LinksGems 2016 Year in Review

2016 was another busy year for our friend Jon Cavalier of LinksGems (@LinksGems on Twitter and Instagram).  He travelled coast-to-coast playing beautiful golf courses and sharing his terrific photos.  He also took his drone work to a whole new level, literally. And, finally, this year we learned more about the man behind the lens in 2 interviews:

  • Read the Buffalo Golfer interview with Jon here.
  • Listen to the Fried Egg interview with Jon here.

It is clear at this point that Jon is a very talented guy.  He is also extremely generous to put this amount of work into sharing his photos with us, with no concern for remuneration.  Those of us who have had the pleasure of teeing it with him will tell you this about Jon as well – he’s as a good a golf buddy as you’ll ever find.

Enjoy this recap of Jon’s stellar 2016.  Looking forward to watching him try to top it in 2017.


These are the courses that I played this year that most exceeded my expectations.  Counting down my Top 10…

(click on photos to enlarge)

No. 10 – Highland Links

This full-fescue true links 9-holer on Cape Cod is as pure and scenic as it gets.

No. 9 – Keney Park Golf Course

This quirky Hartford muni has improved immensely.  Church pews, and excellent Redan, an Eden, a punchbowl – they’re all here.  A wildly fun and supremely enjoyable golf course.

No. 8 – Sands Point Golf Club

A.W. Tillinghast + Keith Foster + Beautiful Setting = Incredible Golf.  I knew this place would be good, I didn’t realize that it would be this great.

No. 7 – Country Club of Troy

CC of Troy sits on lovely terrain and features exceptional Walter Travis greens.

No. 6 – Shelter Harbor

Old stone walls are everywhere on this, my favorite of Hurzdan-Fry’s designs.  A beauty.

No. 5 – Pikewood National Golf Club

It’s not often that two guys I’ve never heard of build one of the best modern courses I’ve ever played.

No. 4 – Salem Country Club

I didn’t know how good Donald Ross could be until this year.

No. 3 – Black Sheep Golf Club

Played Black Sheep on the spur of the moment and it blew me away.  Stupendously fun David Esler design.

No. 2 – Orchard Lake Country Club

Went to Detroit to see Oakland Hills and fell in love with this beauty.  Keith Foster continues to add to his growing list of brilliant renovations.

No. 1 – Glens Falls Country Club

Glens Falls absolutely blew me away; gorgeous setting, amazing terrain and a wonderful set of holes.  One of the most pleasant golf surprises I’ve had in recent years.


2016 was the year when I fell in love with drone photography.  In the spirit of the 12 Days of Christmas, here are my favorite drone shots of the year.  Counting down from 12…

No. 12 – National Golf Links of America (with cameos by Shinnecock, Sebonack and Ballyshear)


No. 11 – Ridgewood Country Club

Sunset, with the New York City skyline.


No. 10 – Sleepy Hollow Country Club

New Knoll and Road Hole greens by Gil Hanse at the 8th and 9th holes.


No. 9 – Old Sandwich Golf Club

The fall colors here must be seen to be believed.


No. 8 – Pine Valley Golf Club

Full fall colors, with the Philadelphia skyline over the 18th green.


No. 7 – Sleepy Hollow Country Club

Punchbowl, Panorama, High Tor, Haunted Bridge, Outlook, and Hendrick Hudson


No. 6 – Shinnecock Hills 

Shinny always looks great, but it’s impossibly beautiful at dawn.


No. 5 – Maidstone Club

Three of my favorite holes – Maidstone’s 8th, 9th and 10th.


No. 4 – National Golf Links of America

Dusk over the greatest golf neighborhood in the world.


No. 3 – Seminole Golf Club

A color dawn breaks on Donald Ross’s seaside masterpiece.


No. 2 – Eastward Ho! 

Paradise in Chatham on Cape Cod by Herbert Fowler


No. 1 – National Golf Links of America

Sunset over Peconic Bay, the iconic windmill and punchbowl.



And finally, the main event – my favorite courses that I played for the first time in 2016.  15 Honourable Mentions, followed by a countdown of the Top 10…

(click on photos to enlarge)

HM – Baltusrol Golf Club

Site of the 2016 PGA Championship and countless other major events.

HM – Calusa Pines

This terrific Hurdzan/Fry design is one of the best courses in Florida.

HM – Olympic Club (Lake)

The championship course at the oldest athletic club in the U.S.A.

HM – Salem Country Club

This Ross gem will shine in 2017 as the host of the U.S. Senior Open.

HM – Medinah No. 3

There’s golf history behind every tree and shrub at this venerable course.

HM – Oak Hill CC

The only club to host the PGA, Ryder Cup, US Open, US Am, Senior Open & PGA.

HM – Pikewood National

What John Raese & Bob Gwynne created here is nothing short of amazing.

HM – Sebonack Golf Club

An unlikely marriage, Tom Doak & Jack Nicklaus created a true gem.

HM – Oakland Hills CC

Quite beautiful, brutally difficult and a long championship pedigree.

HM – Olympia Fields

One of Chicagoland’s finest championship venues.

HM – Southern Hills

This Tulsa gem by Perry Maxwell is the crown jewel of Oklahoma.

HM – Cherry Hills

Arnold Palmer’s history here made playing CHCC in 2016 very special.

HM – St. Louis Country Club

This CB Mac gem is every bit as good as it’s NY brethren.

HM – Wade Hampton Club

Far and away the best Fazio-designed course I’ve ever played.

HM – Kittansett Club

Gil Hanse polished this seaside William Flynn gem to a sparkle.

No. 10 – Pasatiempo

Mackenzie’s favorite course; a charming and beautiful place for a round.

No. 9 – Riviera

A strategic and enjoyable masterpiece by George Thomas, with many iconic holes.

No. 8 – Essex County Club

There is something magical about this old Donald Ross design.

No. 7 – Valley Club of Montecito

One of the prettiest and most enjoyable golf courses in the world.

No. 6 – California Golf Club

A restoration by Kyle Phillips lifts Cal Club to must play status.

No. 5 – Prairie Dunes

Father and son duo Perry & Press Maxwell teamed up on this heartland gem.

No. 4 – San Francisco Golf Club

Few architects built masterpieces on both coasts; Tillinghast did.

No. 3 – Seminole

Donald Ross’s finest work, and a masterclass in routing a golf course; amazing.

No. 2 – Los Angeles Country Club

Perhaps the finest parkland golf course in the country; lovely.

No. 1 – Pebble Beach

This grande old dame, iconic and revered, somehow lives up to expectations.

Again, many thanks to Jon for sharing his adventures and photos with us.  If you are not already following him on Twitter and Instagram at @LinksGems, get on it.  You don’t want to miss a single shot in 2017.





Copyright 2016 – Jason Way, GeekedOnGolf

6 thoughts on “LinksGems 2016 Year in Review

  1. This is amazing, Jason. Thanks so much for putting this together, for giving me a place to park my stuff, and for some of my most enjoyable rounds and best company this year. Can’t wait to tee it up in 2017.

    1. You know it brother. I know I speak for all the geeks in saying that we are grateful for your willingness to share your talents and work so freely.

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