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Links: The Challenge of Golf

Moby ID: 492
DOS Specs

Description official descriptions

Links: The Challenge of Golf is a golf simulation that tries to implement realistic aspects of golf in a video game format.

The game uses VGA 256-color graphics, with courses containing trees, water, sand traps, and the fairway. The addition of ball physics, mulligans, changing the lie of the ball, real digitized environmental sounds, and the ability to view a replay (from multiple angles) helps to emphasize the realistic aspect.

Links comes with one Championship Course, Torrey Pines, located in San Diego, California, USA.

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Credits (DOS version)

19 People (17 developers, 2 thanks) · View all

Project Leader
Additional Programming
Music / Sound Programming
Level / Scenario Design
Graphics / Artwork
Cover Photos
Assistant Producer
Special Thanks To
[ full credits ]



Average score: 71% (based on 18 ratings)


Average score: 3.2 out of 5 (based on 27 ratings with 2 reviews)

Classic! The ancestor of all golf games.

The Good
Links offers largest selection of courses on which to play. Simple, reasonably intuitive interface with clean graphics. Doesn't require much hardware to play (doesn't even require a mouse... although it's definitely preferable to use one). One can begin scoring under (or just round) par without excessive practice so it avoids the frustration of real golf (as well as many other golf sims).

The Bad
Add-on courses were expensive at the time; I couldn't find many of the add-ons in local stores so had to order most directly from Access.

The Bottom Line
The best golf sim for your money. Easy to play without being simplistic; challenging for advanced players.

DOS · by justinstyles (4) · 2000

"Looks like I hit the tree, Jim"

The Good
Well, the original Links. What to say? I think this game has a strong case for being the first computer game I ever played (Tetris might just pip it), back when my dad's work first got Amstrad 386s and this game came bundled with them. As soon as I'd made my golfer, and whacked my first ball into the trees, I was hooked. Great graphics for its era, and brilliant sound ranging from the birdsong to the comments the golfer made after his shots ("Looks like I hit the tree, Jim" being the most famous). Sure, it may only be a golf game, but if you like golf, and you like virtual scenery, then this was a great game.

Another useful aspect was that my parents liked playing it. This is handy when you have no siblings, as it allows you to actually play multiplayer games without needing to go and check if your friends are in.

The Bad
Getting expansion courses beyond the default Torrey Pines South was difficult. By the time I started thinking about it, Links 386 was already the standard and expansion packs were hard to find. I eventually got one, but the redraw speed was like a drunk snail (it wasn't exactly fast with TPS, either).

The customisability was also somewhat limited: you had your golfer, in his yellow shirt and single voice bank. It got slightly surreal when my mum played as him. When I bought Microsoft Golf 2, with its rapid redraws and more customisable golfers, I quickly forgot about Links, except from a nostalgia point of view. But I would still say that Links is the foundation of the modern golf game.

The Bottom Line
A classic game, and one of the defining games of my early computer years. Probably not worth buying it now, but still generates some wonderful memories. The first time you land in the water, the first time you chip-in, puzzling your way out of a forest...

DOS · by Paul Varley (10) · 2006


Covermount release

A complete version of Links: The Challenge of Golf is available on Classic Games Collection CD featured with the July 2000 issue of PC Gamer Magazine.


According to the back of the manual, here's what it takes to design a Links course:

Play the course. Take over 500 aerial and landscape photos. Videotape the entire course. Obtain topographical and grading drawings. Gather information about prevailing winds and weather. Convert topographic maps into terrain data. Locate greens, tee boxes, bunkers, hazards, etc. Digitize actual vegetation found on the course and place appropriately along with other objects. Use a specially designed course editor to smooth and refine original terrain data. Digitize and install panorama. Install tee markers, ball washers, benches, clubhouse, etc. Playtest and refine for accurate course representation.

This process takes two men months to complete and generates approximately 700,000 bytes of course data--10 times more than other golf games!


For no apparent reason, when pressing 'Q', the game will play a sound of a quacking duck and on rare occasions it will play the quack automatically after a particularly bad shot.

Big Bertha

The famous club and ball image featured in the cover of the game box, also used in Links 386 Pro and other releases (sometimes inside the game instead of the cover) is the classic Big Bertha driver from Callaway, part of its signature Big Bertha club series. Fading with the black background, barely anything from the club can be seen except reflections and the golden face with strips. The head of Big Bertha with the ball has been associated with all the early releases of the Links series, with many boxes (e.g. The Links 386 Pro box featuring the image beveled) giving proper credit displaying the sentences: The image of "Big Bertha" on the front is used with permission of Callaway Golf. "Big Bertha" is a registered trademark of Callaway Golf".


  • Computer Gaming World
    • November 1991 (Issue #88) – Action Game of the Year
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) – #5 Most Innovative Computer Game
  • GameStar (Germany)
    • Issue 12/1999 - #36 in the "100 Most Important PC Games of the Nineties" ranking
  • Power Play
    • Issue 02/1992 – Best Sports Game in 1991

Information also contributed by rstevenson and Servo.


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  • MobyGames ID: 492
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Trixter.

Windows added by Plok. VIS added by Kabushi. Amiga added by Martin Smith. SEGA CD added by Scaryfun.

Additional contributors: Cantillon, Patrick Bregger, JMM.

Game added November 29, 1999. Last modified January 29, 2024.