the hazards and it is both a lovely course to look at and a good strategic course to play. This is one of the most beautiful desert courses available for the game with some nice buildings too.

 

3. Gleneagles – Microsoft

Gleneagles is one of the great Scottish parkland courses. This design is colourful with loads of wild grass planting and great views from the panorama. It is a lovely course to play and a famous european tour course too.

 

4. Chateau Whilster – Microsoft

Chateau Whilster is a Canadian mountain course with abundant douglas fir trees. Located in British Columbia this is a beautiful course with great views, rocky outcrops, lakes and some key elevation changes. This is another lovely course visually and offers a wonderful experience to play.

 

5. Canyons at Bighorn – Microsoft

Canyons at Bighorn is a beautiful US desert design from California. Another lovely visual course with lush fairways framed by dry desert and with splashes of flower colour and creeks and lakes around. This is another of the best desert courses, something that microsoft seemed particularly good at producing.

 

6. Kauri Cliffs – Microsoft

Kauri Cliffs is a New Zealand cliffside course which has views overlooking the sea and coastline. There are some great visual tee shots here onto dogleg holes over the scrubland ground which can be quite tricky if you stray offline. A great looking course with loads of elevation.

 

7. Judge & Links Golf Trail – Microsoft

The series of Robert Trent Jones courses are located in Alabama. These US lakesidecourses are well designed with full planting. Abundant water makes for many tricky and interesting shots. Red bridges feature on both the Judge and Links courses, and my overall favourite is the Links design which has less of a target golf feel. These are courses i largely overlooked historically but have recently seen more play time and have risen up the ranking list.

 

8. Westfields – Microsoft

Westfields is a US woodland course in Northern Virginia. This course is surrounded by tall colourful trees, and winds around creating doglegs and pulling creeks and small lakes into play. It has a different look to many others, mainly due to the tree palette, but it also offers great strategy too.

 

9. Princeville – Microsoft

Princeville is a Hawaii tropical course location and is covered in wild vegetation and rolling landscapes. Fairways are generally generous, but you will be playing over some extremely hazardous wilderness so take care. It has lovely orange sand bunkers.

 

10. Barton Creek – Microsoft

Barton Creek is a Texas woodland course with creeks and lakes in play. This is a green course where fairways are pretty generous but there is severe trouble if you stray into some of the deep valleys. Water is a regular feature and whilst it does not have the fullest ground planting this is a nice challenge to play.